There are many benefits of partnering with someone else when investing in real estate. You can share the cost of the down payment, upkeep and maintenance, as well as the other responsibilities that go along with a real estate partnership. Each party may also have a different skill set that allows the partnership to flourish in a way that an individual could not. That being said, there are also risks involved with joint ownership of investment properties or commercial real estates; contract disputes being one.
After her partner skipped town, a Texas woman was left to pay for the maintenance costs of jointly owned rental properties entirely out of her own pocket. Her partner has since returned and believes he is entitled to payment for his portion of the profits from the properties. The woman is now suing the man for breach of contract and seeking an unspecified amount of money for damages. According to the lawsuit, the man also lived rent-free in one of the properties for approximately two years.
While the outcome of this case remains to be seen, it serves as a reminder to always define the parameters of a joint real estate investment in a legal document. This will help the courts to reach a fair resolution in the event that one party does not fulfill his or her obligations. When contract disputes arise, it is also a good idea to have an attorney review any legally binding agreements that were made between the two parties, develop a legal strategy and represent your best interests in court.
Source: Southeast Texas Record, “Dispute over shared property leads to lawsuit,” Matt Russell, Oct. 8, 2013.