Law Dictionary

Question A.7, Civil Law, 2019 Bar Exam

Notice: The following suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide as an answer to a bar exam question. Thus, specific citations (i.e., republic acts, articles/sections, jurisprudence, etc.) are not provided because it is not required in the bar exam. For purposes other than answering the bar exam, please be reminded that proper referencing or legal citation is required.

Question A.7, Civil Law, 2019 Bar Exam

Believing that he owned a certain parcel of land and completely unaware of any defect in his title thereto, Mr. A started to build a house thereon. When Mr. P, the real owner of the land learned of Mr. A’s actions, Mr. P immediately demanded Mr. A to leave the premises. However, Mr. A refused to leave, and instead, asserted that as a builder in good faith, Mr. P is obliged to sell the land to him.

(a) Is the claim of Mr. A correct? Explain. (3%)

(b) Assuming that Mr. P all the while, knew but did not object to Mr. A’s construction of the house on his property, may Mr. A compel Mr. P to purchase the said improvement due to Mr. P’s bad faith? Explain. (3%)

Suggested Answer:

(a) No. Answer

Under the Civil Code, the owner of the land on which anything has been built, sown or planted in good faith, shall have the right to appropriate as his own the works or improvements after payment of the indemnity, or to oblige the one who built to pay the price of the land. However, the builder cannot be obliged to buy the land if its value is considerably more than that of the building or trees. In such case, he shall pay reasonable rent, if the owner of the land does not choose to appropriate the building or trees after proper indemnity. The right to choose is with landowner, and not the builder. Rule

In the case at bar, Mr. A and Mr. P are respectively a builder in good faith and a landowner in good faith. The right to choose on how to proceed from the situation is with Mr. P, the landowner. Mr. P has no obligation to sell the land as it is just one of the options he can choose from. Apply

Thus, the claim of Mr. A is not correct. Conclusion

(b) Yes. Answer

Under the Civil Code, if the landowner acted in bad faith, he shall pay for the value of the improvement and be obliged to the reparation of damages. Rule

In the case at bar, Mr. P may be compelled to pay for the value and be obliged to the reparation of damages if he acted in bad faith.. Apply

Thus, Mr. A may compel Mr. P to purchase the said improvement due to Mr. P’s bad faith. Conclusion

Disclaimer: All information is for educational and general information only. These should not be taken as professional legal advice or opinion. Please consult a competent lawyer to address your specific concerns. Any statements or opinions of the author are solely his own and do not reflect that of any organization he may be connected.

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