Some Principles of the Joint Ownership Provisions
According to UAE Civil Transactions
Act issued by the Federal Law No (5) of 1985
And amended by Federal Law No (1) of 1987
Written by the Legal Counselor: Hussain Mohammed Aref Hussain
Joint ownership is concerned with a specific property owned by more than one person due to any acquisition grounds and the shares of the co-owners vary according to the source of said ownership. Inheritance represents the most common source of ownership as upon the death of any bequeather with various heirs, a joint property is transferred to those heirs according to the shares determined by the judge for each heir. The will may also constitute a source for a joint ownership when a person stipulates in his/her will that a common property shall be transferred to two people. Further, when two people purchase a common property and the agreement concluded between them sets out the share of each co-owner but if the agreement neglects same, said shares shall be equally divided between the co-owner. There are also other grounds of ownership such as seizure, accession, pre-emption, and prescription.
Article 1152 of the UAE Civil Transactions Act defines joint ownership without prejudice to the provisions of the inheritance share of each heir, should two people acquire one more objects due to any reasons of ownership without determining the share for each of them, they shall be co-owners and the shares shall be divided equally between them unless an evidence is produced to the contrary.
The Legal Nature of the Joint Ownership:
Q: Will joint ownership give the right of ownership?
A: Yes, because all ownership corners are available such as the right to use, utilization, and disposal provided that same shall not prejudice the rights of the other co-owners.
Q: Is this type of ownership individual or common?
A: In the light of the definition of the joint ownership, it becomes evident that this ownership is intermediate between the separate absolute ownership and the joint ownership because the share of the co-owner is common in each and every component of the property and this makes it different from the absolute ownership. The commonly owned object is not owned by all co-owners but pro-rata to their respective shares and this makes a distinction between the joint ownership and common ownership. This intermediate ownership constitutes an individual ownership and a type thereof.
Termination of the Joint Ownership and Reasons thereof
The joint ownership is a temporary status that will come to an end and the joint ownership will expire by division as a main reason for termination or it may terminate by agreement when a co-owner sells its common share to another, both co-owners sell all shares to another purchaser, one co-owner inherits the other, or when a co-owner recommends, by virtue of a will, that his/her share shall be transferred to the other.
The division of the common property means partitioning or determination of the common share by agreement or litigation. The division by mutual agreement necessitates that all co-owners feel satisfied. Division by litigation is effected upon an application submitted by a share holder even if one or more co-owners refuse same.
It is stipulated that the division shall not adversely affect the use of the property and if it is impossible to effect a division of the property, a co-owner may sell his/her share to the other co-owner or apply for the court to dispose of same according to provisions of the law which is known as liquidation by public auction where the proceeds obtained from said auction are distributed to the co-owners pro-rata with their respective shares in the common property.
Finally, we have to state that the district courts have jurisdiction to settle the claims of common property division and the applications associated therewith irrespective of the amount of said common property.