Legalese (2009 Week 15)


Co-ownership – there is co-ownership whenever the ownership of an undivided thing or right belongs to different persons.  (Civil Code, art. 484)


ARTICLE 486. Each co-owner may use the thing owned in common, provided he does so in accordance with the purpose for which it is intended and in such a way as not to injure the interest of the co-ownership or prevent the other co-owners from using it according to their rights. The purpose of the co-ownership may be changed by agreement, express or implied. (Civil Code)


The co-ownership exists for the common enjoyment and use of the property owned in common.  A co-owner may use and enjoy the co-owned property without limitations, except that the use must be for the purpose for which it is intended and he must not prejudice the rights of the other co-owners.  [See: Comments and Cases on Property [2007], p. 234]


Two sisters, VP and MB, owned in common a 2 storey house.  The upper floor is used as a dwelling while the lower floor is rented out.  VP lives in the province.  MB and her husband live in a room in the upper floor. Another room in the upper floor contained things co-owned by VP and MB.  MB’s husband uses a room in the lower floor as his office.  The other rooms in the lower floor are rented out.  Can VP recover rent from MB and her husband?   [See: Comments and Cases on Property [2007], p. 234-235]