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A typical example of when a partition action might arise involves the inheritance of a house from deceased parents. Three children inherit their parent’s house and one of the children is living in the house rent free. The other two siblings want to sell the house and also want to charge the sibling rent since that sibling is living in the house. There is a dispute regarding rent as well as whether or not to sell the house at all. Finally, after negotiations fail, one sibling files an action for partition with the ultimate goal of obtaining an interlocutory judgment and, thereafter, a partition referee to sell the house.

The four primary steps in a partition lawsuit are as follows:

  1. Filing a partition action pursuant to  Code of Civil Procedure section 872.210;
  2. Obtaining an interlocutory judgment pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 872.720;
  3. Appointing a partition referee to sell the property pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 873.060 after the filing of a report of sale by the referee pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 873.280; 
  4. The sale of the property by the referee subject to the relevant provisions of the Partition of Real Property Act pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 874.319.

If one co-owner of real property refuses to sell, and another owner wants to sell, then the owner that wants to sell may file an action for partition. The manner of sale includes three methods as follows:

  1. Partition by Sale
  2. Partition by Appraisal
  3. Partition In Kind
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