Unit 5: Property Law
The idea of property usually strikes people as a fairly simple concept. However, the law recognizes that the interests in various types of property are often anything but simple and can sometimes result in highly complex problems. For example, if you sell your house to someone, what stays as part of the house, and what can you take with you when you leave? Certainly you would have an automatic right to take your clothes, your furniture, and your photographs and artwork. But what about a favorite chandelier? How about a built-in island in the kitchen? Can you take the windows? The law recognizes two categories of property. There is real property, which is land and anything attached to it, such as a house and items attached to it. Alternatively, there is personal property, which is everything else. This unit will help you determine why one item can be personal property in one situation and real property in another.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- distinguish between real and personal property, and identify examples of each;
- define tangible and intangible personal property, distinguish between both types of property, and identify examples of each; and
- identify the various interests in real property and how they pass;
5.1: Personal Property
Read this section. Books, cars, shares of stock, and accounts receivable are all personal property. How are these things the same? How are they different? Some items that are personal property can be considered real property under certain circumstances. What are these circumstances? We all know that property can be transferred, and it is important to understand the various ways that ownership of personal property can be transferred. It is also important to know what legal rights and obligations are at stake when possession, rather than ownership, of personal property is transferred. The exercises at the end of the section will help solidify your understanding.
5.2: Real Property
Read this section. You just learned about personal property and what distinguishes it from real property. Real property includes land and everything "attached" to the land. This concept is critical to whether we apply concepts related to personal property or to real property. Note the unique requirements involved in the transfer of ownership of real property, and the various ways in which such a transfer can be evidenced. You should become familiar with the concept of "adverse possession". Does adverse possession seem fair to you? When might it be fair, and when might it be unfair? Familiarize yourself with the various interests and duties that may go with the ownership of real property. Also, be aware of the scope of interests in real property. As with personal property, possession of real property may be transferred without transferring ownership. Make sure you are informed about the various possessory interests in real estate. Be sure to do the exercises at the end of the section.
Unit 5 Assessment
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Take this assessment to see how well you understood this unit.
- This assessment does not count towards your grade. It is just for practice!
- You will see the correct answers when you submit your answers. Use this to help you study for the final exam!
- You can take this assessment as many times as you want, whenever you want.