A complaint for partition of land is used to force the division of co-owned property in Maryland into distinct portions for each person to individually own, in order to break up the co-ownership. If the property cannot be fairly divided, then the court can decree a sale and split the profits according to each parties interest. An example of when a partition action is necessary is when two tenants in common disagree on how to use land. Let’s say wants to develop the land into commercial offices, and the other wants to turn it into a farm. A court can resolve this dispute by dividing the real estate or selling it if it cannot be equally divided.
Maryland Real Property Code Section 14-107lays down the law on partition of land actions in Maryland.
“A circuit court may decree a partition of any property, either legal or equitable, on the bill or petition of any joint tenant, tenant in common, parcener, or concurrent owner, whether claiming by descent or purchase. If it appears that the property cannot be divided without loss or injury to the parties interested, the court may decree its sale and divide the money resulting from the sale among the parties according to their respective rights. The right to a partition or sale includes the right to a partition or sale of any separate lot or tract of property, and the bill or petition need not pray for a partition of all the lots or tracts.”
According to the above rule, in Maryland, the default option is to divide the land. Parties who seek to force sale in lieu of partition need to show upon the basis of preponderance of the evidence, that loss or injury will occur to the interested parties if the property is divided. If a sale is ordered the court takes custody of the property and sells it. If a co-tenant can prove that improvements that he made on the land has increased its value, then he is entitled to compensation for his contributions at the time of sale.
Need Help Filing A Partition of Land Action in Maryland?
Contact The Pendergraft Firm. We’ll help you petition to court divide or sell property your co-owned property and protect your interest.