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What is usufruct?

Verified 07 October 2019 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Usufruct is the right to use property and to collect income from it without owning it. The usufructuary has rights and obligations. The right to usufruct is temporary.

Usufruct is the right to enjoy property without owning it and provided that it is preserved. It is another person who has the nude-ownership good.

You may be usufruct in one of the following situations:

  • As a parent, you have usufruct on the property of your children under 16 years of age. Your children own the property. 
  • As a widow or widow, you receive the estate of your deceased spouse in usufruct. The deceased's children become the owners of the property.

You can also benefit from a usufruct by will or by contract (sale or donation of a usufruct right).

The property right is divided as follows:

  • the unowned property for the owner,
  • usufruct for the usufruct.

Right to use property

For example, you can use the property yourself or rent it.

The agreement of the naked owner is necessary for rural, commercial, craft or industrial leases.

Right to receive income from property

You get, for example, crops, interest on money, rent.

The income is collected during the entire duration of the usufruct.

At the end of the usufruct, you cannot claim compensation for improving the property.

The main obligations of the usufructuary are as follows:

  • Make an inventory if the property is movable property
  • Make a statement of the condition of the property if it is real estate
  • Ensure proper conservation of the property
  • Undertake to reasonably enjoy the property by providing a signed document to the bare owner, unless the bare owner exempts you from this
  • Pay the property tax and the home tax if the property is real estate
  • Make all maintenance repairs. Large repairs are the responsibility of the naked owner unless they are the result of a lack of maintenance on your part (for a real estate, large repairs only concern the large-scale work).

The distribution of the value of a property between usufruct and non-owner is determined by a tax schedule established according to the age of the usufruct. This scale allows the calculation of the registration fee in case of donation, succession, sale, etc.

Simulator: tax structure of usufruct and undivided ownership

The following situations terminate the usufruct:

  • Death of the usufructuary (except in case of donation of his living or transmission by will)
  • Expiration of the agreed period
  • Where the owner of the usufruct and of the non-ownership becomes the same person
  • Non-use for 30 years
  • Waiver of usufruct
  • Total loss of the thing of the good
  • Abuse of use of the usufructuary (damage to property or lack of maintenance)
  • When the child who owns the property reaches 16 years of age (the parents' legal usufruct of the property ends)