How to divide the co-ownership?

Did you and your sibling inherit your parents’ cottage? We know that the subsequent agreement on joint management is not always easy. An effective and desirable solution to such a situation may be a co-ownership settlement. How to do it?

Domluva na rozdělení spoluvlastnictví
7 minutes of reading

Chapters of the article

Joint ownership is when… everyone (jointly) owns the whole thing

Although the Czech model of co-ownership may be harder to grasp for some, it is true that each co-owner has a precisely defined share, but not a specific part of the thing. Thus, if you inherit “half of a cottage” (or a half share in it), do not ask whether you own the attic or the ground floor. This is because you are part owner of the whole cottage, but you only have half the voting rights if decisions are made about it.

Tip: What exactly does co-ownership mean, how is it defined and what rights and obligations do it entail? This is the subject of our separate article.

Have you inherited a share in a house or cottage?

Do you own a piece of land together with your siblings and are you thinking of settling your co-ownership? We will prepare a quick and efficient co-ownership settlement for you, so that it is as advantageous as possible for everyone involved, and especially for you.

When can co-ownership be disadvantageous?

  • Co-management – Co-ownership can be fine in some ways, namely when you and your sibling repair the cottage together and pay only half the cost. But there may also be disagreements about who will use the cottage and how, or one of you may want to renovate the cottage in some way, sell it, etc., while the other is comfortable with the status quo.
  • Bank guarantee – in general, owning a property is often considered almost like winning the lottery. Often this may not be the case. Moreover, if you are a “mere” co-owner, you cannot “guarantee” the property to the bank when you take out a mortgage. It does not matter how much you own.
  • Foreclosure on a co-owner – if your sibling (or other co-owner of the property) has a failed business and has been foreclosed on, you should be careful to protect your belongings in the cottage. As a rule, the bailiff will not ask too many questions and will seize anything of value that he finds in the house. You can continue to claim your belongings, but this is not always successful. In any case, it is always worth keeping receipts, orders and other documents away from your belongings.

Tip: Did a co-owner of your property get into foreclosure and the foreclosing officer included your own belongings? How can you effectively defend yourself and get your belongings back? We provide a summary of the correct procedure, along with stories from practice.

If you’ve already got co-ownership just enough

No one should be forced to own anything and the same principle applies to co-ownership. If you and the other co-owners are getting on with each other, you’re tired of managing the common property or maybe you just need money, you have a few options to deal with the situation.

Options may include:

  • Real division of the property
  • Transferring the share to one co-owner and paying the other(s) an adequate amount
  • Selling the property and dividing the proceeds of the sale according to the shares.

Real division of the property

If legally and factually possible, at the request of one co-owner, the object of co-ownership may be divided in such a way that the person in question receives a part of the object corresponding to the size of his/her share and the rest of the co-owners remain in the relationship.

This can be imagined, for example, if three siblings own together a field which is to be divided. One of the siblings keeps a specific part (one third of the land) and the other two continue to own half of the remaining two thirds of the original land. However, when dividing agricultural land, it is always necessary to take into account whether the other land will be capable of being farmed after the division.

However, this option is far from always possible. It is not conceivable, for example, in the case of assets which, after division, would no longer serve their original purpose or would be significantly reduced in value. It is therefore not just a question of whether the thing can in fact be divided. As an example, consider an antique piece of jewellery in the form of gold earrings with diamonds. If two sisters inherit it, they can certainly keep one earring each; this is physically possible, but the value of the jewellery is reduced to less than half of its original price and the jewellery loses its purpose. In many cases, even physical division is not possible, or only at the cost of considerable (structural) modifications. This applies to the vast majority of houses.

Conversely, there may be a situation where physical division of the item is generally possible, but not exactly according to the proportions given. This can be imagined, for example, in the case of a piece of land that is defined by various natural boundaries. It may make sense here to separate, for example, not one quarter but one fifth of the land. The shortfall in the share can then be made up in money. In these cases, various easements etc. can also be used.

Transfer of the share and payment of the co-owner

This option has further modifications, e.g. in case of a higher number of co-owners – e.g. paying out only one co-owner and defining new shares among the others, etc.).

Sale of the property and distribution of the proceeds of the sale according to the shares

If the parties involved agree to this option, it usually brings the least conflict as to whether the distribution was fair.

Formally, there may be an agreement between the co-owners which regulates the method of settlement. For example, it will agree that the property will be physically divided and each of the former co-owners will be the new full owner of part of the property, or one of the other options listed above.

The agreement on the division of movable property may be oral. However, a written form can always be recommended. It is then necessary and prescribed by law for immovable property and in the case where the subject of co-ownership is a plant. If the co-ownership is dissolved only orally, the former co-owners may request that a confirmation of the method of settlement be sent.

If the co-owners fail to reach an agreement, the court will decide on the dissolution and settlement on the proposal of one of them. In such a case, court proceedings are initiated at the request of one of the co-owners. The court decides not only on the division of the co-ownership itself, but also on the method of property settlement. If possible, it should give priority to the division of the property.

Tip: There are always more than one solution for the settlement of co-ownership and each time it is necessary to take into account the needs of the individual co-owners, their preferences regarding the settlement and the actual form of the co-owned property. In the case of co-ownership of immovable property, where the necessary agreement is accompanied by entries in the Land Registry, a consultation with a lawyer can be recommended without reservation.

From law practice:
The situation can often become complicated if a stranger enters into a previously peaceful distribution of rights (for example, between relatives or long-standing business partners). In our office, we dealt with a complex situation in a family home occupied by an extended family. There were four smaller apartments in the house, but they were not legally defined as residential units. The individual flats were therefore not assigned specific owners, as this had not yet been addressed with good family relations. At one point, however, a third share in the house was purchased by a stranger and it was necessary to clarify the relationship legally. The whole matter had to be resolved in court when no agreement could be reached, and we successfully represented the remaining family members, who regained the house and paid off the one-third share.

Are you solving a similar problem?

Dostupný advokát team of online lawyers will solve it for you.

Division of joint ownership of real estate

Have you inherited a share in a house or cottage? Do you own a piece of land together with the rest of the family? Or have you bought a share of a property at auction and are thinking about settling co-ownership? We will prepare them for you so that everything goes to the satisfaction of all parties involved and you in particular.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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