Article 30.


§ 1-340.  Petition by claimant; execution suspended; issues found.

A defendant against whom a judgment is rendered for land may, at any time before execution, present a petition to the court rendering the judgment, stating that he, or those under whom he claims, while holding the premises under a color of title believed to  be good, have made permanent improvements thereon, and praying that he may be allowed for the improvements, over and above the value of the use and occupation of the land. The court may, if satisfied of the probable truth of the allegation, suspend the execution of the judgment and impanel a jury to assess the damages of the plaintiff and the allowance to the defendant for the improvements. In any such action this inquiry and assessment may be made upon the trial of the cause. (1871-2, c. 147; Code, s. 473; Rev., s. 652; C.S., s. 699.)


§ 1-341.  Annual value of land and waste charged against defendant.

The jury, in assessing the damages, shall estimate against the defendant the clear annual value of the premises during the time he was in possession, exclusive of the use of the improvements thereon made by himself or those under whom he claims, and also the damages for waste or other injury to the premises committed by the defendant. The defendant is not liable for the annual value or for damages for waste or other injury for any longer time than three years before the suit, unless he claims for improvements. (1871-2, c. 147, ss. 2-3; Code, ss. 474, 475; Rev., ss. 653, 654; C.S., s. 700.)


§ 1-342.  Value of improvements estimated.

If the jury is satisfied that the defendant, or those under whom he claims, made on the premises, at a time when there was reason to believe the title good under which he or they were holding the premises, permanent and valuable improvements, they shall estimate in  his favor the value of the improvements made before notice, in writing, of the title under which the plaintiff claims, not exceeding  the amount actually expended in making them and not exceeding the amount to which the value of the premises is actually increased thereby at the time of the assessment. (1871-2, c. 147, s. 4; Code, s. 476; Rev., s. 655; C.S., s. 701.)


§ 1-343.  Improvements to balance rents.

If the sum estimated for the improvements exceeds the damages estimated against the defendant as aforesaid, the jury shall then estimate against him for any time before the said three years the rents and profits accrued against or damages for waste or other injury done by him, or those under whom he claims, so far as is necessary to balance his claim for improvements; but the defendant in such case shall not be liable for the excess, if any, of such rents, profits, or damages beyond the value of improvements. (1871-2, c. 147, s. 5; Code, s. 477; Rev., s. 656; C.S., s. 702.)


§ 1-344.  Verdict, judgment, and lien.

After offsetting the damages assessed for the plaintiff, and the allowances to the defendant for any improvements, the jury shall find a verdict for the balance for the plaintiff or defendant, as the case may be, and judgment shall be entered therefor according to the verdict. Any such balance due to the defendant is a lien upon the land recovered by the plaintiff until it is paid. (1871-2, c. 147, ss. 6, 7; Code, ss. 478, 479; Rev., ss. 657, 658; C.S., s. 703.)


§ 1-345.  Life tenant recovers from remainderman.

If the plaintiff claims only an estate for life in the land recovered and pays any sum allowed to the defendant for improvements, he or his personal representative may recover at the determination of his estate from the remainderman or reversioner, the value of the said improvements as they then exist, not exceeding the amount as paid by him, and he has a lien therefor on the premises as if they had been mortgaged for the payment thereof, and may keep possession of said premises until it is paid. (1871-2, c. 147, s. 8; Code, s. 480; Rev., s. 659; C.S., s. 704.)


§ 1-346.  Value of premises without improvements.

When the defendant claims allowance for improvements, the plaintiff may by entry on the record require that the value of his estate in the premises without the improvements shall also be ascertained. The value of the premises in such cases shall be estimated as it would have been at the time of the inquiry, if no such improvements had been made by the tenant or any person under whom he claims, and shall be ascertained in the manner hereinbefore provided for estimating the value of improvements. (1871-2, c. 147, ss. 10-11; Code, ss. 482, 483; Rev., ss. 661, 662; C.S., s. 705.)


§ 1-347.  Plaintiff's election that defendant take premises.

The plaintiff in such case, if judgment is rendered for him, may, at any time during the same term, or before judgment is rendered on the assessment of the value of the improvements, in person or by his attorney in the cause, enter on the record his election to relinquish his estate in the premises to the defendant at the value as ascertained, and the defendant shall thenceforth hold all the estate that the plaintiff had therein at the commencement of the suit, if he pays therefor the said value with interest in the manner ordered by the court. (1871-2, c. 147, s. 12; Code, s. 484; Rev., s. 663; C.S., s. 706.)


§ 1-348.  Payment made to court; land sold on default.

The payment must be made to the plaintiff, or into court for his use, and the land is bound therefor, and if the defendant fails to make the payment within or at the times limited therefor, the court may order the land sold and the proceeds applied to the payment of said value and interest, and any surplus to be paid to the defendant; but if the net proceeds are insufficient to satisfy the said value and interest, the defendant is not bound for the deficiency. (1871-2, c. 147, s. 13; Code, s. 485; Rev., s. 664; C.S., s. 707.)


§ 1-349.  Procedure where plaintiff is under disability.

If the party by or for whom the land is claimed in the suit is a minor or insane person, such value is deemed to be real estate, and shall be disposed of as the court considers proper for the benefit of the persons interested therein. (1871-2, c. 147, s. 14; Code, s. 486; Rev., s. 665; C.S., s. 708; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 742, s. 2.)


§ 1-350.  Defendant evicted, may recover from plaintiff.

If the defendant, his heirs or assigns, after the premises are so relinquished to him, is evicted by force of a better title than that of the original plaintiff, the person so evicted may recover from the plaintiff or his representatives the amount paid for the premises, as so much money had and received by the plaintiff in his lifetime for the use of such person, with lawful interest thereon from the time of the payment. (1871-2, c. 147, s. 15; Code, s. 487; Rev., s. 666; C.S., s. 709.)


§ 1-351.  Not applicable to suit by mortgagee.

Nothing in this Article applies to any suit brought by a mortgagee or his heirs or assigns against a mortgagor or his heirs or assigns for the recovery of the mortgaged premises. (1871-2, c. 147, s. 9; Code, s. 481; Rev., s. 660; C.S., s. 710.)