When a home belongs to several people, generally because it is an inheritance or joint ownership derived from a divorce process, it is common for situations of disagreement to arise when one or more of the owners want to rent or sell part of a home and the rest not.
What are the options in these cases? Is there a law in this regard? Is it possible to sell only a part of a home? From Sky Marketing we get you out of doubts.
What does the law say about selling part of a home?
The Law is quite clear in this regard: according to article 400 of our Civil Code, no co-owner is obliged to stay in a community derived from these characteristics and, each of them can request the division of common property at any time.
The situation is simple. When we talk about a block of flats, a large piece of land, or any other property that we can objectively and independently divide or quantify, without a problem.
However, the arrangement changes when we talk about a flat or a farm, rustic or urban, in which a division is not possible, or in which this would result in new unusable properties because they would not comply with the regulations on habitability.
The technical name in these cases is pro-undivided, a term that indicates precisely that the property cannot be divided. The most common causes of undivided ownership are:
- The death of a relative leads to the inheritance of your home in several heirs, generally close relatives (children, brothers, nephews, etc.).
- Divorces. Provided that the house has been bought half, both in cases of separation of assets, as in community property.
- Donations of a flat to several people.
We will try to explain it with a practical example. If a three-room apartment belongs to three owners, none of them can have their proportional part (for example, a room plus the kitchen or a room plus the bathroom and hall), and separate it from the rest to rent it or sell it independently, since it would lose both its usefulness and its value. Put more simply, these types of properties are only capable of being divided economically, but not on a physical level.
Another completely different matter is to carry out an appraisal of the value of the property, establish the proportional parts according to the number of owners and their percentage of ownership over the property, and that one of them buy their parts from the rest. That is, to sell the part of the house to another of the owners so that he can have all of it as he deems appropriate. This is considered “dissolving the condominium.”
Can a condo be dissolved without selling part of the home?
Yes. One way to dissolve the condominium without this implying selling part of a home is to try to transfer it to a third party, each owner receiving the economic value of their percentage of the property. In other words, all the “parts” of the house would be sold to the same buyer “external” to the property.
There is also the possibility that one of the co-owners gives his part free of charge to another, as a donation; thus, avoiding the sale.
In other cases, and before selling a part of the house, the possibility of maintaining the condominium and renting it is studied to obtain a monthly economic return that will be distributed among the co-owners according to their percentage of the property. This option is viable, although all owners must agree to the rental conditions.
Finally, if any of the owners reside in the house, before agreeing to the sale, they can agree to pay rent on their part. Of course, and as in the previous case, this solution is only valid if all the joint owners reach that agreement since they are not legally obliged to accept it.
In that case, the co-owner who uses the single housing must pay for the costs of water, electricity, gas, etc. . The rest of the common expenses of the house (community, IBI or Taxes) must be assumed, in equal parts, between all the owners.
What happens if one of the owners does not want to sell part of their home?
A priori, the generation of an undivided right over a home is very common and does not have to generate any problem. The dilemma comes when one of the co-owners wants to sell their share and the others refuse, or when everyone wants to sell and one refuses to do so.
According to the Law, an owner cannot be forced to sell his part of the property. However, there are several judicial processes that can expedite this situation.
The first option is always to request an act of conciliation, that is, to reach an agreement between all the owners to avoid going to trial and for a judge to rule the division of the common good in a definitive way.
If the owner still refuses to sell his part of the house, it will be necessary to challenge the judicial appraisal and the judge will rule that the house be liquidated at public auction for the subsequent distribution of the profit obtained among the owners. In this case, the owners must assume, to begin with, an added expense: the new appraisal.
Will we lose money by performing this operation?
Yes. One of the reasons to carry out a conciliation act before selling a part of a house is precisely to lose the least amount of money. He thinks that if the auction is held publicly and “to the highest bidder”, the owners will be given only the “auction price”, that is, the money obtained from the sale, discounting all legal expenses related to it.
Can a former owner buy the home again?
Once the liquidation of the joint venture has been ruled, the corresponding court clerk will set a date and time to hold the public auction of the home. The bid is open, being able to intervene both a buyer outside the joint venture and all the co-owners of the same who were forced to file a judicial process to be able to sell the house. In principle, the only person who cannot bid is the owner who was against the sale.
In this case, the rest of the co-owners can avail themselves, if they so wish, of the right of withdrawal, which is the one held by a person to stay, for the same price, with the good or property that has been sold to another. The origin of this expression is the Latin word tetraheme whose meaning can be translated as “to bring for oneself”, “to bring back” or “to reacquire”.
If you want to exercise your right of withdrawal after previously selling part of a home, you must carry out the transmission and sale of your part and, in this process, fill in the right of first refusal, which is nothing more than offering your part to others owners.
Once both phases have been completed, the Spanish Civil Code contemplates the right of withdrawal, stipulating that it must be done during the first nine days after the property is registered in the Registry. If two or more co-owners want to use this right, the one with a higher proportion of the home will have preference.
We hope this article has been interesting for you. If you have more questions about the sale of flats and homes, contact us. We are specialists in the real estate sector and we will solve all your doubts.