Spiller v. Mackereth
p. 369 Rule-
in the absence of an agreement to pay rent or an ouster of a cotenant, a cotenant in possession is not liable to his cotenants for the value of his use and occupation of the property.
used in cotenancy cases to describe two distinct fact situations. (1) the beginning of the running of the statute of limitations for adverse possession and (2) the liability of an occupying cotenant for rent to other cotenants
- an ouster in an adverse possession case - a claim of absolute ownership and a denial of the cotenancy relationship by the occupying cotenant
- an occupying cotenant liable to out of possession cotenants - one in which the occupying cotenant refuses a demand of the other cotenants to be allowed into use and enjoyment of the land, regardless of a claim of absolute ownership.
When a cotenant is in exclusive possession of concurrently owned property, the majority holds that, unless there has been an ouster, the cotenant in possession does not have to pay a proportionate share of the rental value to the cotenants out of possession.
Swartzbaugh v. Sampson -
p. 373 Rules:
- an estate in joint tenancy can be severed by destroying one or more of the necessary unities, either by operation of law, by death, by voluntary or certain involuntary acts of joint tenants, or by certain acts or omissions of one joint tenant without the consent of the other.
- One joint tenant out of possession cannot recover exclusive possession of the joint property from his cotenant. He can only recover the right to be let into joint possession of the property with his cotenant. He cannot eject his cotenant in possession.
- One joint tenant cannot maintain an action against his cotenant for rent for occupancy of the property or for profits derived from his own labor. He may, however, compel the tenant in possession to account for rents collected from third parties.
- the act of one joint tenant without express or implied authority from or the consent of his cotenant cannot bind or prejudicially affect the rights of the latter
Notes: Accounting for benefits, recovering costs
Rents and profits
- In all states, a cotenant who collects from third parties rents and other payments arising from the co-owned land must account to cotenants for the amounts received. Absent ouster, however, the accounting is usually based only on actual receipts, not fair market value.
Taxes & mortgages
- a cotenant paying more than his share of taxes, mortgage payments, and other necessary carrying charges generally has a right to contribution from the other cotenants, at least up to the amount of the value of their share in the property.
Repairs & improvements
- necessary repairs - in most jurisdictions a cotenant making or paying for them has no affirmative rights to contribution from other cotenants in the absence of an agreement.