After having his mother’s property transferred to him and a usufruct created for her, a reader wants to know whether she can demand that he vacate the dwelling given that he is the registered owner according to the title deed.
His mother transferred the property to him a few years ago on condition that he take care of her until her death, hence the creation of the usufruct in her favour.
The property comprises a main dwelling occupied by the reader’s family and a granny flat in which his mother lives.
He says his mother has seemingly had a change of heart and is demanding that he and his family vacate the main dwelling.
It is not clear whether the mother wishes to cancel the transfer of the property or whether she is claiming a right in accordance with the usufruct registered in her favour.
See the reader’s question here.
If it is the former, she may be hard-pressed to justify a claimed reversion of the property to her without good reason.
And, depending on the manner in which she approaches this task, she may be faced with unwanted costs.
To begin with, the agreement concluded between them at the time of transfer should be examined to determine whether any reasons claimed by the mother may be valid from a contractual standpoint.
A more likely scenario is that she wants to enforce her rights under the usufruct registered in her favour.
A usufruct is a personal servitude registered over a fixed property whereby the use and enjoyment of the property are separated from its ownership.
Upon the demise of the holder of the usufruct, the use and enjoyment would return to the owner of the property, allowing him the use of it, in addition to the actual ownership.
Again, the provisions of the notarial deed of servitude should be examined to determine the rights of the mother.
It could be the case that, notwithstanding the reader being the registered owner, the use and enjoyment in respect of the main dwelling was permitted by the mother in the form of a lease.
It is quite possible that this arrangement was effected in a fairly casual manner, as is often the case when family is involved.
The agreement may have been considered to be quite sensible as unencumbered ownership will eventually pass to our reader.
The mother’s rights will be secure until her death, while she allows her son and his family to reside in the main dwelling in the interim.
While the parties appear to have been quite vigilant in effecting the transfer of ownership and the registration of the usufruct, the reader’s right to reside in the main dwelling appears to have been overlooked and undocumented.
The manner in which the use was permitted to the reader should be considered to determine whether his mother has any right to evict him from the property, which he owns but has no immediate and practical rights over.
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