Vermont Law School 1L Study Guide for Property

  1. Real Property: This includes land and anything permanently affixed to it, like buildings or trees. The transfer of real property involves a deed, which details the legal description, signature, and delivery.

    Landmark Case: Johnson v. M’Intosh (1823). The Supreme Court held that private citizens could not purchase lands from Native Americans. The issue was about the acquisition of title to property by occupancy and discovery.

  2. Personal Property: Refers to movable property, not real estate.

    Landmark Case: Armory v. Delamirie (1722). A chimney sweep found a jewel, establishing the finders keepers rule in property law. The court used the rule of possession to award to the boy.

  3. Acquisition by Discovery: This is the acquisition of territory by a state, which is often through discovery.

    Landmark Case: Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (1992). In this case, the High Court held that the doctrine of terra nullius, which states that land belonged to no one at the time of British colonization, was not legally or factually correct.

  4. Acquisition by Capture: This refers to seizing another’s property through force, with the intent to keep it.

    Landmark Case: Pierson v. Post (1805). The court ruled that mere pursuit did not grant rights to a wild animal, but rather actual physical capture did.

  5. Acquisition by Creation: This refers to the original production of material goods by human labor and creative thought.

    Landmark Case: International News Service v. Associated Press (1918). The court held that the right to the news value of an event was property, which, like every other kind, is governed by the law of the place of its domicile.

  6. Acquisition by Find: The discovery of something of value, that the discoverer can claim ownership of.

    Landmark Case: Bridges v. Hawkesworth (1851). The court held that the finder of lost property has a superior claim of ownership over everyone except the true owner.

  7. Acquisition by Adverse Possession: The occupation of land to which another person has title with the intention of possessing it as one’s own.

    Landmark Case: Howard v. Kunto (1970). The court concluded that continuous use need not be constant use.

  8. Gift: A voluntary transfer of property from one person to another, without any consideration or payment. It is not complete until it is accepted by the recipient.

    Landmark Case: Gruen v. Gruen (1986). The court held that a valid inter vivos gift (a gift made during the giver’s lifetime) was made.

  9. Leasehold Estate: This is an estate for a specific period, which continues for successive periods until the landlord or tenant gives notice to terminate.

    Landmark Case: Garner v. Gerrish (1984). The court held that an agreement allowing a tenant to stay for as long as he wished was not an unenforceable agreement to make a will, but rather a life estate determinable at the will of the tenant.

  10. Easements: This is a right to cross or use someone else’s land for a specified purpose.

    Landmark Case: Holbrook v. Taylor (1976). The court held that an easement by implication could become permanent by adverse possession.

  11. Restrictive Covenants: These are restrictions on land use binding on successive owners.

    Landmark Case: Tulk v. Moxhay (1848). The court held that the new owner was bound by the initial agreement, establishing the concept of restrictive covenants running with the land.

  12. Nuisance: This is a condition, activity, or situation that interferes with the use or enjoyment of property.

    Landmark Case: Boomer v. Atlantic Cement Co. (1970). The court imposed permanent damages rather than an injunction to stop the ongoing nuisance.

  13. Zoning: This is the regulation of the use and development of real estate by local government.

    Landmark Case: Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co. (1926). The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of zoning ordinances, setting the precedent for zoning laws in the US.

Remember to thoroughly understand concepts and to review case laws, opinions, and their application to different scenarios. This comprehensive study guide will prepare you for the Property Law exam at Vermont Law School.

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