I. INTRODUCTION TO PROPERTY LAW
Property law governs the relationship between individuals (or legal entities) and objects, and the relationships between individuals with respect to objects. These relationships can be complex, involving aspects of possession, enjoyment, exclusion, and transfer of rights.
II. OWNERSHIP AND POSSESSION
Ownership: The concept refers to the set of rights conferred on the holder to use, possess, and dispose of a thing. In Oklahoma, like other states, ownership rights are protected by the state.
Possession: Possession is the control a person exercises over a thing with the intention to exclude others.
Key Case: Pierson v. Post – This case establishes the rule of wild animals (fugitive resources) and the distinction between constructive and actual possession.
III. ADVERSE POSSESSION
Adverse Possession is a doctrine under which a person in possession of land owned by someone else may acquire valid title to it, if certain common law requirements are met.
Oklahoma Statute: Oklahoma law requires 15 years of continuous, uninterrupted, open, notorious, and hostile possession to claim adverse possession.
Key Case: Howard v. Merillat – The Oklahoma courts clarified the law of adverse possession and the requirements that claimant’s possession must be continual, hostile, and under a claim of right.
IV. ESTATES IN LAND
Fee Simple Absolute: It is an estate in land that provides the holder with complete rights to the property, including rights of possession, enjoyment, and disposal. It conveys the maximum interest in the land.
Life Estate: A life estate is an interest in land that is limited in duration to the life of the person holding the life estate.
Remainder: A remainder is a future interest given to a person (the remainderman) that is capable of becoming possessory upon the termination of a prior possessory estate created by the same instrument.
Key Case: White v. Brown – In this case, the court elaborated on the rule that courts will interpret ambiguous deeds as passing the highest estate possible unless language of the deed specifically provides otherwise.
V. JOINT OWNERSHIP AND TENANCY
Joint Tenancy: It is a form of ownership where each joint tenant has an undivided right to the property and right of survivorship.
Tenancy in Common: It is a form of concurrent ownership where each tenant owns a separate share in the property and there is no right of survivorship.
Oklahoma Statute: In Oklahoma, a conveyance to two or more persons creates a tenancy in common unless it is expressly declared to be a joint tenancy (60 O.S §74).
VI. LANDLORD TENANT LAW
The Landlord Tenant law governs the rental of commercial and residential property and establishes the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants.
Oklahoma Statute: Oklahoma Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.
Key Case: Kline v. 1500 Massachusetts Avenue Apartment Corp – The case discusses the duty of the landlord to protect tenants from foreseeable criminal actions.
An easement is a nonpossessory interest in land in possession of another, allowing the holder of the easement to use the property.
Oklahoma Statute: Oklahoma law follows the common law approach to easements and distinguishes between easements appurtenant and in gross.
Key Case: Holbrook v. Taylor – The case discusses the creation of easements by necessity and implication.
VIII. LAND SALE CONTRACTS
These are agreements for the sale of land and the terms of sale, including price, closing date, and any conditions.
Key Case: Lohmeyer v. Bower – This case discusses requirements of the statute of frauds for land sale contracts.
IX. ZONING AND LAND USE
Zoning: Governmental regulation of the uses of property within specified areas.
Oklahoma Statute: Oklahoma Zoning Enabling Act provides the statutory authority for zoning.
Key Case: Euclid v. Ambler – This case established the constitutionality of zoning laws.
This guide provides key concepts, cases and laws for property law in Oklahoma. It is not exhaustive and should be supplemented with class notes, textbooks and professor guidance.