Chapter48 - The Nature of Real Property Real property...

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The Nature of Real Property Real property consists of land and the buildings, plants, and trees that it contains. Personal property is movable; real property is immovable. Real property usually means land, but it also includes subsurface and air rights, plant life and vegetation, and fixtures. Ownership Interests in Real Property Ownership of property is an abstract concept that cannot exist independently of the legal system. No one can actually possess, or hold , a piece of land, the air above, the earth below, and all the water contained on it. One can only possess rights in real property. Numerous rights are involved in real property ownership. For example, one who holds the entire bundle of rights owns the property in fee simple . Fee Simple
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In a fee simple absolute, the owner has the greatest aggregation of rights, privileges, and power possible. The owner can give the property away, sell the property for a price, or transfer the property by will to another. The fee simple absolute is limited to a person and his or her heirs and is assigned forever without limitation or condition. The rights that accompany a fee simple absolute include the right to use the land for whatever purpose the owner sees fit, subject to laws that prevent the owner from unreasonably interfering with another person's land and subject to applicable zoning laws. Furthermore, the owner has the right of exclusive possession of the property. A fee simple is potentially infinite in duration and can be disposed of by deed or by will (by selling or giving it to another). When there is no will, the fee simple passes to the owner's legal heirs (by intestacy). Life Estates
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A life estate is an estate that lasts for the life of some specified individual. A conveyance, or transfer of real property, "to A for his life" creates a life estate. In a life estate, the life tenant's ownership rights cease to exist on the life tenant's death. The life tenant has the right to use the land, provided no waste (injury to the land) is committed. In other words, the life tenant cannot injure the land in a manner that would adversely affect its value. The life tenant can use the land to harvest crops or, if mines and oil wells are already on the land, can extract minerals and oil from it, but the life tenant cannot exploit the land by creating new wells or mines. The life tenant has the right to mortgage the life estate and create liens, easements, and leases; but none can extend beyond the life of the tenant. In addition, with few exceptions, the owner of a life estate has an exclusive right to possession during his or her lifetime. Along with these rights, the life tenant also has some duties --to keep the property in repair and to pay property taxes.
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In sum, the owner of the life estate has the same rights as a fee simple owner except that he or she must maintain the value of the property during his or her tenancy, less the decrease in value resulting from the normal use of the property allowed by the life tenancy. LEASEHOLD ESTATES
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This note was uploaded on 03/31/2008 for the course FIN 3055 taught by Professor Cgiles during the Spring '08 term at Virginia Tech.

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Chapter48 - The Nature of Real Property Real property...

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