IN today’s article, we want to discuss the Supreme Court ruling number 614/2020 which was granted on November 17, 2020, relative to the court process concerning eviction in Spain.
The facts of the case
The most relevant facts of the case were:
- A man gave his son and his son’s wife use of a property and they undertook building work on the property during their marriage.
- The invoices, quotes, etc. are in the name of his son and wife and it is assumed that the work was paid for with common money from the marriage.
- The father (the owner) knew and consented to the work that was undertaken.
- Subsequently, his son and wife got divorced and she was granted the use of the property. Later however the father initiated an eviction case, against her for unjustified occupation arguing that she had no title to occupy the property.
Eventually, the Supreme Court ruled that the owner had no right to evict her as he had not compensated her for the construction carried out in good faith by her during the marriage.
Consideration of precarious: given the property use to the children
The Spanish definition of precarious refers to and explains the possession of something without holding sufficient title.
The Supreme Court has said that when, for example, a father gives a son and his partner a property, free of charge and without a specified term, it is considered precarious. Therefore, the possession can be recovered, at the demand of the person who allowed the property to be occupied.
In this case, later, in the divorce proceeding, the use of the property was awarded to the wife (ex-daughter-in-law).
Work carried out and the rights of the occupant
Article 361 of the Spanish Civil Code (CC), states that:
The owner of the land on which building takes place by a third party in good faith shall have the right to keep the construction for himself, after payment of the compensation established in articles 453 and 454, or to oblige the other party to pay him, the value of the land.
On the other hand, article 453 CC, states that.
The necessary expenses are paid to every holder; but only the one in good faith can retainthe thing until they are satisfied
The Supreme Court says that in the first place, the owner can keep what is built on his land. Secondly however, this does not happen automatically as the owner has to confirm his wishes and pay the legally fixed compensation.
Therefore, until that moment, and in this case, the former daughter-in-law, continued to be the owner (at least in part) of the construction, and held, in good faith, possession of the occupied land. Thus, according to article 453, she can retain possession of the construction.
All of this is conditional to good faith, which in this case is understood to be proven. Mainly, because the owner of the land consented and agreed with the works done.
The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, it merely conveys information related to legal issues.
Carlos Baos (Lawyer)
White & Baos
Tel: +34 966 426 185
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