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Can we get out of joint ownership?

Main risks of joint ownership

In joint ownership, each member cannot do anything without the agreement of the others and this is often where problems arise.

However, there is a principle in law which says “No one is supposed to remain in joint ownership” which allows everyone to leave it regardless of the reason. There are several solutions for this:

  • There is an amicable agreement and the property is distributed between each member of the joint possession.
  • Sell the furnished property and share the income, according to the proportion held by each of the co-owners.
  • A co-owner can sell his share to another co-owner or to a third party.
  • If there is no agreement, the sphere is transmitted to the court of first instance which orders the sale by auction. The price of this sale will be divided between each of the members in proportion to their share.

Tips if you are in indivision

A tailor-made joint ownership agreement must be drawn up for a renewable period of up to five years. It allows:

  • Organize joint ownership
  • Protect everyone’s interests

However, in a number of cases it is advisable to bypass joint ownership. There are several legal solutions for this:

  • If you are parents: organize your estate as part of a shared gift (donation-partage in French). It allows you to allocate a share of your movable and immovable property to each of your children. This sharing is final and cannot be called into question upon the death of the donor.
  • If you want to settle down with your spouse and acquire real estate: it is preferable to acquire it on your own. If that is not possible, then create an SCI that is easier to manage in the event of separation. It is the SCI that will acquire the property and you will be holders of shares in the latter.
  • If you get married and you want to acquire property in common: choose the regime of separation of property rather than that of the community. In the event of divorce, favor the voice of dialogue because when problems are intelligently resolved, family conflicts subside. The community regime, for its part, requires years of proceedings and many difficulties in the event of a conflict.

In conclusion, whether voluntary or suffered, SCI has never been more relevant. This Napoleonic creation which at first seems to be a gift from heaven can quickly turn out to be a poisoned gift in the event of conflicts between co-owners.

Indeed, some management acts require the agreement of all the co-owners and the situation becomes more complicated in the event of pre-existing conflicts or if not, everyone agrees.

In order to avoid these painful situations, it is better to think ahead and organize your succession.

You can also consider other statutes such as the SCI which allows more flexible management in case of inheritance or divorce.

Joint ownership is therefore the regime for informed people: in the event of conflicts, anticipate and take the initiative to prevent this magical place loaded with memorable memories from turning into a nightmare.

French Tax Online is a tax consultancy firm specialized in foreigners investing and living in France.

A member of the Budiz Company Group, which is a French chartered accountant registered with the Order of French Chartered Accountants (OEC).

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