Sofiya Law Firm succeeds in acquisitive prescription proceedings

Lawyers from Sofiya Law Firm have helped an individual prove the acquisition of the title to a real estate — the seven-tenth of a building located in Kyiv — by acquisitive prescription.

To achieve this, the lawyers prepared and filed a claim against the Kyiv City Council seeking declaration of the title to the part of the building. The Shevchenkivskyi District Court, Kyiv allowed the claim.

'The part of the building was not occupied for a while and started falling into neglect. Even our client's neighbours contacted him requesting rehabilitation of the neglected part of the building. Given that nobody was taking care of it, our client had no other choice but to take charge of that part of the building. He removed waste and started major repairs,' the law firm's associated partner Ms Victoriia Varienikova, who has run the case, comments. 'Although not a single grievance was filed against the 10 year use, the Kyiv City Council has raised objections to the claim.'

That's why, according to the lawyer, the team of Sofiya Law Firm endeavoured to prove the existence of three factors, which consequently resulted in the judgment granted to the client:

1) the possession was bona fide, meaning that the individual did not and could not know that he had no grounds for acquiring the title to another's property when gaining possession of the same;

2) the possession was open, meaning that the individual was not concealing his possession of the property, while the taking of common security measures in respect of the real estate did not constitute the concealment of the property; and

3) the possession of the real property was continuous given that there was not a single interruption thereof throughout the entire prescription period, which period is ten years in accordance with the legislation.

The Ukrainian Civil Code specifies at paragraph 1 of Article 344 that where an individual has in good faith taken possession of another's property and such possession has continuously subsisted for ten years, he should acquire the title to the property in question. Accordingly, the court agreed with the arguments made on behalf of the claimant and allowed the claim. The judgment was not appealed and, therefore, has taken legal effect.

'The application of the acquisitive prescription article is not common in case law since it requires a thorough proving of the relevant circumstances and refutation of the opponent's case, especially where the opponent is a local authority', pointed out Sofiya Law Firm Partner Mr Oleksandr Polivodskyy.

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