Problems with the co-owner of a property in Spain

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LEGAL ADVICE: The best course of action is for all of the parties is to try to come to an agreement. Photo: Shutterstock


Dear lawyer,

I inherited a property from my father in Spain.

Now, I own half of a house in Javea (Costa Blanca) which is shared with his second wife. Unfortunately my relationship with the wife of my late father and co-owner of the property is so bad that she does not allow me access to the property and she refuses to sell it.

She tells me that there is no legal opportunity open to me to resolve this situation until such time as she passes away and that I cannot force her to sell it.

Is there anything that I can do to resolve this situation? Thank you for your answer.

Dear Reader,

Thank you very much for your enquiry.

Quite properly, we cannot give you specific legal advice without studying your case in depth.

In general terms however, we can say that when there is a condominium (joint control) or co-ownership of a property, any of the owners are able to apply and request for the division of the property held in common or in a condominium.

In your case that will apply, unless your late father’s wife has a right that allows her to have exclusive use of the property or that the settlement allows her to avoid the division or termination of the joint ownership.

This is reflected in Article 400 of the Spanish Civil Code, which states: ‘No co-owner should be obliged to remain in the community. Each of them should at any time be able to request that the property in common should be divided.

In your case, if the property that you have in community is not divisible, which is often the situation, (since the town planning regulations usually do not allow the division of real estate, except in some cases), then, any of the co-owners who are in condominium may request the sale of the property and the distribution of the proceeds obtained, as set out in Article 404 of the Spanish Civil Code, which says: ‘When the property is essentially indivisible, and the co-owners are not able to agree that it be kept by one after  compensating the others, it will be sold and the proceeds shared.’

As we always indicate in these cases,  the best course of action is for all of the parties is to try to come to an agreement, as far as the possession of the property and also as regards the sale of it, directly or through estate agents.

If it is not possible, you may need to request division of the common property and the condominium, through a legal action known as actio communi dividundo, asking the court to order the termination of the joint ownership, and assuming that the property may not be divisible, it will then be sold in a public auction through the court.

In this type of matter, it is essential to prove the refusal of the other party to reach an agreement and terminate the co-ownership, in order to justify that it is their attitude which forces you to initiate the court proceedings and you can  then also attempt to claim in court the costs and expenses of the legal proceedings.

The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.

If you are in this situation and you have problems with the co-owner of a property or if you are in a condominium, contact us and we will help you.

The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.

CONTACT DETAILS: 

Carlos Baos (Lawyer)

White & Baos

Tel: +34 966 426 185

E-mail: [email protected]

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