Land sold without deed of sale

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My father bought a parcel of land. Its title was not transferred to the seller. It is still in the name of the seller’s deceased parent. There was no deed of sale but my father and the seller went to the barangay and made an agreement before the barangay chairman as to the sale and my father already paid the contract price. My father and the seller are already dead.

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What are we going to do now that the siblings of the seller are threatening to sell the whole property to others? How can we have a deed of sale to protect our rights over the property?
Ferdinand

Dear Ferdinand,
By contract of sale, one of the contracting parties obligates himself to transfer the ownership and to deliver a determinate thing, and the other to pay therefore a price certain in money or its equivalent (Article 1458, Civil Code). A sale may be orally made. But an agreement for the sale of goods, chattels or things in action at a price not less than five hundred pesos shall be unenforceable unless the note or memorandum be in writing and subscribed by the party charged or his agent (Article 1403 (2) (d), Civil Code).

There is a perfected contract of sale of land between your father and the seller as evidenced by their agreement before the barangay chairman and the payment of the contract price. However, based from your statement, it appears that the seller is only one of the siblings who are owners of the land, which title is still in the name of their parents. Even if the property is not yet divided, the seller may still transfer his share by way of sale to your father in accordance with Article 493 of the Civil Code which provides that “each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto, and he may therefore alienate, assign or mortgage, with respect to the co-owners, shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership.” Accordingly, only that portion of the seller in the land was transferred to your father when they agreed for the sale before your barangay chairman.

As you have stated, the sale of the land to your father is not evidenced by a deed of sale. Despite the absence of the deed of sale, the same is nevertheless valid and enforceable against the seller’s heirs and all parties-in-interest since he and your father had an agreement of sale before your barangay chairman and the seller already received the purchased price of the land. Based on the foregoing, you may demand from the heirs of the seller to execute a proper deed (Deed of Sale) to reflect the sale of their parent with your father. Such being the case, you and the rest of your father’s heirs who are considered co-owners of the land, may demand the partition of the whole property respecting the share that was transferred to you.

Please be reminded that the above legal opinion is solely based on our appreciation of the problem that you have stated. The opinion may vary when other facts are stated or elaborated.

Editor’s note:Dear Pao is a daily column of the Public Affair’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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