Co-ownership is where a property is owned by two or more parties, either as joint tenants or as tenants in common. In instances where co-owners of a property are in dispute, for example when or whether the property is to be sold, the Court may allow one or more of the co-owners to apply to appoint trustees for the sale or partition of the property. This essentially has the purpose of forcing the sale of the property, even where one or more parties may object to such an act.
While it is perhaps easier and definitely less costly to attempt to settle such matters outside of Court – a situation where your lawyer can also assist – where this is not possible or mediation has failed, an application under Section 66G of the Conveyancing Act 1919 (NSW) has long been a source of assistance to parties wanting to sell the property but faced with an uncooperative co-owner.
As stated above, the court’s power to appoint a trustee to effectively force the sale or partition of property comes from section 66G of the Conveyancing Act, which states:
… on the application of any one or more of the co-owners, appoint Trustees … [for the property] to be held by them on the statutory trust for sale or on the statutory trust for partition.”
After a successful application is made and the property is sold, monies made from the sale are kept in trust by the trustee/s appointed by the applicants and the Court. The money from the sale will be distributed between relevant parties following any orders the Court has made.
Interestingly, a Court will generally only refuse an application under Section 66G in special circumstances. This may include evidence of a prior agreement between parties that indicates a promise not to sell the property unless all co-owners agree.
It is best to seek legal advice if you are thinking of selling your home which is currently owned with another person who is not prepared to sell the property, so that you can apply for a Section 66G Order as we can advise you best in order to prepare the Application and ensure that your costs are sought to be paid by the other party.
If you are in a property dispute or are looking to sell your property which is currently co-owned with another registered proprietor but have dispute in relation to selling the property, contact us on 02 8917 8700 or fill out the enquiry box and we will get back to you ASAP.