New Law Allows ADUs to be Sold in Partition Actions (Co-Ownership Disputes) (AB 1033)

Partition actions in California involve the division of property to provide co-owners with their equity in the property. Most properties are single family residences with no surplus land. Historically, that means that an equitable division will almost always result in a sale unless one co-owner buys out the other. However, AB 1033 suggests that some partitions may proceed through the sale of an ADU.

Note that this article only applies to properties with ADUs that are owned by multiple co-owners. Sole owners who wish to take advantage of AB 1033 are encouraged to contact a transactional real estate attorney for legal advice on this subject.

AB 1033 Allows for a Simple Partition In-Kind of Single Family Homes

In 2023, California enacted AB 1033, which presents new opportunities for co-owners of property to partition a property in kind by allowing ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) to be sold separately from the main residence. As the LA Times reports, this is a huge change in zoning laws that will create greater density. This new law comes on the heels of SB 9, which allows for lot splits. Unfortunately, SB 9 has suffered from a lack of popularity due to the restrictions, lack of uniformity between cities, and high cost.

AB 1033 may allow ways to resolve partitions. Specifically, the concept of a partition in-kind allows for the property to be physically divided as a resolution of a partition action. AB 1033 means that this new law no longer requires expensive lot line splits, city or county approval, or large parcels of land. Instead, the ordinary single-family homes that consume most partitions can be the subject of an in-kind distribution.

Ideal ADU to Partition In-Kind

Not every partition is going to be a great candidate to have an ADU sold separately and ultimately provide for an appropriate resolution.

First, there are restrictions on which properties can be the subject to an ADU sold separately from the main house. There are numerous resources online that can provide extensive expertise on this topic.

Second, as it relates to a partitions, the ADU often represents only about 15 to 30% of the value of the entire parcel. Accordingly, the appropriate partition case will be where one party is owed only a portion of the total equity.

Indeed, the mortgage on the property will affect the feasibility of a partition in kind. When the property is unencumbered, meaning it has no mortgage, the ideal case will be where one of the owners is only owed about 15 to 30% of the equity. When the property does have a mortgage, often times a 50% owner may only be owed about 15 to 30% of the total value of the property, depending on the mortgage balance in relation to the value of the entire property.

In either scenario, the sale of an ADU separately from the main unit may provide enough money to satisfy the co-owner who wishes to cash out from the co-ownership.

Talkov Law's Partition Attorneys Can Help

If you want to end your co-ownership relationship, but your co-owner won’t agree, a partition action is your only option. With seven, full time partition lawyers, Talkov Law is the #1 partition law firm in California and has handled over 300 partition actions throughout California. Every case has resulted in a sale to either a third party or one of the co-owners. Not a single court has denied our clients the right to partition or declared our client to be a non-owner. Plus, for qualified cases, there is no fee until we settle or win your case!

If you're looking to end your co-ownership dispute, contact California's premier partition action law firm by calling Talkov Law at (844) 4-TALKOV (825568) or sending us a message today.

About Scott Talkov

Scott Talkov is a partition lawyer in California. He founded Talkov Law Corp. after more than one decade of experience at a California real estate litigation firm, where he served as one of the firm's partners. He has been featured on ABC 7, CNN, KCBS, and KCAL-9, and in the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Press-Enterprise, and in Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine. Scott has been named a Super Lawyers Rising Star for 9 consecutive years. He can be reached about new matters at info@talkovlaw.com or (844) 4-TALKOV (825568). He can also be contacted directly at scott@talkovlaw.com.

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