Real Property Law

Real property law covers many different topics related to land ownership and the use of the land. It deals with title and ownership rights, as well as the limitations on those rights. Some of the ways ownership rights can be limited are by government regulations relating to zoning, environmental conditions, fair housing and other state and local laws. Ownership rights can also be voluntarily limited or shared by agreements, such as leases, easements and air rights conveyances.  

The transfer of ownership is covered by real property law, as is the permitted use of property by non-owners. Transfers can be voluntary or involuntary. A voluntary transfer can be done by a sale of the property or upon death of the owner, through a Will or the intestacy laws. Involuntary transfers may result from foreclosures, adverse possession and eminent domain. The right to use real property is typically accomplished by leasing, although concessions and licenses of the right to use property are also possible. 

There are obligations and duties that come with ownership of real property. For instance, property owners must pay state and local property taxes. If a property owner fails to pay taxes, the property can be sold by the municipality to pay the taxes owed. Property owners also must keep their property in a reasonably safe condition.

Legal Editors: Terrence Dunn and Ira H. Goldfarb, July 2017

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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