There are a few circumstances in which you may be able to force a sale of a property, even if the owner doesn’t want to sell. This can be done through what’s known as a “forced sale.”
Join our experts in property law here at Robertsons Solicitors to find out the definitive answer as to under what circumstances can you force the sale of a house.
There are several circumstances where a house sale can be forced. The most common is in a divorce or separation. Other times are people you owe money to, if you’ve bought the property as an investment or if you have inherited a home or share of a home in a Will.
Forcing a house sale in a divorce
If you’re going through a divorce or are separating, you or your spouse may decide that it’s best to sell the family home and split the proceeds. This is often referred to as a “forced sale” and can be a difficult decision for couples to make.
There are a few things to consider before forcing a sale in a divorce:
- What is the fair market value of the home?
- How much are you owed on the mortgage?
- Are there any other debts or liens against the property?
- How will the sale proceeds be divided between you and your spouse?
Some of the reasons you may need to think about forcing a sale after divorce are:
- You can’t afford to keep up with the mortgage payments on your own.
- Your spouse isn’t cooperating, and you can’t agree on a sale price or division of proceeds.
- There are major repairs needed that neither of you can afford.
- The property is located in a declining market and you want to sell before the value decreases any further.
If you find yourself in one of these situations, you may want to consider asking the court to force a sale of the property.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind before taking this step.
It’s important to understand that you can’t force your spouse to sell the property if they don’t want to. It is only a court that can order a sale of a property. The court will generally only force a sale if it’s in the best interests of both parties.
If you’re considering asking the court to force a sale of your property in Cardiff or the surrounding areas of South Wales, it’s important to speak with experienced solicitors. They can help you understand the process and what to expect.
Paying off creditors to force a sale
If you owe money to creditors and they obtain a judgment against you, they may place a charging order on your property and thereafter apply to the court for the house to be sold.
Before a creditor can force a sale, they must first apply to the court and send you a notice of their application
If the court rules in favour of the creditor, they will issue an order for the sale of your home.
The proceeds from the sale will go to pay off the debt owed to the creditor. Any money left over will be given to you. It is therefore a good idea to contact your creditors to see if a payment plan can be arranged before matters get to this stage.
Forcing a sale after inheriting a willed property
In some cases, the terms of a Will may allow for the sale of the property to settle debts or distribute assets among beneficiaries. This is typically only done if there is no other way to fairly divide the estate.
If you are named as an executor in a Will, it is your responsibility to carry out the wishes of the deceased.
This includes ensuring that all debts are paid and that the assets are divided among the beneficiaries under the Will.
If you are named as an executor, you should consult with a solicitor to ensure that you understand your responsibilities and rights.
Is it easy to force a sale after inheriting a willed property?
While there are some circumstances under which a creditor or beneficiary can force a sale of property, it is generally not an easy process.
If you are considering forcing a sale of property, you should consult with an experienced solicitor to understand your rights and options. You may consider forcing a sale after inheriting willed property when:
- You are named as an executor in the Will and need to sell the property to pay debts or distribute assets.
- You are a beneficiary and multiple beneficiaries cannot agree on what to do with the property.
- The property is in disrepair and you believe it would be best to sell it.
- The property is a burden financially and you would like to sell it.
You will need to go to court and get a judge to sign an order authorising the sale.
This is typically only done if there are no other options for fairly dividing the estate.
Putting money into an investment property
This can sometimes be a risky venture and it could be that you could consider forcing the sale of an investment property if the property is not meeting your expectations or goals and you would like to get out of the investment.
If you have a life estate, you may be able to force the sale of the property if the costs of maintaining the property are too high or if there is damage to the property that is not being addressed.
If you are a tenant in common with other people and you are not able to agree with selling the property, you may be able to force a sale through the courts.
You may also be able to force the sale of a property if there are liens or other encumbrances on the property that are not being addressed.
Liens mean that another party has a claim on the property, such as for unpaid taxes or repairs.
Other encumbrances might be an easement, which is a right of way for another party to use a portion of the property.
One other circumstance in which you might be able to force a sale is if the owner of the property is not paying the mortgage.
If you are a tenant of a property and the owner wants to sell, you may be able to force a sale under certain circumstances.
For example, if your lease contains a “tenant’s right of first refusal”, this means that you have the right to purchase the property before it is listed
You should always consult with experienced lawyers to discuss your options and decide whether or not forcing a sale is a right move for you.
Keep in mind, however, that even if you think you have grounds to force a sale, the process can be complicated …but we can help you.
If you’re thinking about forcing the sale of a property, or if it’s a situation you are in, get in touch with one of our friendly team members to discuss your options and whether you have a case.