Louisiana Civil Code

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TITLE IV - PREDIAL SERVITUDES

 

CHAPTER 1 - GENERAL PRINCIPLES

Art. 646. A predial servitude is a charge on a servient estate for the benefit of a dominant estate.

The two estates must belong to different owners. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]

Art. 647. There must be a benefit to the dominant estate. The benefit need not exist at the time the servitude is created; a possible convenience or a future advantage suffices to support a servitude.

There is no predial servitude if the charge imposed cannot be reasonably expected to benefit the dominant estate. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]

Art. 648. Neither contiguity nor proximity of the two estates is necessary for the existence of a predial servitude. It suffices that the two estates be so located as to allow one to derive some benefit from the charge on the other. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]

Art. 649. A predial servitude is an incorporeal immovable. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]

Art. 650. A. A predial servitude is inseparable from the dominant estate and passes with it. The right of using the servitude cannot be alienated, leased, or encumbered separately from the dominant estate.

B. The predial servitude continues as a charge on the servient estate when ownership changes. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1; Acts 2004, No. 821, §2, eff. Jan. 1, 2005]

Art. 651. The owner of the servient estate is not required to do anything. His obligation is to abstain from doing something on his estate or to permit something to be done on it. He may be required by convention or by law to keep his estate in suitable condition for the exercise of the servitude due to the dominant estate. A servitude may not impose upon the owner of the servient estate or his successors the obligation to pay a fee or other charge on the occasion of an alienation, lease, or encumbrance of the servient estate. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1; Acts 2010, No. 938, §2, eff. Jul. 2, 2010]

Art. 652. A predial servitude is indivisible. An estate cannot have upon another estate part of a right of way, or of view, or of any other servitude, nor can an estate be charged with a part of a servitude.

The use of a servitude may be limited to certain days or hours; when limited, it is still an entire right. A servitude is due to the whole of the dominant estate and to all parts of it; if this estate is divided, every acquirer of a part has the right of using the servitude in its entirety. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]

Art. 653. The advantages resulting from a predial servitude may be divided, if they are susceptible of division. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]

Art. 654. Predial servitudes may be natural, legal, and voluntary or conventional. Natural servitudes arise from the natural situation of estates; legal servitudes are imposed by law; and voluntary or conventional servitudes are established by juridical act, prescription, or destination of the owner. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]

 

CHAPTER 2 - NATURAL SERVITUDES

Art. 655. An estate situated below is bound to receive the surface waters that flow naturally from an estate situated above unless an act of man has created the flow. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]

Art. 656. The owner of the servient estate may not do anything to prevent the flow of the water. The owner of the dominant estate may not do anything to render the servitude more burdensome. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]

Art. 657. The owner of an estate bordering on running water may use it as it runs for the purpose of watering his estate or for other purposes. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]

Art. 658. The owner of an estate through which water runs, whether it originates there or passes from lands above, may make use of it while it runs over his lands. He cannot stop it or give it another direction and is bound to return it to its ordinary channel where it leaves his estate. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]

 

CHAPTER 3 - LEGAL SERVITUDES

 

SECTION 1 - LIMITATIONS ON OWNERSHIP

Art. 659. Legal servitudes are limitations on ownership established by law for the benefit of the general public or for the benefit of particular persons. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]

Art. 660. The owner is bound to keep his buildings in repair so that neither their fall nor that of any part of their materials may cause damage to a neighbor or to a passerby. However, he is answerable for damages only upon a showing that he knew or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known of the vice or defect which caused the damage, that the damage could have been prevented by the exercise of reasonable care, and that he failed to exercise such reasonable care. Nothing in this Article shall preclude the court from the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in an appropriate case. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1; Acts 1996, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 1, §1, eff. April 16, 1996]

Art. 661. When a building or other construction is in danger of falling a neighbor has a right of action to compel the owner to have it properly supported or demolished. When the danger is imminent the court may authorize the neighbor to do the necessary work for which he shall be reimbursed by the owner. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]

Art. 662. One who builds near a wall, whether common or not, is bound to take all necessary precautions to protect his neighbor against injury. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]

Art. 663. A landowner may not build projections beyond the boundary of his estate. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]

Art. 664. A landowner is bound to fix his roof so that rainwater does not fall on the ground of his neighbor. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]

Art. 665. Servitudes imposed for the public or common utility relate to the space which is to be left for the public use by the adjacent proprietors on the shores of navigable rivers and for the making and repairing of levees, roads, and other public or common works. Such servitudes also exist on property necessary for the building of levees and other water control structures on the alignment approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as provided by law, including the repairing of hurricane protection levees.

All that relates to this kind of servitude is determined by laws or particular regulations. [Acts 2006, No. 776, §1]

Art. 666. He who from his title as owner is bound to give a public road on the border of a river or stream, must furnish another without any compensation, if the first be destroyed or carried away.

And if the road be so injured or inundated by the water, without being carried away, that it becomes impassable, the owner is obliged to give the public a passage on his lands, as near as possible to the public road, without recompense therefor.

Art. 667. Although a proprietor may do with his estate whatever he pleases, still he cannot make any work on it, which may deprive his neighbor of the liberty of enjoying his own, or which may be the cause of any damage to him. However, if the work he makes on his estate deprives his neighbor of enjoyment or causes damage to him, he is answerable for damages only upon a showing that he knew or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known that his works would cause damage, that the damage could have been prevented by the exercise of reasonable care, and that he failed to exercise such reasonable care. Nothing in this Article shall preclude the court from the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in an appropriate case. Nonetheless, the proprietor is answerable for damages without regard to his knowledge or his exercise of reasonable care, if the damage is caused by an ultrahazardous activity. An ultrahazardous activity as used in this Article is strictly limited to pile driving or blasting with explosives. [Acts 1996, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 1, §1, eff. April 16, 1996]

Art. 668. Although one be not at liberty to make any work by which his neighbor's buildings may be damaged, yet every one has the liberty of doing on his own ground whatsoever he pleases, although it should occasion some inconvenience to his neighbor.

Thus he who is not subject to any servitude originating from a particular agreement in that respect, may raise his house as high as he pleases, although by such elevation he should darken the lights of his neighbors's [neighbor's] house, because this act occasions only an inconvenience, but not a real damage.

Art. 669. If the works or materials for any manufactory or other operation, cause an inconvenience to those in the same or in the neighboring houses, by diffusing smoke or nauseous smell, and there be no servitude established by which they are regulated, their sufferance must be determined by the rules of the police, or the customs of the place.

Art. 670. When a landowner constructs in good faith a building that encroaches on an adjacent estate and the owner of that estate does not complain within a reasonable time after he knew or should have known of the encroachment, or in any event complains only after the construction is substantially completed the court may allow the building to remain. The owner of the building acquires a predial servitude on the land occupied by the building upon payment of compensation for the value of the servitude taken and for any other damage that the neighbor has suffered. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]

Art. 671. Governing bodies of parishes and municipalities are authorized to adopt regulations determining the mode of proceeding to prevent the spread of fire by the destruction of buildings.

When private property is so destroyed in order to combat a conflagration, the owner shall be indemnified by the political subdivision for his actual loss. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]

Art. 672. Other legal servitudes relate to common enclosures, such as common walls, fences and ditches, and to the right of passage for the benefit of enclosed estates. [Acts 1977, No. 514, §1]