Real Property Laws

Vocabulary

adverse possession

issue in property law that concerns the occupation of land to which another person has title with the intention of possessing it as one's own

chattel

object not permanently attached to real property that can be removed without causing damage to the property. Examples include furniture, freestanding appliances, and draperies.

constructive eviction

circumstance in which a landlord fails to meet a required duty or does something against their legal duty, making a property uninhabitable. The tenant must notify the landlord and move out within a reasonable time.

deed

document used to convey legal title and ownership in real property

easement

right to cross or use another's land for a specified purpose

eminent domain

power of a government to take or appropriate land within its borders for any purpose that the government deems necessary or beneficial, as long as there is payment or compensation

eviction

act of permanently expelling someone, especially a tenant, from a property

fee simple

absolute and permanent tenure of an estate in land that provides freedom to dispose of the property in its entirety at will

fee simple absolute

grants the owner the highest degree of ownership rights and power, with the authority to use the land as well as pass it to heirs

fee simple defeasible

ownership of the property that may revert to the original owner or grantor under certain conditions

grantee

person to whom the property is being given or sold in a real property transaction (the transferee or buyer)

grantor

person who conveys or transfers ownership of property

joint tenancy

type of concurrent estate where the co-owners have a right of survivorship. If one dies, that owner's interest passes to the surviving owner.

landlord

one who rents out a building, an apartment, or land to another and who is responsible for certain legal duties

lease

contract in which one party conveys interest in land or property services to another for a certain time period in return for periodic payments and is subject to renewal by one or both parties

life estate

ownership of real property that grants someone the right to possess the property for their life but in which the property still belongs to the owner

real property

land and everything attached to it that cannot be easily moved, such as buildings, crops, and mineral rights; not the same as personal property

riparian rights

system for dividing surface water among those who have land along the path of the water

subterranean rights

landowner's control over the things of value beneath the land's surface, such as oil and minerals

tenancy by the entirety

concurrent estate in real property that two spouses hold, with each owning the undivided whole of the property with a right of survivorship

tenant

person who occupies an apartment or property as agreed upon in a lease or rental agreement with a landlord

tenants in common

concurrent ownership of real property by two or more parties, in which each party's ownership interest can be transferred, divided, or passed to heirs