Louisiana Civil Code

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TITLE II - OWNERSHIP

 

CHAPTER 1 - GENERAL PRINCIPLES

Art. 477. A. Ownership is the right that confers on a person direct, immediate, and exclusive authority over a thing. The owner of a thing may use, enjoy, and dispose of it within the limits and under the conditions established by law.

B. A buyer and occupant of a residence under a bond for deed contract is the owner of the thing for purposes of the homestead exemption granted to other property owners pursuant to Article VII, Section 20(A) of the Constitution of Louisiana. The buyer under a bond for deed contract shall apply for the homestead exemption each year. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1; Acts 1995, No. 640, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1996; HR 17, 1998 1st Ex. Sess.; HCR 13, 1998 R.S.]

Art. 478. The right of ownership may be subject to a resolutory condition, and it may be burdened with a real right in favor of another person as allowed by law. The ownership of a thing burdened with a usufruct is designated as naked ownership. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 479. The right of ownership may exist only in favor of a natural person or a juridical person. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 480. Two or more persons may own the same thing in indivision, each having an undivided share. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 481. The ownership and the possession of a thing are distinct.

Ownership exists independently of any exercise of it and may not be lost by nonuse. Ownership is lost when acquisitive prescription accrues in favor of an adverse possessor. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 482. The ownership of a thing includes by accession the ownership of everything that it produces or is united with it, either naturally or artificially, in accordance with the following provisions. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

 

CHAPTER 2 - RIGHT OF ACCESSION

 

SECTION 1 - OWNERSHIP OF FRUITS

Art. 483. In the absence of rights of other persons, the owner of a thing acquires the ownership of its natural and civil fruits. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 484. The young of animals belong to the owner of the mother of them. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 485. When fruits that belong to the owner of a thing by accession are produced by the work of another person, or from seeds sown by him, the owner may retain them on reimbursing such person his expenses. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 486. A possessor in good faith acquires the ownership of fruits he has gathered. If he is evicted by the owner, he is entitled to reimbursement of expenses for fruits he was unable to gather.

A possessor in bad faith is bound to restore to the owner the fruits he has gathered, or their value, subject to his claim for reimbursement of expenses. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 487. For purposes of accession, a possessor is in good faith when he possesses by virtue of an act translative of ownership and does not know of any defects in his ownership. He ceases to be in good faith when these defects are made known to him or an action is instituted against him by the owner for the recovery of the thing. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 488. Products derived from a thing as a result of diminution of its substance belong to the owner of that thing. When they are reclaimed by the owner, a possessor in good faith has the right to reimbursement of his expenses. A possessor in bad faith does not have this right. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 489. In the absence of other provisions, one who is entitled to the fruits of a thing from a certain time or up to a certain time acquires the ownership of natural fruits gathered during the existence of his right, and a part of the civil fruits proportionate to the duration of his right. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

 

SECTION 2 - ACCESSION IN RELATION TO IMMOVABLES

Art. 490. Unless otherwise provided by law, the ownership of a tract of land carries with it the ownership of everything that is directly above or under it.

The owner may make works on, above, or below the land as he pleases, and draw all the advantages that accrue from them, unless he is restrained by law or by rights of others. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 491. Buildings, other constructions permanently attached to the ground, standing timber, and unharvested crops or ungathered fruits of trees may belong to a person other than the owner of the ground. Nevertheless, they are presumed to belong to the owner of the ground, unless separate ownership is evidenced by an instrument filed for registry in the conveyance records of the parish in which the immovable is located. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 492. Separate ownership of a part of a building, such as a floor, an apartment, or a room, may be established only by a juridical act of the owner of the entire building when and in the manner expressly authorized by law. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 493. Buildings, other constructions permanently attached to the ground, and plantings made on the land of another with his consent belong to him who made them. They belong to the owner of the ground when they are made without his consent.

When the owner of buildings, other constructions permanently attached to the ground, or plantings no longer has the right to keep them on the land of another, he may remove them subject to his obligation to restore the property to its former condition. If he does not remove them within ninety days after written demand, the owner of the land may, after the ninetieth day from the date of mailing the written demand, appropriate ownership of the improvements by providing an additional written notice by certified mail, and upon receipt of the certified mail by the owner of the improvements, the owner of the land obtains ownership of the improvements and owes nothing to the owner of the improvements. Until such time as the owner of the land appropriates the improvements, the improvements shall remain the property of he who made them and he shall be solely responsible for any harm caused by the improvements.

When buildings, other constructions permanently attached to the ground, or plantings are made on the separate property of a spouse with community assets or with separate assets of the other spouse and when such improvements are made on community property with the separate assets of a spouse, this Article does not apply. The rights of the spouses are governed by Articles 2366, 2367, and 2367.1. [Acts 1984, No. 933, §1; Acts 2003, No. 715, §1] NOTE:  See HCR No 306, 2004 R.S., relative to retroactive effects.

Art. 493.1. Things incorporated in or attached to an immovable so as to become its component parts under Articles 465 and 466 belong to the owner of the immovable. [Acts 1984, No. 933, §1]

Art. 493.2. One who has lost the ownership of a thing to the owner of an immovable may have a claim against him or against a third person in accordance with the following provisions. [Acts 1984, No. 933, §1]

Art. 494. When the owner of an immovable makes on it constructions, plantings, or works with materials of another, he may retain them, regardless of his good or bad faith, on reimbursing the owner of the materials their current value and repairing the injury that he may have caused to him. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 495. One who incorporates in, or attaches to, the immovable of another, with his consent, things that become component parts of the immovable under Articles 465 and 466, may, in the absence of other provisions of law or juridical acts, remove them subject to his obligation of restoring the property to its former condition.

If he does not remove them after demand, the owner of the immovable may have them removed at the expense of the person who made them or elect to keep them and pay, at his option, the current value of the materials and of the workmanship or the enhanced value of the immovable. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 496. When constructions, plantings, or works are made by a possessor in good faith, the owner of the immovable may not demand their demolition and removal. He is bound to keep them and at his option to pay to the possessor either the cost of the materials and of the workmanship, or their current value, or the enhanced value of the immovable. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 497. When constructions, plantings, or works are made by a bad faith possessor, the owner of the immovable may keep them or he may demand their demolition and removal at the expense of the possessor, and, in addition, damages for the injury that he may have sustained. If he does not demand demolition and removal, he is bound to pay at his option either the current value of the materials and of the workmanship of the separable improvements that he has kept or the enhanced value of the immovable. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 498. One who has lost the ownership of a thing to the owner of an immovable may assert against third persons his rights under Articles 493, 493.1, 494, 495, 496, or 497 when they are evidenced by an instrument filed for registry in the appropriate conveyance or mortgage records of the parish in which the immovable is located. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1. Acts 1984, No. 933, §1]

Art. 499. Accretion formed successively and imperceptibly on the bank of a river or stream, whether navigable or not, is called alluvion. The alluvion belongs to the owner of the bank, who is bound to leave public that portion of the bank which is required for the public use.

The same rule applies to dereliction formed by water receding imperceptibly from a bank of a river or stream. The owner of the land situated at the edge of the bank left dry owns the dereliction. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 500. There is no right to alluvion or dereliction on the shore of the sea or of lakes. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 501. Alluvion formed in front of the property of several owners is divided equitably, taking into account the extent of the front of each property prior to the formation of the alluvion in issue. Each owner is entitled to a fair proportion of the area of the alluvion and a fair proportion of the new frontage on the river, depending on the relative values of the frontage and the acreage. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 502. If a sudden action of the waters of a river or stream carries away an identifiable piece of ground and unites it with other lands on the same or on the opposite bank, the ownership of the piece of ground so carried away is not lost. The owner may claim it within a year, or even later, if the owner of the bank with which it is united has not taken possession. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 503. When a river or stream, whether navigable or not, opens a new channel and surrounds riparian land making it an island, the ownership of that land is not affected. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 504. When a navigable river or stream abandons its bed and opens a new one, the owners of the land on which the new bed is located shall take by way of indemnification the abandoned bed, each in proportion to the quantity of land that he lost.

If the river returns to the old bed, each shall take his former land. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 505. Islands, and sandbars that are not attached to a bank, formed in the beds of navigable rivers or streams, belong to the state. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]

Art. 506. In the absence of title or prescription, the beds of nonnavigable rivers or streams belong to the riparian owners along a line drawn in the middle of the bed. [Acts 1979, No. 180, §1]