What is usufruct?

Verified 20 April 2023 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

You have just inherited the usufruct of a property and you wonder what it is? Usufruct is the right to use and receive income from property, but not own it. The right to usufruct is temporary. Here are the rules to know.

The usufruct is the right to enjoy a property without being the owner and on condition that it is preserved, that is to say maintained. It's another person who has the bare-ownership good. In this case, we are talking about dismemberment of property rights.

The property right is divided as follows:

  • Bare ownership for the owner
  • Usufruct for usufructuary

You can be a usufructuary in one of the following situations:

  • If you are a parent, you have usufruct over the property of your children under the age of 16. Your children are the naked owners of the property.
  • If you are a widow or widow, you receive the assets of your deceased spouse in usufruct. The children of the deceased become non-owners of the property.

Please note

The usufruct of a property may be undivided, i.e. belong to all the heirs.

You can also benefit from a usufruct or bare ownership by will, court order or contract (sale or donation of a usufruct right or bare ownership).

Please note

The usufruct may be held by a legal person.

You can be a usufructuary or a naked owner of a immovable property or a movable property.

This means that you can, for example, have the usufruct or naked ownership of a house, a security, a social share, a bank account, claim, furniture.

Right to use the property

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

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

Right to receive income from the property

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

The income shall be received throughout the life of the usufruct.

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

Sale of usufruct

You can sell your usufruct without the approval of the bare owner.

On the other hand, the sale of full ownership of the property can only be done with the agreement of the non-owner.

In a dismembered property, your rights bare owner are limited.

You can sell your bare property. On the other hand, the sale of full ownership of the property can only be done with the agreement of the usufructuary.

You must give your consent to the usufructuary to use the rural, commercial, artisanal or industrial leases.

You must meet the following obligations:

  • Make an inventory of the goods before their use if they are movable property
  • Make an inventory of the property before its use if it is a real estate
  • Ensuring the proper conservation of the property, i.e. maintaining it
  • Commit to the reasonable enjoyment of the property by providing a signed document to the bare owner, unless the latter exempts you
  • Pay property tax and housing tax if it is real estate
  • Do all maintenance repairs. Major repairs are the responsibility of the bare owner unless they result from the lack of maintenance on your part (for a property, major repairs only concern the main work).

Please note

If you are a usufructuary of a property and you rent the property, you are taxable on the income from that rental.

You must meet the following obligations:

  • Let the usufructuary use the property as he wishes. For example, if it is a real estate, you must respect the right of the usufructuary to occupy the property or to lease it.
  • Do the major repairs (the main work) if it is a real estate property.


if the major repairs result from the usufructuary's lack of maintenance or lack of maintenance

The distribution of the value of a property between usufructuary and bare owner is determined by a tax scale.

This scale is based on the age of the usufructuary.

Tableau - Tax scale for usufruct and bare ownership

Age of usufructuary

Value of usufruct

Bare-property value

Under 21 years of age



Under 31 years of age



Under 41 years of age



Under 51 years of age



Under 61 years of age



Under 71 years of age



Under 81 years of age



Under 91 years of age



Over 91 years



In particular, it makes it possible to calculate the amount of registration fees in the event of donation, succession, sale, etc. In the event of sale of the property, the usufructuary and the naked owner each receive the fraction of the price corresponding to the value of their right.

To determine the distribution of the value of the property, you can use the following simulator:

Simulator: tax scale for usufruct and naked property

The usufruct shall be terminated in the following situations:

  • Death of the usufructuary (except in the case of a gift during his lifetime or transmission by will)
  • Expiry of the period for which the usufruct has been agreed (e.g. 30 years where the usufruct is granted to a legal person)
  • Where the usufructuary and the naked owner become the same person
  • Not used for 30 years
  • Waiver of usufruct
  • Total loss of the thing on which the usufruct is established. For example, if the building of which you are the usufructuary is completely destroyed by fire, your usufruct ends.
  • Misuse of the usufructuary (damage to the property or lack of maintenance)
  • Where the child holding the bare-ownership of a property that has reached 16 years (the legal usufruct of the parents on that property then ends)

TO At the end of the usufruct, you must return the property. You must also settle accounts to determine what you owe to the non-owner and vice versa.

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