The process of Declaration of Ownership is by means of which a person who has behaved as owner of a property without being legally the owner (possessor), can become the owner of this by order of the judge, and this is achieved by means of the Acquisitive Prescription of Ownership.
This figure is contemplated in article 673 of the Civil Code, which specifies the ways of acquiring ownership in Colombian law and among them is that of prescription or usucapion.
What are the requirements of the declaratory process of ownership?
The law and jurisprudence establish the legal requirements for the possessor to become owner, such as:
- The possessor must inhabit the property and exercise acts of lord and owner for at least 10 years, if there is no just title and/or good faith (extraordinary prescription) and for 5 years if just title and good faith are proven (ordinary prescription).
- That possession during that time has been uninterrupted, quiet and public.
The declaratory process of ownership transforms the possessor into the owner.
The main purpose of acquisitive prescription is to put an end to the divorce between ownership and possession, transforming the possessor into the owner, thus conforming and consolidating the facts with the law in order to prevent the destruction and disregard of respectable situations due to the length of time they have lasted.
What is the legal phenomenon of the statute of limitations?
Article 2512 of the Civil Code defines it in the following terms “…a way of acquiring the things of others, or of extinguishing the actions and rights of others, because the things have been possessed and said actions and rights have not been exercised for a certain period of time, and the other legal requirements have been met”.
This definition implies that usucapion is a way of acquiring another’s things, by reason of having been possessed for a certain period of time with the legal requirements and formalities.
What happens after the judge recognizes me as the owner?
The judgment issued by the judge fulfills the role of a public deed. However, in order for it to generate rights and obligations, it must be registered in the real estate registration folio in the corresponding Registry of Public Instruments. For the registration it is necessary:
- The presentation of the judgment, containing the public deed, with an authentic copy.
- Receipt of payment of the registration tax and the surcharge for untimeliness in case the term to register the document has expired.
- Receipt of payment of registration fees from the Registry Offices.