The Supreme Court rendered the 106-Tai-Shang-1834 Civil Decision of October 5, 2017 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that if the court orders the sale of a jointly owned land which the joint owners have sought to divide to the extent that the buildings in the land have to be demolished, such division method would not be appropriate.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, the joint owners of the land at issue filed a complaint to seek its division. There were four buildings in the land where part of the joint owners agreed to the division but the division methods they proposed differed and one of the joint owners disagreed with the division. The original decision held that since the joint owners had failed to reach an agreement on the method of division, the land at issue should be divided by sale with the proceeds distributed based on the due share of the respective party. Some joint owners appealed out of dissatisfaction with the original decision.
According to this Decision, if the division method of a jointly owned object cannot be agreed, or if an existing agreement has expired and a joint owner refuses to perform the agreement, the court may require the following distribution at the request of any joint owner: (1) distribution of the original object to all joint owners, provided that if it is obviously difficult to distribute the original object to all the joint owners, the original object may be distributed to part of the joint owners; and (2) if it is obviously difficult to distribute the original object, the jointly owned object may be sold with proceeds distributed to all the joint owners; or a portion of the original object is distributed to all the joint owners while the remainder is sold with proceeds distributed to all the joint owners. When the original object is distributed “as is,” if any joint owner does not receive the distribution or cannot receive the distribution based on his/her due share, monetary compensation may be provided. It was further pointed out in this Decision that the question as to whether it was sufficient to conclude that monetary compensation should be provided to a joint owner who could not receive the distribution of the land at issue “as is” pursuant to the above provisions and/or a joint owner can maintain the joint ownership of a portion of the jointly owned object was still not satisfactorily answered. Therefore, the original decision, which ordered the sale of the land at issue and made the demolition of the four buildings at issue as inhabited by some joint owners inevitable. This was certainly not an appropriate division method.
Based on the foregoing reasons, it was found in the Decision that since the original decision was unlawful, it was reversed and remanded.