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Understanding the Contract of Usufruct...

Understanding the Contract of Usufruct
"Sometime in 2010, I wrote my best friend Gerald informing him that he could use my land in the province to build their house since I was working abroad. When I decided to sell the said property, I wrote another letter to Gerald informing him of my plan and that he needed to return the same. But he refused to turn over the property and vehemently refused to leave the premises. He told me that he is already the new owner of the property based on the letter that I sent him. What can I do on this matter? KevinDear Kevin, The contract you entered with Gerald is a contract of usufruct. Article 562 of the New Civil Code clearly provides that “usufruct gives a right to enjoy the property of another with the obligation of preserving its form and substance, unless the title constituting it or the law otherwise provides.”Moreover, the Supreme Court in the case of Mercedes Moralidad vs. Spouses Diosdado Pernes and Arlene Pernes (GR 152809, Aug. 3, 2006), penned by Associate Justice Cancio Garcia, held that: “Usufruct, in essence, is nothing else but simply allowing one to enjoy another’s property. It is also defined as the right to enjoy the property of another temporarily, including both the jus utendi and the jus fruendi, with the owner retaining the jus disponendi or the power to alienate the same.“It is undisputed that petitioner, in a document dated July 21, 1986, supra, made known her intention to give respondents and her other kin the right to use and to enjoy the fruits of her property. There can also be no quibbling about the respondents being given the right to build their own house on the property and to stay thereat as long as they like.” (Emphasis supplied) Furthermore, Article 603 of the New Civil Code states that usufruct is extinguished by renunciation of the usufructuary or termination of the right of the person constituting usufruct. The said provision is quoted below:“ART. 603. Usufruct is extinguished:“(1) By the death of the usufructuary, unless a contrary intention clearly appears“(2) By expiration of the period for which it was constituted, or by the fulfillment of any resolutory condition provided in the title creating the usufruct “(3) By merger of the usufruct and ownership in the same person“(4) By renunciation of the usufructuary“(5) By the total loss of the thing in usufruct“(6) By the termination of the right of the person constituting the usufruct“(7) By prescription.” (Emphasis supplied.)Applying the foregoing in your present situation, you only gave Gerald a right for beneficial use of your land and build their house thereon. It does not mean, however, that you are already giving him the said property. Hence, you can repossess your land any time.Considering that you informed Gerald of your intent to sell the property and asked for the return of the property, you already extinguished Gerald’s right to use the same. Thus, his failure to return the property may give you a right to file an action of Unlawful Detainer against him.We hope that we were able to answer your queries. This advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net"

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"Understanding the Contract of Usufruct" was written by Mary under the Legal Advice category. It has been read 222 times and generated 0 comments. The article was created on and updated on 15 September 2021.
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