Title XII. – DEPOSIT
CHAPTER 2 > VOLUNTARY DEPOSIT
SECTION 1. – General Provisions
Art. 1968. A voluntary deposit is that wherein the delivery is made by the will of the depositor. A deposit may also be made by two or more persons each of whom believes himself entitled to the thing deposited with a third person, who shall deliver it in a proper case to the one to whom it belongs. (1763)
Art. 1969. A contract of deposit may be entered into orally or in writing. (n)
Art. 1970. If a person having capacity to contract accepts a deposit made by one who is incapacitated, the former shall be subject to all the obligations of a depositary, and may be compelled to return the thing by the guardian, or administrator, of the person who made the deposit, or by the latter himself if he should acquire capacity. (1764)
Art. 1971. If the deposit has been made by a capacitated person with another who is not, the depositor shall only have an action to recover the thing deposited while it is still in the possession of the depositary, or to compel the latter to pay him the amount by which he may have enriched or benefited himself with the thing or its price. However, if a third person who acquired the thing acted in bad faith, the depositor may bring an action against him for its recovery. (1765a)
SECTION 2. – Obligations of the Depositary
Art. 1972. The depositary is obliged to keep the thing safely and to return it, when required, to the depositor, or to his heirs and successors, or to the person who may have been designated in the contract. His responsibility, with regard to the safekeeping and the loss of the thing, shall be governed by the provisions of Title I of this Book.
If the deposit is gratuitous, this fact shall be taken into account in determining the degree of care that the depositary must observe. (1766a)
Art. 1973. Unless there is a stipulation to the contrary, the depositary cannot deposit the thing with a third person. If deposit with a third person is allowed, the depositary is liable for the loss if he deposited the thing with a person who is manifestly careless or unfit. The depositary is responsible for the negligence of his employees. (n)
Art. 1974. The depositary may change the way of the deposit if under the circumstances he may reasonably presume that the depositor would consent to the change if he knew of the facts of the situation. However, before the depositary may make such change, he shall notify the depositor thereof and wait for his decision, unless delay would cause danger. (n)
Art. 1975. The depositary holding certificates, bonds, securities or instruments which earn interest shall be bound to collect the latter when it becomes due, and to take such steps as may be necessary in order that the securities may preserve their value and the rights corresponding to them according to law.
The above provision shall not apply to contracts for the rent of safety deposit boxes. (n)
Art. 1976. Unless there is a stipulation to the contrary, the depositary may commingle grain or other articles of the same kind and quality, in which case the various depositors shall own or have a proportionate interest in the mass. (n)
Art. 1977. The depositary cannot make use of the thing deposited without the express permission of the depositor.
Otherwise, he shall be liable for damages.
However, when the preservation of the thing deposited requires its use, it must be used but only for that purpose. (1767a)
Art. 1978. When the depositary has permission to use the thing deposited, the contract loses the concept of a deposit and becomes a loan or commodatum, except where safekeeping is still the principal purpose of the contract.
The permission shall not be presumed, and its existence must be proved. (1768a)
Art. 1979. The depositary is liable for the loss of the thing through a fortuitous event:
(1) If it is so stipulated;
(2) If he uses the thing without the depositor’s permission;
(3) If he delays its return;
(4) If he allows others to use it, even though he himself may have been authorized to use the same. (n)
Art. 1980. Fixed, savings, and current deposits of money in banks and similar institutions shall be governed by the provisions concerning simple loan. (n)
Art. 1981. When the thing deposited is delivered closed and sealed, the depositary must return it in the same condition, and he shall be liable for damages should the seal or lock be broken through his fault.
Fault on the part of the depositary is presumed, unless there is proof to the contrary.
As regards the value of the thing deposited, the statement of the depositor shall be accepted, when the forcible opening is imputable to the depositary, should there be no proof to the contrary. However, the courts may pass upon the credibility of the depositor with respect to the value claimed by him.
When the seal or lock is broken, with or without the depositary’s fault, he shall keep the secret of the deposit. (1769a)
Art. 1982. When it becomes necessary to open a locked box or receptacle, the depositary is presumed authorized to do so, if the key has been delivered to him; or when the instructions of the depositor as regards the deposit cannot be executed without opening the box or receptacle. (n)
Art. 1983. The thing deposited shall be returned with all its products, accessories and accessions.
Should the deposit consist of money, the provisions relative to agents in article 1896 shall be applied to the depositary. (1770)
Art. 1984. The depositary cannot demand that the depositor prove his ownership of the thing deposited.
Nevertheless, should he discover that the thing has been stolen and who its true owner is, he must advise the latter of the deposit.
If the owner, in spite of such information, does not claim it within the period of one month, the depositary shall be relieved of all responsibility by returning the thing deposited to the depositor.
If the depositary has reasonable grounds to believe that the thing has not been lawfully acquired by the depositor, the former may return the same. (1771a)
Art. 1985. When there are two or more depositors, if they are not solidary, and the thing admits of division, each one cannot demand more than his share.
When there is solidarity or the thing does not admit of division, the provisions of Articles 1212 and 1214 shall govern. However, if there is a stipulation that the thing should be returned to one of the depositors, the depositary shall return it only to the person designated. (1772a)
Art. 1986. If the depositor should lose his capacity to contract after having made the deposit, the thing cannot be returned except to the persons who may have the administration of his property and rights. (1773)
Art. 1987. If at the time the deposit was made a place was designated for the return of the thing, the depositary must take the thing deposited to such place; but the expenses for transportation shall be borne by the depositor.
If no place has been designated for the return, it shall be made where the thing deposited may be, even if it should not be the same place where the deposit was made, provided that there was no malice on the part of the depositary. (1774)
Art. 1988. The thing deposited must be returned to the depositor upon demand, even though a specified period or time for such return may have been fixed.
This provision shall not apply when the thing is judicially attached while in the depositary’s possession, or should he have been notified of the opposition of a third person to the return or the removal of the thing deposited. In these cases, the depositary must immediately inform the depositor of the attachment or opposition. (1775)
Art. 1989. Unless the deposit is for a valuable consideration, the depositary who may have justifiable reasons for not keeping the thing deposited may, even before the time designated, return it to the depositor; and if the latter should refuse to receive it, the depositary may secure its consignation from the court. (1776a)
Art. 1990. If the depositary by force majeure or government order loses the thing and receives money or another thing in its place, he shall deliver the sum or other thing to the depositor. (1777a)
Art. 1991. The depositor’s heir who in good faith may have sold the thing which he did not know was deposited, shall only be bound to return the price he may have received or to assign his right of action against the buyer in case the price has not been paid him. (1778)
SECTION 3. – Obligations of the Depositor
Art. 1992. If the deposit is gratuitous, the depositor is obliged to reimburse the depositary for the expenses he may have incurred for the preservation of the thing deposited. (1779a)
Art. 1993. The depositor shall reimburse the depositary for any loss arising from the character of the thing deposited, unless at the time of the constitution of the deposit the former was not aware of, or was not expected to know the dangerous character of the thing, or unless he notified the depositary of the same, or the latter was aware of it without advice from the depositor. (n)
Art. 1994. The depositary may retain the thing in pledge until the full payment of what may be due him by reason of the deposit. (1780)
Art. 1995. A deposit its extinguished:
(1) Upon the loss or destruction of the thing deposited;
(2) In case of a gratuitous deposit, upon the death of either the depositor or the depositary. (n)