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Apr 21, 2008

CO-OWNERSHIP

Art. 484-501, Civil Code



Co-ownership - when the ownership of an undivided thing or right belongs to different persons (art. 484)

CO-OWNER'S RIGHT CONSISTS OF:

(1) right or interest in a spiritual/ideal part of a thing (portion)
(2) right or interest over the physical thing itself (whole)

REQUISITES OF CO-OWNERSHIP:

(1) plurality of subjects
(2) unity of object
(3) recognition of the ideal/intellectual shares of co-owners

- shares of co-owners shall be proportional to their respective interests (art. 485); interests presumed equal

Right to Use Property Owned in Common (art. 486)

- each co-owner has right to use
- use must be in accordance with the purpose for which it is intended and does not injure the interest of the co-ownership or prevent other co-owners from using

Right in Ejectment (art. 487)

- each co-owner has right to bring action in ejectment

Expenses for Preservation (art. 488)

- compel each co-owner to contribute for preservation or for taxes
- EXEMPT: renounce his undivided interest; but waiver not allowed if prejudicial to the co-ownership

Repairs for Preservation (art. 489)

- may be made by one co-owner but must first notify other co-owners
- improvements or embellishments shall be decided by majority (art. 492)

MAJORITY - approved by the co-owner who represent the controlling interest

- if no majority or resolution of majority is prejudicial, court shall order proper measures, including appointment of administrator

Perpendicular Co-ownership (art. 490)

- whenever the different stories of a house belong to different owners:

(1) terms under the agreement
(2) if no agreement, then:

  • MAIN AND PARTY WALLS, ROOF AND OTHER THINGS USED IN COMMON: all owners in proportion to value of the story belonging to them
  • INDIVIDUAL FLOOR: individual owner...
  • FLOOR OF THE ENTRANCE, FRONT DOOR, COMMON YARD, SANITARY WORKS: all owners pro rata
  • STAIRS FROM ENTRANCE TO THE FIRST STORY: all owners except owner of ground floor...
  • STAIRS FROM ENTRANCE OF SECOND STORY: all owners except owner of ground and first floor

Condominium (R.A. No. 4726)

- co-owner only if owner of unit

Right to Make Alterations (art. 491)

- need consent of other co-owners
- if withholding of consent is prejudicial to co-ownership, court may provide relief

REQUISITES OF ALTERATION:

(1) change that is more or less permanent
(2) changes the use of the thing
(3) prejudices the use of the thing or its enjoyment by others

Right with Respect to the Ideal or Proportionate Share (art. 493)

- each co-owner has full ownership of his ideal share and may alienate, encumber, assign, mortgage it or substitute another person in its enjoyment, EXCEPT: personal rights
- effect of mortgage, etc. shall only affect the portion owned by that co-owner allotted to him upon termination of co-ownership

Partition

- (art. 494) co-owners may demand partition any time, UNLESS:
  • agreement prohibits partition for period not exceeding ten years...extendible by new agreement
  • donor or testator prohibits partition for period not exceeding twenty years
  • law prohibits partition

- PRESCRIPTION: does not run against co-owners and co-heirs when there is express or implied recognition of co-ownership

- (art. 495) partition not allowed if it would render the propert unserviceable, e.g. division of a car owned in common; co-ownership may be terminated

HOW PARTITION DONE: (art. 496)

(1) extrajudicial - by agreement
(2) judicial - judicial proceedings; apply Civil Code and suppletorily Rule 69 of the Rules of Court

- (art. 497) creditors or assignees may take part in division and may object to it if without their concurrence; if there is already division, cannot impugn, UNLESS:
  • fraud
  • made notwithstanding formal opposition without prejudice to right of debtor or assignor to maintain its validity

- (art. 498) indivisible thing: a) co-owners will allot one of them to indemnify the others; b) if cannot decide, then sell the thing and distribute the proceeds to all

- (art. 499) third persons shall not be prejudiced by partition

UPON PARTITION:

(1) mutual accounting of benefits received (art. 500)
(2) mutual reimbursement for expenses (art. 500)
(3) indemnity for damages in case of negligence or fraud (art. 500)
(4) (art. 501) reciprocal warranty for:
  • defects of title or eviction
  • quality or hidden defects
(5) each co-owner is deemed to have had exclusive possession of the part allotted for the entire period of co-possession (art. 543)
(6) exclusive title over each respective share (art. 1091)

HOW CO-OWNERSHIP TERMINATED:

(1) judicial partition
(2) extrajudicial partition
(3) when, by prescription, one co-owner acquires by adverse possession and repudiates unequivocally the co-ownership
(4) when a stranger acquires by prescription
(5) merger in one co-owner
(6) loss or destruction
(7) expropriation (proceeds distributed accordingly)