Two Florida homeowners recently took a nasty homeownership battle to court. The dispute involves a $500,000 single family property in Naples, Florida owned by a father and son. The two bought the home with a 50/50 ownership agreement in 2017. Although we do not know the details of what soured the deal, we are aware that two years later the father filed a petition with the court to force a sale of the property.

In July of 2019, the court ordered the son to cooperate in the sale. Instead, the son has actively attempted to stop the sale. This has included putting up roadblocks to keep realtors from entering the property and destruction of the home — most notably by splashing a rainbow of colors throughout the exterior of the home. The father has now called for his son to be jailed over the dispute.

The dispute, though extreme, provides an opportunity to discuss ways property owners can safely enter joint ownership relationships. These ventures can result in a successful business relationship and lead to financial gain. To better ensure a positive outcome, the following tips can help mitigate the risk that the relationship devolves into the mess shown in the above case:

  • Have clear expectations. Before going into a real estate transaction, have a clear conversation about your goals and expectations. If you and your partner do not see eye to eye, reevaluate the purchase or consider finding a different partner.
  • Consider starting a business entity. If you are entering the agreement with another person as an investment property or looking to flip and sell the real estate, it may be wise to purchase it through a business entity. You can put together a business entity to achieve this goal and have the business purchase the property. This will also provide an opportunity to put together official by-laws that outline the expectations noted above.

These are just a few tips to help better ensure a smooth partnership when it comes to real estate deals. A legal professional experienced in these matters can discuss the minutia of these options as well as other legal tools that could help better ensure success.