Property law is the body of law that governs matters relating to ownership of properties. This includes the rules, policies, and procedures that define who can own what, the process of acquisition, and how they can use these properties. Unlike other forms of law, property law focuses on the relationship between people and properties within society.
A property is defined as the rights of a person with respect to a thing. The property can either be tangible assets such as land, machinery, apartments, or intangible possessions such as bonds and stocks. Property law plays a very critical role because it impacts almost everyone in the community.
Types of Properties
Properties are categorized as real or personal properties. Real property is land and anything that is attached, growing on or affixed to it. This includes houses, commercial buildings, and crops growing on the land. Personal property, in contrast, is any movable asset, anything other than land that is movable and which is subject to ownership. Examples include a car, desk, chair, money, stocks, bonds, patents, and copyrights. The main difference between real and personal properties is that real properties are immovable as they are permanently fixed to one location while personal properties are movable and can easily change ownership.
When you own a property, tangible or intangible, it means that you have the rights to that particular property. Ownership pertains to the right to sell, lease, and lend the property in question. However, ownership issues may arise in the case where two or more people believe that they have the ownership rights of a given property. Property law helps to establish who is the legal owner of the property. A property law court can look at various aspects such as the person in possession of the deed, among other aspects surrounding the case.
In the United States, property laws are developed at the federal as well as state level. However, the property laws at the state level have more impact compared to those of the federal government. Each state has its own body of property law that define the ownership and transfer process of real and personal properties. It is, therefore, very important to first get acquitted to the property laws of a specific state before making any decision about a property. This may include aspects such as zoning laws that can restrict what a person does with their property. Different states may also have different requirements in the property transfer process. A slight difference between the laws can have a huge impact.