WASHINGTON PARTITION LAW

How To File a Partition Action in Washington State – Protect Your Property Rights

In Washington state, if multiple persons hold property, each person has the freedom to partition the land if they desire to no longer co-own it. A partition may be voluntary, or court order. If the co-owners, and their lawyers, can work out an arrangement to split the property, the voluntary petitioning is possible.

Two principal ways exist to separate land in the partition:

Partition in Kind

A petition in kind concretely splits the property by marking out divisions for each possessor. This is normally done only on vacant land due to the difficulty of splitting a structure.

Partition by Sale

Partition by sale happens when the homestead is sold at auction, and the proceeds are split among the sellers. When land or money is split, the percentages are ascertained by the kind of ‘tenancy’ the parties enjoyed when they co-owned the property. If they were bilateral tenants, the equity is partitioned in equal shares. If the co-owners were tenants in common, they partition the land according to t the percentage of each party’s ownership.

Washington state is also a ‘title theory state.’ This means any lender with an outstanding mortgage has title to the property through a deed in trust. This establishes the mortgage holder as a requisite party to any partition dispute which may occur. Even if the mortgage holder is an obligatory party, they cannot initiate a partition themselves as a creditor’s remediation is a forfeiture action.