Posted: 9/4/2008 2:38:33 PM EDT
My grandfather is dying. He has two homes. One here and one back in SW PA where our family is from that is mainly a vacation place and hunting camp. In 2003 he decided that while he was still able he would transfer the deed to the house in SW PA to his three sons, my sister(as a partner representing my deceased mother) and my cousin who's mother is a mental, finacial basket case unable to take care of herself let alone a home.
Well as things go, my family is extremely bitter and jealous types and one of my uncles is so overbearing that he actually made his twin brother so miserable that this uncle decided to transfer his share in the proerty to me as he could not bear to deal with his twin. This rift between them is born of non-property related issues. So yesterday we signed the new deed and the attorney sent it off to the court house recorder. Done deal. But I find that another of my three uncles has failed to pay his share of property taxes, annual maintenance dues, and his share in upgrades, etc. since the deed was originally transferred in 2003 and has stated openly that he refuses to ever pay anything towards the place.
Several months ago, prior to my involvement all the owners decided to install a wood burning stove as suplimental heat to the oil furnace to keep the costs of heating oil to a minimum as we have access to free seasoned and split hardwood for the winter months when mostly only we hunters use the place.
We installed the wood stove over the weekend So all told it was about $1k for everything and a half days work to install all of this. Now $200(his share in the cost of the materials is a petty amount of money but over time this guy not paying is gettin thin on everyone and though he is family I am not about to float him for the rest of his days out of my pocket. He has a job, makes decent money and is able to spend money fixing up hot rod cars as a hobby. We hold the deed as Tennants in Common if that helps.
Now understand the douchebaggery of said uncles. The overbearing one is such an asshole that he refuses to visit his dying father because he believes the property should have been given to him soley, the cheapskate has taken, without permission, firearms of my grandfathers from under my grandmother without her knowing at the time and has resulted in her literally throwing away the keys to the steel safe. Really, she tossed them in the garbage weeks ago. it's 1/4" steel with reenforced door jambs, internal hinges, hardend steel rod pins an inch thick. And it weighs about 1000# so nobody is getting in easily.
I could care less if they all kill themselves as I get along with them all because I stay out of their petty sibling BS but I surely dont want to front money for a cheapskate and am not gonna take a backseat to a bully when I own the same interest in the property.
What to do?
What's the ultimate goal? Is maintaining an interest in the property important to you? Do you hope to ultimately acquire it? Just looking to cut loose? How much family trouble are you willing to endure/wanting to avoid?
Truth of it is this. I have spent almost every summer there as akid growing up, my mother is burried just up the road. I dont want to give up the place, nor does my sister or cousin but am not going to tolerate freeloaders and if that means some action to either force these out of the tennacy deed or force them to pay up(which hasnt happened yet). My grandfather has all but quit eating and drinking, he has withered away so bad he looks like a skin covered slkeleton. he barely speaks and is in diapers. i hate to see this as I love him like my own father but I am realistic too. I lost my mother and have faced the death of someone close and know that he will be gone soon. I accept that. My grandmother is soon to follow. these are the only two people that actually bind this family as none of us see each other at our own homes minus when the hunters congregate during deer seasons.. So staying on good terms with anyone isnt my main concern. I really just want everyone to pay their fair ride.
Think outside the box.
Are you in a position to acquire the entire property? Have you considered making an offer to buy out the troublesome co-owner(s)? Any chance they'd consider? Perhaps you and the other amiable co-owners could create an alliance to buy out the shares of the troublesome.
Obviously, a written agreement delineating the obligations of the co-owners is desirable. I assume that no such document exists in this case as you've not mentioned one. I'm not familiar with RE law in that jurisdiction, period. This stuff can vary from location to location so the best advice I can offer is to consult with an attorney in the property's jurisdiction before doing anything without agreement of the co-owners.
For reference, Wiki says this:
If negotiations to resolve the matter fail, you may have a variety of options to consider:
1) Suit to enforce any obligations of co-owners under state law
2) Sell your interest
3) Lease rights in the land and instead of turning over share of the profits to deadbeat co-owner, apply them to co-owner's obligations ****consult with a local lawyer and amiable co-owners before doing something like this.
4) File a partition action - be advised that a possible outcome is that the land will be auctioned (to someone outside the family, potentially) and the proceeds will simply be allocated pro-rata among co-owners.
You may have other options, depending on a variety of factors but those are some of the most obvious that come to mind. If you cannot resolve this by agreement, you should seek local counsel to protect yourself.
If you are the only one payin taxes, you could just stop paying them.
The house will go up for auction, and then you can swoop in and redeem it for the unpaid taxes.
It's a bad situation. I have had to deal with similar crap from an uncle. I walked away and let them have it. House is now up for sale. I grew up there... lots of memories. But I can't maintain it from so far away.
Well he is at the very least not paying his share of the tax burdon which is a paltry $400/year total! So his share is a mere $80/year and he fails that. I could just bury him in petty civil court at the district level every month and needle him to death right?
It's a pretty shitty situation. I took the part in the property only to keep it from being sold off by my cousins when their father's die.
A good man s lying dying a slow death and his sons are doing nothing but disecting his belongings right under their grief stricken mom. I'm ashamed they share the same blood as I..
Back in June before I left for flight engineer school and when my grandfather was in much better health and state of mind I took him over to the home depot to get some lawn fertilzer for his yard. He was asking how long I'd be gone and he started in to his old army stories from the war as he always did. He remarked he was glad I was in the military and ashamed that none of his sons were men enough to follow him and his father who was an army officer, WWI vet, that came home 100% combat disabled. I said maybe the service wasn't their thing, he said they were sissy boys and called them a bunch of pussies..
None of them could tell you what his rank in the army was(T5 and promoted to T4 just before his discharge but never recieved pay for it.) None could tell you his theater of operations(PTO). None could tell you his specialty(medical corps, surgical technician), none could tell you even one battle field he had fought on(Battle of Leyte, Liberation of the P.I., New Guinea, Burma, etc). None could tell you anything about their own father's miltary service beyond that he was in the army yet he spoke often all of his life about his time during the war.
The cheapskate uncle had even gone so far on many occasions as to rididule him over his service calling him a glorified cook, warmonger, etc. This fromsomeone who was petrified of the vietnam draft and did everything he could to avoid it. He has brainwashed his own son into thinking the same of the military. Yet I even know that my own father is a navy vet, aircrew, just like me. he was drafted in 1967, did bootcamp at RTC Great Lakes. went to the fleet as a striker and rated as an AD(R) on C-47's at Quonset Pt ,Rhode Is., got out in 1970. He made third class, was taxi qual'd crunched a wing and got busted to E-3..
So I guess I stepped into it deep. But at least a family home will stay that way. My grandfather wanted to ensure that his legacy was passed down but it turns out that all any of his kids are really interested in is the scraps from his death bed. As I type he is unable to even shave himself or use the bathroom. He often forgets where he is and is unable to converse except for a feeble yes or no ansswer. He barely eats and the docs are fearing his kidneys may fail if he doesnt increase his fluid intake but getting him to eat is a chore in itself. When he does eat it is a couple spoon fulls and a sip or two of milk. I never thought in the worst critisisms of my hillbilly, back woods, relatives i would see them acting like this. one son refusing to see his father before he dies because he beielved he was the sole heir to all his estate, the other taking his posetions before he even dies, the third so fed up he has walked away from the only thing his father had given him(property afformentioned). My cousin has commandeered my grandparents SS checks and they are now deposited to her checking account where she uses the money to pay the taxes on the house, buy food and pay the little bit of bills they have. She keeps the rest for herself. It's like watching vultures circle the kill.
I know Im ranting but it's a lot to bear. Not one of them has even sat next to him and told him they are proud of him..
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