Recovery of Possession - Is Your Property with Someone Else?

The owner of an object typically has the right to decide how to use their own belongings and where or how to store them. Ownership includes the right for a person to retain the belongings they own and use them in the manner they see fit. In legal terms, this is referred to as the right of possession. A person can also obtain the right of possession to items they do not own, for example, through a lease agreement.

Sometimes it can happen that the owner of an item loses control over the item they own. In divorce situations, it is not uncommon for a vehicle owned by one spouse to remain in the possession of the other spouse. Official fees and possible monthly installments for auto financing are still demanded from the registered owner of the vehicle, even if it is being used by the ex-spouse or parked in their yard. In such cases, when the ex-spouse acts out of spite, the registered owner of the vehicle has limited options to regain the vehicle for their own use. Typically, disputes of this nature are resolved in divorce situations through property division (partition). However, completing property division can take several months, or even years.

The possession of a movable object can be recovered by the owner through legal means. A lawsuit for recovery of possession is initiated in the district court of the respondent, i.e., the person currently in possession of the item. In a lawsuit for recovery of possession, the court examines which party has a better right to possess the item. Usually, the right of possession to the item lies with its owner. However, when the marriage is still valid, a spouse can invoke certain restrictions on alienation. If one spouse needs a car to commute to work, for instance, the spouse owning the car cannot sell it without the other spouse’s consent while the marriage is still valid.

In connection with a lawsuit for recovery of possession, one can also apply for an urgent interim measure. This may be justified, for example, if there are reasons to believe that the possessor of the item may destroy it, conceal it, or otherwise act in a way that diminishes its value. Typically, an interim measure is reinforced with an order for conditional fine. If it is later established that the possessor has acted in violation of the interim measure, the conditional fine can be imposed. Ultimately, the item is returned through a court decision enforced by compulsory enforcement, carried out by the enforcement authority. The party involved must apply for the enforcement of the judgment themselves, by submitting an enforcement application to the enforcement authority. Without such an application, the court’s judgment is not enforced.

  • Dissolution of Joint Ownership of Movable Property
  • In the course of estate distribution or otherwise, an individual may come into possession of a share of movable property. If a co-owner no longer wishes to continue joint ownership, they have the right to request the division of their share from the jointly owned movable property. However, dividing movable property is often not feasible. In such cases, a co-owner has the right to apply for the dissolution of joint ownership and the sale of the movable property by means of a trustee, by submitting an application to the district court of their place of residence. A single co-owner can file the application, and the costs are shared among all co-owners according to their respective ownership shares. The applicant pays the application fee. Typically, an attorney is sought for this task, and upon verifying conflicts of interest, the attorney grants their consent to take on the task.

Car Purchase Dispute

In consumer matters, a car is considered to have a defect when it cannot be deemed to correspond to what was agreed upon about the car before the purchase and how the seller has marketed it to the consumer. The determining moment for the defect is the time of delivery of the object of sale, but the defect is assumed to have been in the car already at the time of delivery of the goods if the defect becomes apparent within 12 months from this point in time.

If the defect falls within the seller’s responsibility, the buyer has the right to demand that the seller rectify the defect. If the seller does not do so, the buyer has the right to either a price reduction or rescission of the contract. We have handled several dispute cases related to car purchases and are happy to assist you when encountering problems related to the purchase. If you have taken out comprehensive insurance for your car, it usually covers a significant portion of the costs for resolving the dispute.

Horse Purchase Disputes

In a horse trade, the horse is considered a movable object. Horses are living beings, which brings about specific characteristics when considering the applicability of legislation to horse trading. Defects in horses are generally quality-related issues, such as illnesses or physical faults. Horse people are aware that a perfect and flawless horse doesn’t exist, and problems arise when a horse is sold to an inexperienced hobbyist.

From the seller’s perspective, it’s important to negotiate and minimize the possibility of defects as much as possible. From the buyer’s perspective, a successful transaction involves identifying the horse’s flaws and undesirable traits in advance with the assistance of experts. Once these are acknowledged, the buyer decides whether they are willing to purchase the horse with its shortcomings as they are.

A common aspect of these disputes is that both direct and indirect costs compared to the paid purchase price often become high. It might be that the only written document is a change of ownership notification, and unfortunately, drafting a written sales agreement is not always a given. It’s crucial to conduct a thorough pre-purchase examination of the horse and carefully draft the sales agreement. Often, private individuals’ legal expense insurances cover horse trade disputes, so financial support through insurance is often available to resolve the matter. Annia’s owner and attorney Maria Puputti herself owns a horse, thus possessing practical understanding of these disputes, the horse itself, and its characteristics. Personnel of Annia have handled many horse trade disputes.

Boat Purchase Dispute

Legally, a boat is classified as a movable object, and its trade is regulated either by consumer protection law or the Sales of Goods Act. The Sales of Goods Act applies when you, as a private individual, purchase a boat from another private individual. On the other hand, consumer protection law applies to situations where you deal with someone who sells boats as their business, often in a store. The legal regulations in both cases are similar, but significantly more protection is afforded to consumers. The difference becomes apparent when defects in the purchased item are discovered after ownership has changed hands.

The seller has an obligation to disclose any potential defects that they are aware of during the transaction. It’s advisable not to neglect this obligation, as misleading the buyer exposes the seller to potential disputes, the costs of which can easily become much higher than any perceived benefit from misleading the buyer. To ensure the legal protection of both parties in the transaction, it is highly recommended to document any defects in the boat that the buyer has been informed about in the sales agreement. This approach prevents later disputes regarding these defects.

Sometimes, an unforeseen defect in a boat may only become apparent after the sale has been completed. In such cases, it’s important for the buyer to notify the seller as soon as they become aware of the issue. Generally, the seller has the right to rectify the defect in the boat. Alternatively, options such as a price reduction or rescinding the sale may be considered, although the threshold for the latter option is set high.

Also, remember that sailboats or motorboats with a hull length of at least 5.5 meters, as well as watercraft with a manufacturer-stated motor power of at least 15 kilowatts (over 20 horsepower), need to be registered in the traffic registry maintained by the authorities. Any changes to the registry information should be reported within 30 days.

Home and voluntary boat insurance often include legal protection coverage. This usually covers a significant portion of potential legal fees arising from disputes. Our experts have substantial experience in consumer disputes and are more than willing to assist you throughout all stages of the sale and any potential dispute, aiming to achieve the best possible outcome from your perspective.