Washington Law School 1L Study Guide for Property
- Property Rights and Interests
Property rights and interests refers to the legal rights an individual or entity has over a property. It includes aspects such as possession, control, exclusion, enjoyment, and disposition. It’s critical to understand these rights when dealing with real estate law.
Case law: Pierson v. Post (1805) – This case established that mere pursuit isn’t enough to establish possession.
IRAC: Issue: Whether mere pursuit of a fox establishes an enforceable property right. Rule: The law recognizes a property right only when there’s physical control over the resource and an intent to appropriate. Application: The court ruled that Post, having only pursued the fox, did not establish property rights. Conclusion: Property rights require more than mere pursuit; they necessitate control and intent to appropriate.
- Adverse Possession
Adverse possession is a method of acquiring title to real property by possession for a statutory period under certain conditions by a person other than the owner. The statutory period in Washington is 10 years. This concept is important for understanding how individuals can gain legal ownership of property without a formal deed.
Case law: Muench v. Oxley (1972) – This case clarified the requirements of adverse possession in Washington State.
IRAC: Issue: Whether the defendants had acquired the disputed property through adverse possession. Rule: To establish adverse possession, the possessor must show clear and convincing evidence of continuous, open and notorious, hostile, and exclusive possession for the statutory period. Application: The court ruled that the defendants failed to satisfy the requirements. Conclusion: The possession was not hostile as it was based on mistaken belief rather than intentional usurpation.
- Landlord and Tenant Law
In Washington, the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act governs rental agreements between landlords and tenants. The Act establishes the rights and responsibilities of both parties in areas such as habitability, security deposits, eviction, and discrimination.
Case law: Foisy v. Wyman (1973) – This case set precedent that landlords must maintain rental properties in a habitable condition.
IRAC: Issue: Whether a landlord is obligated to maintain rental property in a habitable condition. Rule: Under the implied warranty of habitability, landlords are required to maintain premises in a habitable condition. Application: The court ruled in favor of Foisy as Wyman had failed to maintain the premises in a habitable condition. Conclusion: Landlords have a legal duty to maintain rental properties in a habitable condition.
Easements grant the right to use another person’s land for a specific purpose. In Washington, easements can be created by express grant, reservation, implication, or prescription.
Case law: Roediger v. Cullen (1961) – This case established the criteria for prescriptive easements in Washington.
IRAC: Issue: Whether a prescriptive easement has been established. Rule: To establish a prescriptive easement, the use must be open, notorious, continuous, and hostile for the statutory period. Application: The court ruled that the plaintiffs had not established a prescriptive easement. Conclusion: The use of the land was permissive and therefore not hostile.
- Real Estate Contracts
In Washington, the Statute of Frauds requires real estate contracts to be in writing. This includes contracts for the sale of land, leases for more than a year, and easements.
Case law: Berg v. Hudesman (1995) – The case clarified the Doctrine of Integration in Washington.
IRAC: Issue: Whether the Doctrine of Integration applies to all real estate contracts. Rule: The Doctrine of Integration provides that several writings may be read together as one contract if they concern the same subject matter and transaction. Application: The court ruled that the Doctrine of Integration applies and the writings in this case formed one contract. Conclusion: Several writings can be read together to form one contract if they concern the same subject matter and transaction.
These concepts, laws, and cases form the crux of property law in Washington, and this guide should be a valuable tool in preparing for your final semester exam.