TITLE VI USUFRUCT
USUFRUCT IN GENERAL
Usufruct gives a right to enjoy the property of another with the obligation of preserving its form and substance, unless the title constituting it or the law otherwise provides.
Usufruct is constituted by law, by the will of private persons expressed in acts inter vivos or in a last will and testament, and by prescription.
Usufruct may be constituted on the whole or a part of the fruits of the thing, in favor of one more persons, simultaneously or successively, and in every case from or to a certain day, purely or conditionally. It may also be constituted on a right, provided it is not strictly personal or intransmissible.
The rights and obligations of the usufructuary shall be those provided in the title constituting the usufruct; in default of such title, or in case it is deficient, the provisions contained in the two following Chapters shall be observed.
RIGHTS OF THE USUFRUCTUARY
The usufructuary shall be entitled to all the natural, industrial and civil fruits of the property in usufruct. With respect to hidden treasure which may be found on the land or tenement, he shall be considered a stranger.
Natural or industrial fruits growing at the time the usufruct begins, belong to the usufructuary. Those growing at the time the usufruct terminates, belong to the owner.
In the preceding cases, the usufructuary, at the beginning of the usufruct, has no obligation to refund to the owner any expenses incurred; but the owner shall be obliged to reimburse at the termination of the usufruct, from the proceeds of the growing fruits, the ordinary expenses of cultivation, for seed, and other similar expenses incurred by the usufructuary.
The provisions of this article shall not prejudice the rights of third persons, acquired either at the beginning or at the termination of the usufruct.
If the usufructuary has leased the lands or tenements given in usufruct, and the usufruct should expire before the termination of the lease, he or his heirs and successors shall receive only the proportionate share of the rent that must be paid by the lessee.
Civil fruits are deemed to accrue daily, and belong to the usufructuary in proportion to the time the usufruct may last.
Whenever a usufruct is constituted on the right to receive a rent or periodical pension, whether in money or in fruits, or in the interest on bonds or securities payable to bearer, each payment due shall be considered as the proceeds or fruits of such right.
Whenever it consists in the enjoyment of benefits accruing from a participation in any industrial or commercial enterprise, the date of the distribution of which is not fixed, such benefits shall have the same character.
In either case they shall be distributed as civil fruits, and shall be applied in the manner prescribed in the preceding article.
The usufructuary shall have the right to enjoy any increase which the thing in usufruct may acquire through accession, the servitudes established in its favor, and, in general, all the benefits inherent therein.
The usufructuary may personally enjoy the thing in usufruct, lease it to another, or alienate his right of usufruct, evenby a gratuitous title; but all the contracts he may enter into as such usufructuary shall terminate upon the expiration of the usufruct, saving leases of rural lands, which shall be considered as subsisting during the agricultural year.
Whenever the usufruct includes things which, without being consumed, gradually deteriorate through wear and tear, the usufructuary shall have the right to make use thereof in accordance with the purpose for which they are intended, and shall not be obliged to return them at the termination of the usufruct except in their condition at that time; but he shall be obliged to indemnify the owner for any deterioration they may have suffered by reason of his fraud or negligence.
Whenever the usufruct includes things which cannot be used without being consumed, the usufructuary shall have the right to make use of them under the obligation of paying their appraised value at the termination of the usufruct, if they were appraised when delivered. In case they were not appraised, he shall have the right to return the same quantity and quality, or pay their current price at the time the usufruct ceases.
The usufructuary of fruit-bearing trees and shrubs may make use of the dead trunks, and even of those cut off or uprooted by accident, under the obligation to replace them with new plants.
If in consequence of a calamity or extraordinary event, the trees or shrubs shall have disappeared in such considerable number that it would not be possible or it would be too burdensome to replace them, the usufructuary may leave the dead, fallen or uprooted trunks at the disposal of the owner, and demand that the latter remove them and clear the land.
The usufructuary of woodland may enjoy all the benefits which it may produce according to its nature. If the woodland is a copse or consists of timber for building, the usufructuary may do such ordinary cutting or felling as the owner was in the habit of doing, and in default of this, he may do so in accordance with the custom of the place, as to the manner, amount and season.
In any case the felling or cutting of trees shall be made in such manner as not to prejudice the preservation of the land.
In nurseries, the usufructuary may make the necessary thinnings in order that the remaining trees may properly grow.
With the exception of the provisions of the preceding paragraphs, the usufructuary cannot cut down trees unless it be to restore or improve some of the things in usufruct, and in such case shall first inform the owner of the necessity for the work.
The usufructuary of an action to recover real property or a real right, or any movable property, has the right to bring the action and to oblige the owner thereof to give him the authority for this purpose and to furnish him whatever proof he may have.
If in consequence of the enforcement of the action he acquires the thing claimed, the usufruct shall be limited to the fruits, the dominion remaining with the owner.
The usufructuary may make on the property held in usufruct such useful improvements or expenses for mere pleasure as he may deem proper, provided he does not alter its form or substance; but he shall have no right to be indemnified therefor.
He may, however, remove such improvements, should it be possible to do so without damage to the property.
The usufructuary may set off the improvements he may have made on the property against any damage to the same.
The owner of property the usufruct of which is held by another, may alienate it, but he cannot alter its form or substance, or do anything thereon which may be prejudicial to the usufructuary.
The usufructuary of a part of a thing held in common shall exercise all the rights pertaining to the owner thereof with respect to the administration and the collection of fruits or interest. Should the co-ownership cease by reason of the division of the thing held in common, the usufruct of the part allotted to the co-owner shall belong to the usufructuary.