Property law dictates the legal relationships that govern personal and real property. It pertains to the rights individuals or entities have regarding the ownership, possession, control, use, and transfer of goods or land.
Pierson v. Post – The capture rule (doctrine of capture) was established in this case, stating that an individual who kills or captures an animal gains possession of it.
Johnson v. M’Intosh – This case established the doctrine of discovery and is a precedent for laws regarding real property and land ownership.
- Estate System:
The estate system is a classification of interest in ownership of land. Namely, Fee Simple Absolute, Life Estate, and Leasehold Estate.
White v. Brown – The case established the preference for the Fee Simple Absolute in the absence of clear language to the contrary.
- Adverse Possession:
Adverse possession is a legal doctrine allowing a person who possesses someone else’s land for an extended period, under certain conditions, to claim legal title to it.
Howard v. Kunto – The case addresses the continuity requirement under adverse possession. The court held that continuous use in the context of adverse possession can be met by tacking together successive periods of use by different individuals.
Van Valkenburgh v. Lutz – This case provides the idea of hostility under adverse possession. A possessor’s claim to land cannot be under acknowledgment or recognition of the rightful owner’s superior title.
Easements are a right to cross or otherwise use someone else’s land for a specified purpose.
Holbrook v. Taylor – The court found an implied easement by estoppel where a party allowed another party to rely on representations of a permanent right to an easement.
- Landlord-Tenant Law:
Landlord-tenant law refers to the rights and duties of both landlords and tenants in the rental of property.
Javins v. First National Realty Corp. – The case established the implied warranty of habitability in residential leases.
Zoning refers to municipal or local laws or regulations that dictate how real property can and cannot be used in certain geographic areas.
Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co. – The Supreme Court case upholds the constitutionality of zoning ordinances, and it’s considered the birth of modern zoning.
- Concurrent Ownership:
Concurrent ownership or co-tenancy is a legal term referring to when two or more persons own the same property at the same time.
Spiller v. Mackereth – The case deals with the right of a co-tenant to collect rent from a third party tenant.
- Future Interests:
Future interests are a person’s present right to property ownership and possession in the future.
Broadway National Bank v. Adams – The case addressed issues around future interests and the rule against perpetuities.
- Real Estate Transactions:
Real Estate transactions refer to the process through which rights in a unit of property or designated real estate are transferred between two or more parties.
Lohmeyer v. Bower – This case is about misrepresentation and nondisclosure in real estate transactions.
Each of these sections requires an understanding of the general principles as well as the case law that has shaped those principles. Familiarize yourself with the basic definitions, implications of those definitions, and how the case law plays into the legal understanding of these concepts.