Arizona Law School 1L Study Guide for Property

Arizona Law School 1L Study Guide for Property

I. Introduction to Property Law

  • Definition and Purpose of Property: The legal relationship between persons and things, and between persons with respect to things.
  • Types of Property: Distinguish between real property (land and interests in land) and personal property (movable objects and intangible rights).

II. Possession and Ownership

  • Acquisition of Property by Discovery, Capture, and Creation:
    • Pierson v. Post (1805): Established the rule of capture for wild animals, giving property rights to the person who captures the animal.
    • Rule of Capture: In Arizona, rule of capture typically applies to groundwater, where the landowner has the right to withdraw and use groundwater beneath their land without liability to neighboring landowners for depletion of their wells.
  • Finders Keepers: The rights of finders of property, as distinguished between lost, mislaid, and abandoned property.
    • Armory v. Delamirie (1722): Finder of a jewel had rights superior to all except the rightful owner.

III. Estates in Land

  • Freehold Estates: Fee simple absolute, determining life estate, and the fee tail.
    • Fee Simple Absolute: The most extensive interest in land, potentially infinite duration.
    • Life Estate: An estate that lasts for the life of a specified individual.
  • Future Interests: Remainders, executory interests, and reversion.
    • White v. Brown (1977): Court must determine the intent of the grantor in creating a life estate or fee simple absolute.
  • Concurrent Estates: Tenancy in common, joint tenancy, and tenancy by the entirety.
    • Joint Tenancy: Includes right of survivorship. In Arizona, a joint tenancy is presumed unless explicitly stated otherwise.

IV. Land Transactions

  • Contract of Sale: Including the statute of frauds requirement for land contracts.
  • Deeds and Transfer: Warranty deed, quitclaim deed, and special warranty deed.
    • Arizona specific: Arizona uses a beneficiary deed as a non-probate mechanism for transferring property upon death.
  • Mortgages and Financing: The lien theory vs. title theory, foreclosure, and anti-deficiency laws.
    • Arizona specific: Arizona is a title theory state and follows anti-deficiency laws to protect certain residential borrowers after foreclosure.

V. Land Use Controls

  • Easements: The right to use another’s land for a specific purpose.
    • Prescriptive Easements: In Arizona, a prescriptive easement can be obtained through open, notorious, and continuous use over a ten-year period.
  • Covenants and Servitudes: Promises affecting the use of land.
    • Termination of Covenants: Arizona law allows for termination of obsolete covenants under certain circumstances.
  • Zoning and Land Use Regulation: Municipal land use controls and variances.
    • Zoning Disputes: Arizona follows the general rules of zoning but also has specific statutes governing the process of obtaining variances and rezoning.

VI. Landlord-Tenant Law

  • Leasehold Estates: The types of tenancies and the rights and duties of landlords and tenants.
    • Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act: Governs the relationship between residential landlords and tenants.
  • Eviction Process: The legal procedure for evicting a tenant.
    • Arizona specific: Arizona has specific rules regarding notice and procedures for eviction actions.

VII. Nuisance and Torts Related to Land

  • Private Nuisance: Unreasonable interference with another’s use and enjoyment of land.
  • Public Nuisance: Acts that unreasonably interfere with the health, safety, and property rights of the community.

VIII. Water Rights

  • Doctrine of Prior Appropriation: Water rights are determined by priority of beneficial use.
    • Arizona specific: Arizona follows the doctrine of prior appropriation for surface water rights, but groundwater is largely governed by the rule of capture.

IX. Eminent Domain and Regulatory Takings

  • Eminent Domain: The power of the government to take private property for public use with just compensation.
    • Regulatory Takings: Government regulation that goes too far in diminishing the value of property may require compensation.
    • Kelo v. City of New London (2005): Broadened the interpretation of “public use” to include economic development.

X. Property Rights and the Constitution

  • Fifth Amendment: Takings Clause, ensuring just compensation for takings.
  • Fourteenth Amendment: Due Process and Equal Protection as it relates to property and land use.

Review Techniques

  • Case Briefing: Practice the IRAC (Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion) method when reviewing case law.
  • Key Concepts: Create outlines or flashcards of key concepts and definitions.
  • Application: Engage in problem-solving exercises to apply concepts to hypothetical scenarios.
  • Past Exams: Review past exam questions and model answers if available.

Studying these topics in depth, with a focus on Arizona law where applicable, should provide a comprehensive foundation for a 1L final exam in Property Law.

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