BC Vacation Property Ownership Disputes

Joint-ownership of a recreational property is not always easy. Peaceful co-existence within a family can sometimes be more fantasy than reality when family members disagree on the use, improvement or transfer of partial ownership interests in a vacation property.

Vacation Property Ownership Agreements

Recreational land can end up being owned by a number of family members as a result of a testamentary disposition through a will.  In addition, friends may decide to pool their resources and jointly purchase a cabin or condo at a ski resort.  In many cases, neither the families or groups of friends may have the benefit of a well drafted ownership agreement that sets out each owner’s rights and duties in relation to the property or rules that establish how conflicts are be to resolved, for example by providing a formula for the buyout of one owner’s interest by another. The absence of such an agreement makes it more likely that if a serious ownership dispute occurs, it will be necessary to seek a Court order that resolves the parties’ differences.

Partition of Property Act Court Orders

The British Columbia Partition of Property Act[1] (the “PPA”) provides what is often times a relatively straightforward litigation process whereby one owner can petition the court seeking orders that will end the shared ownership arrangement for recreational (and other types of) property.  The court hearing of the petition is based on solely on affidavit evidence and therefore typically occurs much more quickly and inexpensively than a conventional trial process involving extensive document and oral discovery procedures and a longer hearing where witnesses give oral testimony. Depending on the nature of the ownership and the nature of the property, the court may order the partition of the property into smaller lots, the sale of the property on the open market or the sale of one owner’s interest to another owner by way of a private sale.

Any person who owns at least 50% of a piece of land or a strata property is entitled to a court order directing a sale unless the court “sees a good reason to the contrary”: section 6 of the PPA.  An owner with less than a 50% interest in land may still be able to persuade the court under the PPA to order the sale of the property or at least require the majority owner to the purchase of their interest at a fair price.

Contact a Vancouver Land Ownership Lawyer

If you own a vacation property with one or more family members or other individuals, it is important to speak to a Vancouver land ownership lawyer to protect your interests in that property.  If you have want to sell your interest in land and the other co-owners are not cooperating with you, call the law offices of McLarty Wolf at (604) 688-9542 today or contact us via our online form here.

Mclarty Wolf

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