Legal remedies if land are sold is smaller than agreed upon

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Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I bought from Marvin 300 square meters of land in Cavite. After I paid him the total consideration agreed upon, we executed a deed of sale and I immediately took possession and introduced some improvements like the construction of a house on the said property. When the work was ongoing, the civil engineer relayed to me his observation that the actual land area is smaller than was what indicated in the deed of sale. I engaged the services of a geodetic engineer for the relocation of the property and his suspicion was confirmed that the land area is less than 100 square meters as compared to what has been indicated in the deed of sale. Please advise me on what can be my legal remedies against Marvin.    
Ben

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Dear Ben,
Under Article 1539 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, it is specifically stated that:

“The obligation to deliver the thing sold includes that of placing in the control of the vendee all that is mentioned in the contract, in conformity with the following rules:

“If the sale of real estate should be made with a statement of its area, at the rate of a certain price for a unit of measure or number, the vendor shall be obliged to deliver to the vendee, if the latter should demand it, all that have been stated in the contract; but, should this be not possible, the vendee may choose between proportional reduction of the price and the rescission of the contract, provided that, in the latter case, the lack in the area be not less than one-tenth of that stated.

“The same shall be done, even when the area is the same, if any part of the immovable is not of the quality specified in the contract.

“The rescission, in this case, shall only take place at the will of the vendee, when the inferior value of the thing sold exceeds one-tenth of the price agreed upon.

“Nevertheless, if the vendee would not have bought the immovable had he known of its smaller area or inferior quality, he may rescind the sale”.

Applying the abovementioned provision of the law in your case, you have the right to demand from Marvin the 100 square meters of land that is lacking on the land area which you had agreed upon, or you have the option to demand the proportional reduction in the stipulated price. Rescission of the contract of sale can also be availed of, in case you do not want to continue the purchase of the land had you known that it has a smaller area.

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that 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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