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What is CCP § 874.316, The Partition of Real Property Act?

Effective January 1, 2023, there is a new addition to California partition actions that impact partition referees and the methodology utilized regarding how a property may be partitioned in the state of California. The California legislature voted to approve the Partition of Real Property Act (PRPA).

Previously, the Uniform Partition of Hears Property ACT (UPHPA) served as guidance related to the partition of real property in California. The new statute impacts the manner in which partitions are completed for “heir’s property”. Now, instead of a strict limitation on which property could be partitioned based on whether it was inherited, such property may now be partitioned through the use of a partition referee as long as it is owned by more than one person. The co-owned property must also be held in tenancy in common. It also assumes that there is no “partition agreement”.

There are a variety of specific elements of the PRPA, including, for actions filed after January 1, 2023, include an appraisal along with a co-owner’s right of first refusal, guidance regarding partition in kind remedies and apportionment of litigation costs. Partition in kind is not common and it may not be possible. It involves calculation of owelty and the physical separation of the property. Partition Referee Stephen Donell has extensive experience in serving as partition referee in partition by sale as well as partition in kind actions.

Often, family members who inherit property are not in agreement regarding a variety of elements of the maintenance, operation, occupancy and management of the subject property. As a result, the partition referee may need to navigate a highly divisive, litigious, and emotionally charged case. Doing so in a neutral manner with an eye towards maximizing value for the estate is of paramount importance.

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