Title 44, Chapter 11, Section 9
(a) In all actions for the recovery of land, the defendant who has a
bona fide possession of the land under adverse claim of title may
set off the value of all permanent improvements placed on the land
in good faith by himself or other bona fide claimants under whom he
claims. If the legal title to the land is found to be in the
plaintiff and if the value of such improvements at the time of the
trial exceeds the mesne profits, the jury may render a verdict in
favor of the plaintiff for the land and in favor of the defendant
for the amount of the excess of the value of the improvements over
the mesne profits.
(b) The verdict mentioned in subsection (a) of this Code section
shall find the value of the land itself at the time of the trial.
Such verdict shall give the plaintiff the right:
(1) To have and recover the premises subject to the payment to the
defendant of the excess of the value of the improvements over the
mesne profits, such payment to be made by the plaintiff to the
defendant within such time as may be fixed by the court in the
(2) To receive from the defendant the value of the land and the
mesne profits found by the jury to be due to the plaintiff, such
payment to be made by the defendant to the plaintiff within such
time as the court may direct by its decree.
In the event that the plaintiff fails to make the payment pursuant
to paragraph (1) of this subsection within the time allowed in the
decree, the defendant shall have the right to pay to the plaintiff
the value of the land and the mesne profits in accordance with
paragraph (2) of this subsection. In all cases in which a setoff of
improvements is sought in excess of mesne profits, the jury shall
have the right to fix the time from which mesne profits shall be
(c) Upon the defendant making the payment to the plaintiff with all
court costs of the proceedings, the defendant shall then acquire and
have all the right and title the plaintiff had and held in and to
the property in dispute. The court may by its decree require the
plaintiff to make such titles to the lands in dispute as may be
necessary in the premises, or to have the premises sold by a
commissioner appointed by the court and the proceeds of such sale
divided between the plaintiff and the defendant in the ratio or
proportion that the value of the land itself bears to the amount of
the excess of value of improvements over the mesne profits, or to
recover the value of the land itself together with the amount of any
excess of the value of the mesne profits over and above the value of
the improvements. In case the plaintiff elects to recover the value
of the land itself together with the amount of the excess of value
of mesne profits over the value of the improvements, any fi. fa.
issued upon the verdict and judgment entered therein shall be levied
upon the lands and improvements; and the same shall be sold by the
sheriff after due advertisement under the law governing sheriffs'
(d) In those cases contemplated by this Code section, the court
shall mold a decree to carry out and effectuate fully the provisions
of the verdict.
(e) The purchaser of the premises, whether the same are sold by a
commissioner appointed by the court or by the sheriff under a fi.
fa. as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, shall
acquire all the right, title, and interest in the land and the
improvements owned and possessed by the plaintiff or the defendant.