Rainer v. Holmes

In Rainer v. Holmes, 272 Wis. 349, 75 N.W.2d 290 (1956), the occupying cotenant sought partition and proportionate reimbursement for improvement, taxes and insurance payments she had made relative to the property. See id. at 350. The trial court ordered the property sold and granted the occupying cotenant's reimbursement request. See Rainer, 272 Wis. at 350-52. One of the nonoccupying cotenants challenged this reimbursement award, see id. at 352, contending that the trial court should have offset the reasonable value of the occupying cotenant's use and occupancy of the property against her reimbursement award. See id. at 353. The supreme court began its analysis by stating the general rule that "the cotenant in possession is not held accountable for use and occupancy in the absence of ouster or agreement to pay rent." Id. However, the court adopted an important qualifier: "We are of the opinion that an allowance for use and occupancy in a case such as this should not be made unless the equities of the particular case require it." Id. After considering the equities of the case, the supreme court upheld the trial court's ruling that the occupying cotenant was entitled to reimbursement "without being required to account for her use and occupancy of the premises." Id. at 355.