Property concepts + terms


the rights in a valued resource such as land, chattel or an intangible. Any external thing over which the rights of possession, use and enjoyment are exercised

Personal property

any movable or intangible thing that is subject to ownership and not classified as real property

Real property

land and anything growing on, attached to, or erected on it, excluding anything that may be severed without injury to the land. It can be corporeal (soil and buildings) or incorporeal (easements); also known as real estate/realty

Intellectual property

intangible rights protecting commercially valuable products of the human intellect; can be concrete or abstract in form.

Types of IP

Trademark, Copyright, and Patent


having or holding property in one's power; exercise of dominion over property; the right under which one may exercise control over something to the exclusion of all others; continuing exercise of a claim to the exclusive use of a material object

Actual possession

physical occupancy or control over property

Adverse possession


Joint possession

shared by two or more persons

Lawful possession

based on good-faith belief in and claim of ownership; granted by the property owner to the possessor

Quasi-possession (or incorporeal)

possession over something other than a material object, such as easement over neighbors land, access of light, news (INS v AP)

Rule of capture (animal)

principle that wild animals belong to the person who captures them, regardless of whether they were originally on another person's land

rule of capture (oil and gas)

there is no liability for drainage of oil and gas from under the lands of another so long as there has been no trespass and all relevant statutes and regulations have been observed.

rule of capture (water)

the surface landowner can extract and appropriate all the groundwater beneath the land by drilling or pumping, even if doing so drains away groundwaters to the point of drying up springs and wells from which other landowners benefit.

Relativity of title

title to property that may prevail over some people, but it is not absolute and will not prevail against another who has a superior claim

Law of finders


Lost property

unintentionally misplaced by its original owner; lost property becomes the finders property once any statutory procedures for reclamations by the original owner are satisfied

o Abandoned property

property that the original owner no longer wants; the finder of abandoned property takes title against all others, including the original owner

� Adverse possession

allows a non-owner to acquire full ownership rights in real property (transforms trespassers into owners); blacks law - the enjoyment of real property with a claim of right when that enjoyment: is opposed to another person's claim, is continuous, exclusiv

Elements of adverse possession

Actual possession, open and notorious, exclusive, continuous, adverse and hostile

adverse/hostile element factors

objective test, claim of right (subjective), intentional dispossession( subjective), good faith (subjective)


the time period aggregated that the adverse possesors claimed the property in order it can add up to the time required under the statute


blacks law - interest in land owned by another person, consisting in the right to use or control the land, or an area above or beow it, for a specific limited purpose, such as to cross it for access to a public road.

Prescriptive easement

A claim of right to use the land and not the right to own the land like adverse possession

Riprian doctrine

Owners that own the land bordering the body of water have rights that flows past their land; When there are disputes between water use of the water use of two riprarian owners, the conflict is typically settled by allocating rights through a reasonablenes

3 factors of riprarian doctrine

The relative cost & benefits of various uses; Harms to competing claimants to the water, and Other factors


is the kind/amount of interest you hold in property; blacks law - the amount, degree, nature and quality of a person's interest in land or other property, especially a real estate interest that may become possessory, the ownership being measured in terms


the extent of your rights in property; Blacks law - a legal share in something; all or part of a legal or equitable claim to or right in property; any aggregation of rights, privileges, powers and immunities; distributively, it refers to any one right, pr

Present interest

a property interest in which the privilege of the possession or enjoyment is present and not merely in the future; an interest entitling the holder to immediate possession; a trust interest in which the beneficiary has the immediate beneficial enjoyment o

Future interest

a right to take possession in the future under specific circumstances; Blacks law - a property interest in which the privilege of possession or of other enjoyment is future and not present; can exist in either the grantor (as with a reversion) or the gran

Life estate

only lasts for the life of a particular person (not necessarily the possessor)

Defeasible fees

present interests that terminate at the occurrence of a specific event other than the death of the current owner.

Fee simple

a present estate that could potentially last forever, meaning that the holder has a right to determine who owns in the future; Blacks law - interest in land that being the broadest property interest allowed by law endures the current holder dies without h

Fee simple absolute

a fee simple without an associated future interest, leaving the grantor free to determine who owns it in the future and how; blacks law - an estate of indefinite or potentially infinite duration

Defeasible fees

an estate that ends either because there are no more heirs of the person to whom it is granted or because a special limitation, condition subsequent or executory limitation takes effect before the line of heirs runs out.

Fee simple determinable

automatically transfers back to the grantor; blacks law - an estate that will automatically end and revert to the grantor if some specified event occurs.

o Fee simple subject to a condition subsequent

transfers upon the grantors assertion of property rights; blacks law - an estate subject to the grantors power to end the estate if some specified event happens; future interest retained by the grantor is called a power of termination

� Right of reentry

the right to take back property when condition is violate

o Fee simple subject to executory limitation

like a fee simple determinable or subject to condition subsequent BUT the future interest goes to a transfer to a third party; blacks law - a fee simple defeasible that is subject to divestment in favor of someone other than the grantor if a specified eve

life estate

o Blacks law- An estate held only for the duration of a specified person's life, usu. the possessor's; Most life estates � created, for example, by a grant "to Jane for life" � are beneficial interests under trusts, the corpus often being personal propert

o Reversion

interest goes back to the grantor when the life tenant dies

o Remainder

interest goes to a third party when the life tenant dies; Two kinds (1) contingent and (2) vested

o Life estate for the life of another

Also known as life estate pour autre vie; in the event the life estate owner sells the property to another, that buyer will get exactly what the seller had, a life estate for life of A. when A dies, the property will shift to whoever the original grantor

� Doctrine of waste

life estate can be terminated if lack of preservation and protection injure the future interest

o Affirmative waste

Cannot actively do something that decreases the value of the property (i.e. destruction of buildings)

o Permissive waste

Permitting the property to lose value through inaction (i.e. not doing maintenance or paying charges that permit the remainderman to keep their estate intact (e.g. interest or TAXES) (McIntyre v. Scarbrough)

contingent remainder

Two scenarios: (1) remainder will be effectuated upon the happening of an event that is not certain to occur OR (2) remainder will go to a person who cannot be ascertained at the time the interest is created.

vested remainder


Defeasible fees

present interests that terminate at the occurrence of a specific event other than the death of the current owner.

Absolutely vested remainders


Vested remainders subject to open


Vested remainders subject to divestment


Rule of convenience

some jurisdictions do this, absent evidence of the grantors intent otherwise, a court will close the class when A dies so that B's living children can take possession and not need to share with any later born children.

Rule against perpetuities

Invalidates a future interest that may vest too far in the future (limits the timeframe in which the identity of who will own the property in the future may become certain). Future interests are invalid unless they are certain to vest or fail to vest with

� Perpetuities period

life in being + 21 years; it begins at the time of the creation of the interest and ends 21 years after the death of every person alive at the creation of the interest

Life in being

a person alive or in utero at the creation of the interest who may affect vesting

Option to Purchase

right to buy property for a stated price at some point in the future.

o Preemptive Rights

also known as rights of first refusal; allow the holder to purchase property whenever the current owner decides to sell it.

justifications for adverse possesion

economic justification (prevents valuable resources from being left idle) and land piracy justification (should have a good faith standard)


blacks law - A tenant's possessory estate in land or premises, the four types being the tenancy for years, the periodic tenancy, the tenancy at will, and the tenancy at sufferance. � Although a leasehold has some of the characteristics of real property, i


blacks law - he possession or occupancy of land under a lease; a leasehold interest in real estate. 2. The period of such possession or occupancy; 3 the possession of real or personal property by right or title especially under a conveying instrument such

Term of years

tenancy duration is known in years, weeks, days from the moment of its creation

Periodic tenancy

A tenancy that automatically continues for successive periods � usually month to month or year to year � unless terminated at the end of a period by notice. � A typical example is a month-to-month apartment lease. This type of tenancy originated through c

Tenancy at will

A tenancy in which the tenant holds possession with the landlord's consent but without fixed terms (as for duration or rent); specif., a tenancy that is terminable at the will of either the transferor or the transferee and that has no designated period of

Tenancy at sufferance (or a holdover tenant)

A tenancy arising when a person who has been in lawful possession of property wrongfully remains as a holdover after his or her interest has expired. � A tenancy at sufferance takes the form of either a tenancy at will or a periodic tenancy.

� URLTA section 2.101

Helps protect landlords from the possibility that tenants fail to pay rent or damage the property


Unpriviliged intentional intrusion on property possessed by another. Defines and protects owners right to exclude.

Trespass Elements

intent - deft. voluntarily acted and intended to violate the owners legal rights

trespass privileges

entry is done with: consent of the owner, justified to prevent more serious harm, encouraged by public policy