Book 5 Real property rights
Title 5.2 Ownership of movable things
Article 5:4 Occupation
A person who takes possession [in the meaning of Article 3:107] of a movable
thing that belongs to no one, obtains the right of ownership of it.
Article 5:5 Finding
- 1. A person who
finds an unattended movable object and takes it under control must:
a. with convenient speed report his finding
in accordance with paragraph 2, first sentence, to the local authorities
[police], unless he has given notice of his finding instantly to the person
who he regards as the owner or as the one who is entitled to receive the
b. in addition, when he has found the lost
object in a house, a building or a means of transport, with convenient
speed report his finding in accordance with paragraph 2, second sentence,
to the person who uses or takes care of the place where the object is
found, unless he was not obliged to report his finding to the local authorities
[police] by virtue of what is stipulated at the end of point (a);
c. on demand of the Municipality hand the object
over to the Municipality in order to enable that Municipality to keep
it in safe custody.
- 2. The report
meant in paragraph 1 under point (a) can be made in any Municipality to
a civil servant appointed to this end by and for that Municipality. The
report meant in paragraph 1 under point (b) must be reported to the person
who lives in the house or building or who uses the means of transport
as referred to in that paragraph or to the person who holds supervision
over that house, building or means of transport on behalf of the one who
lives there or uses it.
- 3. The finder
is at all times entitled to give the found object in safe custody to the
Municipality. If he does not do so, he is compelled to maintain the object
himself and to keep it in safety.
- 4. The finder
may demand that the civil servant, mentioned in paragraph 2, first sentence,
supplies a proof of evidence to him indicating that he has reported his
finding or given the found object in safe custody to the Municipality.
Article 5:6 Acquisition of the right of ownership
of a found object
- 1. The finder who has met the legal requirements of Article 5:5, paragraph
1, acquires the ownership of the found object one year after he has reported
it in the way as referred to in Article 5:5, paragraph 1 under point (a),
provided that he or the Municipality still have control over the object
at that moment.
- 2. If the found object is given in safe custody
to the Municipality for another reason than that the Municipality has
demanded this, and it is qualified as a non-valuable object under an Order
in Council as meant in Article 5:12 under point (b), then paragraph 1
is not applicable; in that event the mayor is entitled to sell the object
for account of the Municipality or to hand it over to a third party without
financial consideration (gratuitously) or to destroy it, provided that
three months have passed since the object was given in safe custody to
- 3. One year after the found object was given in safe custody to the
Municipality, the mayor is entitled to sell it for account of the Municipality
or to hand it over to a third party without financial consideration (gratuitously)
or to destroy it, provided that neither paragraph 1 nor paragraph 2 is
- 4. The previous paragraphs do not apply when the owner of the found
object or another person who is entitled to receive it has reported himself
to the person or institution who keeps the object in safe custody, provided
that this report has been made before the applicable period has expired
or, in the situations meant in paragraph 2 and 3, after this period has
expired, yet at a moment on which the Municipality reasonably is still
able to hand it over to him.
Article 5:7 Transfer of the rights that the finder
has obtained by law
By immediately handing over the found object to the occupant of the house
or to the user, operator or supervisor of the space where the object was
found, the finder can transfer his rights, derived in that capacity from
law, together with all attached legal duties and obligations, to that
occupant, user or operator, on the understanding that there is no right
to a reward.
Article 5:8 Sale or destruction of the found object
- 1. If a found object that is given in safe custody to the Municipality
is highly susceptible to destruction or decay or if its preservation can
no longer be expected of the Municipality because of the disproportional
high costs or of other disadvantages, then the mayor is entitled to sell
- 2. If the object does not lend itself to
be sold, then the mayor is entitled to transfer its ownership without
financial consideration (gratuitously) to a third party, or to destroy
- 3. If the found object is an animal that has been kept in safe custody
by the Municipality for at least two weeks, then the mayor is entitled
to transfer its ownership to a third party, if possible against payment
of a purchase price and otherwise without financial consideration (gratuitously).
If even that is impossible, then the mayor may kill the animal. It is
not necessary to observe the period of two weeks if it is only possible
to keep the animal with disproportionately high costs during that period
or if the animal has to be killed for medical reasons.
- 4. The proceeds of the sale will replace (take the place of) the found
Article 5:9 Money that has been found
Where the found object that is given in safe custody to the Municipality
concerns money, the Municipality only has to pay out the same amount to
the person who claims it rightfully, which duty ends as soon as the requirements
are met that, in the event of another found object than money, would allow
the mayor to sell that object for account of the Municipality.
Article 5:10 Costs of safe custody and finder's reward
- 1. The person who demands that the Municipality
or the finder who has met the requirements imposed upon him by Article
5:5, paragraph 1, returns the found object to him, must pay the costs
of maintenance and safe keeping of the object as well as the costs of
locating the rightful owner or someone who is entitled to receive the
object in his place. The Municipality or finder may withhold the handing
over of the object until these costs are paid. If the person who claims
the return of the found object does not pay the costs within one month
after he has received a specification of the involved expenditures, he
is regarded to have abandoned (waived) his right to the found object.
- 2. The finder who has met all necessary legal requirements imposed upon
him, is entitled, in view of the circumstances, to a reasonable finder's
Article 5:11 The finder does not collect the found
object in time after he has obtained ownership
When a finder, who by virtue of Article 5:6, paragraph 1, has become the
owner of the found object that is given in safe custody to the Municipality,
has not presented himself to the Municipality to collect the object within
one month after he has acquired the ownership of it, the mayor is entitled
either to sell the object for account of the Municipality or to transfer
it without financial consideration (gratuitously) to a third party or,
otherwise, to destroy it.
Article 5:12 Additional rules by Order in Council
By or pursuant to Order in Council it is possible:
a. to issue further rules concerning the execution
(exercise) of the rights which the Municipality has derived from Article
5:5 up to and including 5:11;
b. to point out groups of non-valuable objects
to which Article 5:6, paragraph 2, shall apply;
c. to issue further rules concerning the appointment
of certain categories of persons and institutions that are excluded, fully
or partly, whether or not under additional conditions, from the duty referred
to in Article 5:5, paragraph 1 under point (a), to report the finding
or that are equated with a Municipality for the purpose of settling the
factual consequences of the finding;
d. to equate certain types of objects which
are left behind or forgotten with found objects as meant in the previous
Articles, if this happens for the purpose of settling the factual consequences
of a finding by persons or institutions as meant under point (c).
Article 5:13 Treasures
- 1. A found treasure belongs for equal parts to the one who has discovered
it and the owner of the movable or immovable property in which it was
- 2. A treasure is a thing of value which has been hidden for such a long
time that, as a result, it is no longer possible to trace its owner.
- 3. The person who has discovered the treasure must report his finding
in accordance with Article 5:5, paragraph 1 under point (a). If the finding
is not reported or if it is uncertain to whom the treasure belongs, the
Municipality may demand, in conformity with Article 5:5, paragraph 1 under
point (c), that the treasure must be given in safe custody to the Municipality
until it is has been established who is the proprietor of the object.
Article 5:14 Accession to property
- 1. If a movable thing becomes a component of another movable thing,
which has to be regarded as the principal thing, then the ownership of
the movable thing passes over to the owner of the principal thing.
- 2. If none of the movable things can be pointed out as the principle
thing and they belong to different owners, then these owners will become
co-owners of the new thing, each of them for a share proportionally to
the value of the movable thing he owned before .
- 3. The principal thing is the thing of which the value exceeds the value
of the other thing considerably or the thing that is regarded by generally
accepted views (common opinion) as the principal thing.
Article 5:15 Intermixture (intermingling) of movable
When movable things which belong to different owners are intermixed (intermingled)
in such a way that they have become one single thing, the previous Article
shall apply accordingly.
Article 5:16 Creation of a new thing
- 1. If someone creates a new thing out of one or more different movable
things, then this new formed thing is owned by the owner of the original
things. Where these things belonged to different owners, the previous
two Articles shall apply accordingly.
- 2. If someone creates a new thing for himself
or if he lets another person make a new thing for him, and the new thing
is created entirely or partially from one or more movable things that
did not belong to him, then he becomes the owner of the new formed thing,
unless this is not justified because of the modest costs involved in the
creation of the new thing.
- 3. The previous paragraphs apply accordingly to the processing of different
substances into a newly created substance and to the cultivation of plants
Article 5:17 Perception of fruits (benefits)
The person who, due to a right of enjoyment to a thing, is entitled to
the fruits (benefits) that this thing produces, acquires the ownership
of these fruits (benefits) as soon as they are separated from that thing
Article 5:18 Loss of ownership
The ownership of a movable thing is lost when the owner abandons his possession
[in the meaning of Article 3:107] of the thing with the intention to dispose
himself of the ownership thereof.
Article 5:19 Loss of animals
- 1. The owner of a domesticated animal loses
the ownership thereof, when the animal has escaped from his control and
has run wild.
- 2. The owner of another than a domesticated
animal loses the ownership thereof, when the animal obtains its freedom
and the owner does not try to catch it immediately or has stopped his
attempts to catch it.