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Co-Owner, Co-Inheritor or Executor Living in House and Not Paying Rent

Inheriting a house can have complications, especially when a co-owner, co-inheritor or executor lives in the house and does not pay rent. In these cases, what should you do?

Co-owner is living in the house rent-free

If a co-owner is living in a house rent free, it means the co-owner and the deceased are tenants-in-common. As a tenant-in-common, the co-owner is allowed to live in the house rent-free unless he ousts the other co-owners or makes known to the other co-owners that he is living in the house to the exclusion of the other co-owners This means the co-owner is asserting full ownership over the house as a sole owner and not a co-owner.

If you are the personal representative of the deceased co-owner, such as an executor or administrator, your remedy is to talk to the other co-owner to enter into an agreement to sell the property and split the proceeds. If you are the co-owner living in the property rent-free, make sure that in your stipulation, you have a provision on how to treat your living in the house rent-free. If the stipulation is silent, you might be shocked to learn that you are being charged for rent during the time you were living in the house. A provision in the stipulation will prevent future disagreements or issues on the imposition of rent to the co-owner living in the house.

If you, as the executor or administrator, and the other co-owner cannot agree on the sale of the property, then you can file an action for partition to force the sale of the property.

Co-Inheritor living in the house and not paying rent

This scenario where the co-inheritor is living in the house and not paying rent often occurs when the deceased and one of his children live together in the house, with the child being the deceased’s primary caregiver. Upon the death of the parent, the child then continues to live in the house and refuses to pay rent.

In this case, you can eject the co-inheritor from the house. However, you need to be appointed as personal representative of the deceased’s estate before you can file the action for ejectment. In your action for ejectment, you can already request for payment of rent during the time that the co-inheritor has been living in the house.

Executor living in the house and not paying rent

When it is the executor who has been living in the house and not paying rent, you have two options. You can either: (a) file a petition to have the executor removed because of misconduct and conflict of interest, request for the appointment of a new executor, and thereafter eject the previous executor from the house; or (b) you can wait for the executor to submit an accounting, object to the accounting, and have the executor surcharged for rent from the time he began living in the house rent-free.

In all of these three cases, settling amicably should be the objective to lessen your legal expenses. But even if you are in the process of amicable settlement, it is important to still be represented by competent legal counsel to ensure that your rights are protected and your issues are taken seriously. Should you need assistance when a co-owner, co-inheritor or executor lives in an inherited house that is part of estate property and does not pay rent, the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin are here for you. We have offices in New York, NY, Brooklyn, NY and Queens, NY. You can call us at 718-509-9774 or send us an email at attorneyalbertgoodwin@gmail.com.