Idaho Law School 1L Study Guide for Property

Idaho Law School 1L Study Guide for Property

1. Introduction to Property Law:
Concept: Property law governs the relationships between individuals and things, both tangible and intangible. It encompasses the rights, interests, and duties that arise over resources.
Idaho Specific: Idaho follows the same general principles of property law as most U.S. jurisdictions, with certain nuances specific to state statutes and case law.

2. Acquisition of Property:
Concept: Ownership of property can be established through various means such as discovery, capture, creation, adverse possession, gift, and purchase.
Relevant Law: Idaho Code § 55-301 et seq. outlines the various ways of acquiring real property within the state.

3. Adverse Possession:
Concept: Adverse possession allows a person to claim title to land owned by another if they possess it openly, notoriously, exclusively, continuously, and hostilely for a statutory period.
Relevant Law: Idaho Code § 5-208 specifies a statutory period of 5 years for adverse possession under a claim of title.
Case: Mann v. Bd. of County Comm’rs, 200 P.3d 583 (Idaho 2008)
Issue: Whether the statute of limitations for adverse possession commenced when the possessor began using the land.
Rule: The statutory period begins when the adverse possessor takes possession that is open, notorious, and unequivocal.
Analysis: The court examined the actions of the possessor and found that their use of the land met the statutory requirements for the period required.
Conclusion: The claim of adverse possession was upheld.

4. Estates in Land and Future Interests:
Concept: Different estates in land determine the duration and depth of interest one holds in property (e.g., fee simple, life estate, leasehold estate).
Relevant Law: Idaho Code § 55-101 et seq. define the nature and extent of estates in real property.
Idaho Specific: Idaho recognizes the common law estates in land, but with modifications under state statutes.

5. Concurrent Ownership:
Concept: Property can be owned by multiple parties at the same time, creating a tenancy in common, joint tenancy, or tenancy by the entirety.
Relevant Law: Idaho Code § 55-104 distinguishes between tenancy in common and joint tenancy.
Idaho Specific: Idaho presumes a tenancy in common unless joint tenancy is expressly stated.

6. Landlord-Tenant Law:
Concept: This area of law covers the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants, including lease agreements, security deposits, and eviction procedures.
Relevant Law: Idaho Code § 55-307 and Title 6, Chapter 3, outline landlord and tenant duties, while Idaho Code § 6-303 discusses evictions.
Idaho Specific: Idaho has unique provisions for agricultural leases.

7. Real Property Transactions:
Concept: Transfer of real property interests typically involves contracts, deeds, and the recording of those interests.
Relevant Law: Idaho Code Title 55, Chapter 6, governs the formalities of real property transfers, including the General Warranty Deed and the requirements for recording.

8. Easements and Licenses:
Concept: An easement is a non-possessory interest in land, allowing use of another’s land for a specific purpose, while a license is a temporary, revocable privilege.
Relevant Law: Idaho Code Title 55 addresses the creation and termination of easements.
Idaho Specific: Idaho law may have particular requirements for the creation of easements by prescription or implication.

9. Covenants and Servitudes:
Concept: Covenants are written promises in deeds or land agreements that run with the land and bind future owners, while servitudes are broader burdens or benefits that run with the land.
Relevant Law: Idaho follows traditional principles of covenants and servitudes, and these interests may be subject to Idaho Code Title 55.

10. Zoning and Land Use:
Concept: Governmental regulations control land use and development to promote public welfare under the police power.
Relevant Law: Idaho has adopted various zoning and land use regulations under Idaho Code Title 67, Chapter 65, known as the “Local Land Use Planning Act.”
Idaho Specific: Local governments in Idaho have significant discretion in enacting zoning ordinances.

11. Water Rights:
Concept: In the Western U.S., water rights are often governed by the doctrine of prior appropriation, where water rights are unconnected to land ownership.
Relevant Law: Idaho follows the prior appropriation doctrine, established under Idaho Code § 42-101 et seq.
Case: Big Wood Canal Co. v. Unruh, 716 P.2d 954 (Idaho 1986)
Issue: Whether the rights to use water must be connected to the beneficial use specified in the original appropriation.
Rule: Water rights in Idaho are based on the doctrine of prior appropriation, requiring beneficial use.
Analysis: The court considered the original purposes of the water right and whether the current use was consistent with those purposes.
Conclusion: The court upheld that changes in use must align with the principles of beneficial use under the prior appropriation doctrine.

12. Takings and Eminent Domain:
Concept: The government may take private property for public use with just compensation under the power of eminent domain.
Relevant Law: Idaho Code § 7-701 et seq. provides the procedures for the exercise of eminent domain.
Idaho Specific: Idaho has specific provisions that may provide greater protection for property owners than the federal constitution.

Study Tips:

  • Focus on understanding the principles of property law and how they apply in Idaho specifically.
  • Review key Idaho statutes and cases to understand how Idaho courts interpret and apply property law concepts.
  • Practice applying the IRAC method to hypothetical scenarios that are likely to arise in Idaho property law.
  • Collaborate with classmates to discuss key concepts and test each other’s understanding.
  • Consult additional resources such as treatises on Idaho property law to gain deeper insights into local jurisprudence.


Use this study guide as a foundational tool to prepare for your final semester exam in 1L Property Law. Remember to combine your understanding of general property law principles with the specifics of Idaho law, and apply critical thinking to analyze and solve complex legal issues. Good luck!

Discover more from Legal Three

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading