Nevada Law School 1L Study Guide for Property

Nevada Law School 1L Study Guide for Property

I. Introduction to Property

A. Definitions and Concepts
1. Real Property vs. Personal Property
– Real Property: land and anything permanently attached to it (e.g., buildings).
– Personal Property: all other property that is not real property (e.g., vehicles, furniture).

  1. Fixtures: Personal property that has become attached to land or buildings and is regarded as part of the real property.

B. Forms of Ownership and Possession
1. Fee Simple Absolute: The most complete ownership of land, potentially infinite in duration.
2. Life Estate: Ownership of land for the duration of a person’s life.
3. Leasehold Estate: The right to possess property for a certain fixed period of time.
4. Concurrent Estates: Ownership or possession of property by more than one person at the same time (e.g., joint tenancy, tenancy in common).

II. Possession and Transfer of Property

A. Possession
1. Actual Possession: Physical control over property.
2. Constructive Possession: Legal control over property without physical control.

B. Transfer of Property
1. Deed: A legal document transferring ownership of real property.
2. Will: A legal document outlining the distribution of a person’s property upon their death.
3. Gift: A voluntary transfer of property without consideration.

III. Adverse Possession

A. Definition: Acquiring title to land through possession for a statutory period under certain conditions.

B. Elements in Nevada
1. Actual possession: The possessor must physically use the land as a property owner would.
2. Exclusive possession: The possession cannot be shared with the owner or the public.
3. Open and notorious possession: Use of the land must be visible and apparent.
4. Hostile and adverse possession: The possessor must not have the owner’s permission to use the land.
5. Continuous and uninterrupted possession: Possession must be continuous for the statutory period in Nevada (15 years).

C. Case Law: Howard v. Kunto (Summer occupancy considered continuous possession in the context of adverse possession).

IV. Landlord-Tenant Law

A. Lease Agreements
1. Essential terms: Identification of the parties, description of the premises, duration of the lease, and amount of rent.

B. Tenant Rights and Obligations
1. Quiet Enjoyment: The right to enjoy the property without interference.
2. Duty to Pay Rent: The obligation to pay the agreed-upon rent.
3. Maintenance and Repairs: Varies by state, but tenants may be responsible for minor repairs while significant issues are typically the landlord’s responsibility.

C. Landlord Rights and Obligations
1. Right to Rent: The landlord’s right to receive the agreed-upon rent.
2. Maintenance: Obligation to maintain the property and make necessary repairs to ensure habitability.

D. Eviction: The legal process by which a landlord may remove a tenant from rental property.

V. Easements and Covenants

A. Easements
1. Definition: A nonpossessory right to use another’s property.
2. Types
a. Appurtenant Easement: Benefits the holder of an adjacent piece of land.
b. In Gross Easement: Personal to the holder and does not benefit a particular piece of land.

B. Covenants
1. Definition: Written promises or restrictions in a deed concerning the use of land.
2. Real Covenants: Binding promises that run with the land and are enforceable by and against subsequent owners.
3. Equitable Servitudes: Covenants enforceable in equity, even if they may not meet the stringent requirements of a real covenant.

C. Case Law: Tulk v. Moxhay (The court enforced a covenant restricting the use of land against subsequent purchasers).

VI. Zoning and Land Use Regulation

A. Zoning: The division of a city or county into districts to regulate the use of land and buildings, the size of lots, the density of development, and the intensity of use.

B. Variance: Permission to use land in a way that deviates from zoning regulations.

C. Eminent Domain
1. Definition: The power of the government to take private property for public use upon payment of just compensation.
2. Case Law: Kelo v. City of New London (Upheld the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another to further economic development).

VII. Constitutional Considerations

A. Takings Clause: The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, which requires just compensation when the government takes private property for public use.

B. Due Process: The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees that no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.

C. Equal Protection: The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires that states guarantee the same rights and protections to all citizens.

D. Case Law: Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council (A regulation that deprives land of all economically beneficial use is a taking requiring compensation).

VIII. Conclusion

This study guide provides a high-level overview of property law concepts relevant to a 1L Property course, with a special focus on Nevada law where applicable. For an in-depth understanding, students should refer to the specific statutes, administrative codes, and case law of Nevada. Additionally, students should keep abreast of any recent changes in the law or landmark case decisions that have occurred since the knowledge cutoff point for this guide.

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