CO-OWNERSHIP OF PROPERTY

I was successful in requiring the Shock-A-Dog company to honor the promise of its Oregon field agent to give the cats an exclusive distributorship for the Ashland-Talent area, and the cats have made a lot of money that they want to invest in a condo in Yachats, which they mispronounce and believe to be inhabited by French cats.  I like Yachats and ask if I can go in on it with them.  They offer to let me be a one-third owner if I put up half the down payment and co-sign the mortgage.  I question the fairness of this, but they say that they will manage the property and keep it rented to make the mortgage payments, so I agree to their terms.

Initially, the cats suggested that the three of us hold title to the condo with the right of survivorship, but after doing some longevity research they were surprised to learn that I have a greater life expectancy than they do.   They promptly withdrew that suggestion and said that we should hold title as tenants in common, so that their interests in the property would not pass to me on their deaths.  They wanted to hold their two-thirds interest, however, with right of survivorship with respect to the two of them.  They explained that if one of them died they wanted the survivor to own the interests of both of them.  I agreed.

The cats want to prohibit use of the condo by any dog.  They are concerned that I am friends with you, and they don’t want me to invite you and Bowser to come to the coast. I suggest that we could enter into a co-tenancy agreement that would control our rights and obligations regarding the condo.  They ask me to draft the agreement and to include a provision that it will be recorded so that it will be binding on any future owner of my interest in the property.  They also want a right of first refusal to purchase my interest.  I mention that I would like to include a provision that prohibits use of the condo by their retired friend, the old Tom who lives in the San Juans, since he sheds fur and could mark the corners of the condo, but they absolutely refuse.

I drafted the co-tenancy agreement and gave it to the cats at dinner the next evening.  They sent it to their San Francisco attorneys for review, now that the cats have caught up on their bill.  Three weeks later, they get it back and we buy the condo and record our co-tenancy agreement.  The next day I notice that the cats have bought a large supply of red wine cat nip, baguette-shaped mouse chews and lavender scented litter to take to the condo.  They have sent invitations, in French, to all of the cats in Yachats for a house warming party. I get out our co-tenancy agreement and realize that it does not place any restrictions on the cats’ use of the condo.   I decide to stay home that weekend.

Allen Drescher has practiced law in Ashland and Southern Oregon since 1973.  His practice areas include real estate, business law and estate planning.

© Allen Drescher