Co-ownership of real property sounds like a great idea. That is, until co-owners disagree. Generally, real property is considered "unique." What is meant by that is that real property is not something that can simply split in half when two co-owners disagree and want to liquidate a contested asset. In most partition actions, the remedy sought is the appointment of a partition referee, whose primary function is to sell the jointly-owned property and then distribute the proceeds with court approval.
Once the court appoints a partition referee, the referee becomes the "seller" in the transaction. While it is common, if possible under the circumstances, for the partition referee to seek consensus from the co-owners regarding the selection of the listing broker, listing price, counter-offer determinations and ultimate acceptance of an offer, that authority lies with the partition referee solely. This third party authority is typically exactly what the dispute needs because before a partition action is filed, most co-owners are at odds with each other and cannot agree on anything.
Richardson "Red" Griswold routinely acts as a court-appointed partition referee in California. His office is in San Diego County. If you have questions about filing a partition action in California or want to learn more about the role of a partition referee, feel free to contact us at 858.481.1300.