(Question A.9, Civil Law, 2019 Bar Exam)
Ms. U is a usufructuary of a piece of land owned by Mr. L. During the existence of the usufruct, Ms. U introduced various useful improvements on the land. Upon termination of the usufruct, Mr. L requested Ms. U to remove the said improvements, but Ms. U refused, demanding instead that Mr. L reimburse her the value of the same.
(a) What is a usufruct? (2%)
(b) Is Ms. U’s demand proper? Explain. (3%)
(a) 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.
(b) No. Answer
Under the Civil Code, there is no right granted to a usufructuary to demand reimbursement for any improvements made. Nor is there any obligation on the landowner to reimburse for any improvements made by the usufructuary. Notwithstanding, applying the principle of unjust enrichment, Mr. P may be compelled to pay for the improvements; otherwise, Ms. U may have the right to remove them at her expense. Rule
In the case at bar, Ms. U does not have the right to demand reimbursement. Neither does Mr. P have the obligation to pay for the improvement unless he chooses to appropriate it. Apply
Thus, Ms. U’s demand is not proper. Conclusion
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
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