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Property law is the body of law that dictates the rules and standards involving what people own. It is the area of law that states who are eligible to own land and other personal items. Property law also says how each individual can use their properties and with what conditions. Property law is an important part of estate law, family law and municipal law.
There are two types of property, which are real property and personal property:
Real property refers to land and anything that is attached to that land. This may include houses, commercial buildings, and others.
Personal property refers to items that you possess that can be moved. For example, your car, laptop, and anything else that is not land or a building is considered as personal property.
Property law covers many different topics and issues, including the following:
Property law dictates how property owners can legally own their property. It also states what needs to be done in order to lawfully transfer ownership through sale or gifting. Property law will tell a property owner how to convert a sole ownership into a joint tenancy with others.
A deed is a legal document that serves as proof of ownership for real properties. Having one for a piece of land or a building is crucial for the owner’s interest. For instance, a warranty deed guarantees the purchaser free and clear ownership of the property.
The government can restrict what an individual can or cannot do with their property. The laws that set these restrictions are called the zoning laws. An example of zoning law is when a government can restrict the use of a property to residential, commercial or industrial purposes. Before purchasing a property, an individual should learn about the zoning restrictions and follow them.
Zoning laws can be as generic as simply restricting a property for residential use, or they can be specific like requiring houses to have a certain amount of space from the road.
Private associations have the authority to restrict property use. Property law also creates, implements, and challenges private homeowner association laws. Some states have rules that control how associations establish themselves as an authority and what they must do to develop enforceable law.
There are times when the government needs to take private property for public use. The authority and the right of the government to take real property from a private owner is referred to as “eminent domain”. The government must compensate the person fairly for the property.
Eminent domain is subjected to constraints due to the subject of legal challenges. Property attorneys work on behalf of their clients, both for government agencies and individual landowners, as it relates to eminent domain.
There are circumstances in which the law gives people the right to claim ownership of property without paying for it. Claiming a property by right is referred to as adverse possession. An individual must occupy the property for a certain number of years with a claim of ownership for a decade or more.