New Mexico Law School 1L Study Guide for Property

New Mexico Law School 1L Study Guide for Property

I. Introduction to Property Law
A. Property Types
1. Real property: land and interests in land.
2. Personal property: all other types of property.
B. Legal vs. Equitable Title
1. Legal title refers to formal ownership of property.
2. Equitable title refers to the benefits of the property to the person who does not hold legal title.

II. Possession and Ownership
A. Acquisition of Property
1. Finders Keepers Rules
– Case: Armory v. Delamirie (1722) – A chimney sweep found a jewel and took it to a goldsmith for appraisal. The goldsmith’s apprentice withheld the jewel and returned only the setting. The chimney sweep was entitled to the jewel as the finder against all but the true owner.
– Issue: Does the finder of property have rights to it against everyone except the true owner?
– Rule: Yes, the finder has rights to the property, which are superior to all others except the true owner.
– Analysis: The chimney sweep had possession, which gave him rights superior to all except the rightful owner.
– Conclusion: The finder has a right to the found property against all but the true owner.
2. Adverse Possession
– Elements include actual possession, open and notorious use, exclusive use, hostile claim, and continuous use for a statutory period.
– New Mexico Statute: N.M. Stat. Ann. § 37-1-22 (2022) specifies the period as 10 years.
B. Bailments
1. A bailment occurs when personal property is transferred from the bailor to the bailee who agrees to return it or otherwise dispose of it.
2. The bailee owes a duty of care to safeguard the property.

III. Co-Ownership and Marital Interests
A. Tenancy in Common
B. Joint Tenancy
– Right of Survivorship
– Severance of Joint Tenancy
C. Tenancy by the Entirety
D. Community Property
– New Mexico is a community property state, meaning that property acquired during marriage is owned equally by both spouses.
– Case: Pierson v. Pierson (2003) – Addressed the calculation of the community interest in the increased value of separate property.
E. Partition
– The division of co-owned property into portions representing the interests of the owners.

IV. Leaseholds: The Law of Landlord and Tenant
A. Types of Tenancies
1. Tenancy for Years
2. Periodic Tenancy
3. Tenancy at Will
4. Tenancy at Sufferance
B. Landlord’s Duties
1. Duty to Deliver Possession
2. Implied Warranty of Habitability
– New Mexico requires landlords to maintain premises in a habitable condition as per the Uniform Owner-Resident Relations Act.
C. Tenant’s Duties
1. Duty to Pay Rent
2. Duty to Avoid Waste

V. Transfers of Land
A. The Sales Contract
1. Statute of Frauds: Requires written contracts for the transfer of real estate interests.
B. Marketable Title
1. A seller must provide marketable title at closing, free of undisclosed encumbrances.
C. Deeds
1. Types: General Warranty, Special Warranty, Quitclaim
2. Delivery and Acceptance

VI. Land Use Regulation
A. Zoning
– Local ordinances that divide a city or county into different areas and prescribe the use for which property within each area may be put.
B. Restrictive Covenants
– Private agreements that restrict the use of real estate in some way.
C. Eminent Domain and Taking
– Under the Fifth Amendment, the government can take private property for public use with just compensation.
– Case: Kelo v. City of New London (2005) – Addressed the concept of public use under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
D. Environmental Regulation
– Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and other federal and state statutes regulating land use to protect the environment.

VII. Nonpossessory Interests in Land
A. Easements
– A grant of a nonpossessory property interest that entitles its holder to some form of use or enjoyment of another’s land.
B. Profits
– The right to enter onto another’s land and take away some part of the land itself or some product of the land.
C. Licenses
– A personal privilege to enter the land of another for a specific purpose.

VIII. Real Estate Financing
A. Mortgages
– A conveyance of a security interest in land, intended by the parties to be collateral for the repayment of a debt.
B. Foreclosure
– The legal process by which a lender can sell or repossess a property if the owner fails to comply with an agreement.
C. Redemption
– The right of a mortgagor to redeem property before a foreclosure sale.

IX. Recording System
A. Recording Acts
– New Mexico follows a “race-notice” statute, which protects a subsequent bona fide purchaser who records first.
B. Chain of Title
– The sequence of historical transfers of title to a property.
C. Title Search and Examination

X. Conclusion
– Reviewing key concepts, statutes, and cases is essential for understanding property law in New Mexico.
– Utilize practice exams and hypotheticals to apply these principles.
– Remember to analyze each issue using the IRAC method for clarity in legal writing.

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