• Partitioning co-owned property



    Dear PAO,
    My siblings and I own a piece of property in Laguna. We inherited it from our parents. We decided to establish a family corporation so that we can build a subdivision and develop the property. However, it has already been 15 years since we inherited the property. It appears that my siblings are not all that serious to develop the property, and it is now being occupied by illegal settlers. I would like to just claim my share of the property. How can I go about this process? Can I do this even if my siblings are not willing?

    Dear Diana,
    At present, you and your siblings are co-owners of the property you inherited from your parents. According to Article 494 of the Civil Code, “No co-owner shall be obliged to remain in the co-ownership. Each co-owner may demand at any time the partition of the thing owned in common, insofar as his share is concerned.”

    The law provides, however, that if you and your siblings entered into an agreement to keep the thing undivided for a certain period of time not exceeding ten years, then you cannot demand partition. Likewise, partition of the thing cannot be demanded if it will render the thing unserviceable (Article 495, Civil Code).

    If none of these conditions apply to your co-ownership, then you may demand partition either by agreement, if your siblings agree to divide the property, or by judicial proceeding. If you and your siblings cannot agree on the partition, you may file an Action for Partition under Rule 69 of our Rules of Court. Under Section 1 of the said Rule, “A person having the right to compel the partition of real estate may do so as provided in this Rule, setting forth in his complaint the nature and extent of his title and an adequate prescription of the real estate of which partition is demanded and joining as defendants all other persons interested in the property.”

    In judicial partition, it does not matter if your siblings are willing or not to divide the property. During such partition, they may either buy you out (if you are amenable to this or if partition of the property is impossible, as when the property is too small) or give your share in the property.

    We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter. 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.


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