Dictionary of Law

real property :: legal definition

Real property - n. 1) all land, structures, firmly attached and integrated equipment (such as light fixtures or a well pump), anything growing on the land, and all "interests" in the property, which may include the right to future ownership (remainder), right to occupy for a period of time (tenancy or life estate), the right to drill for oil, the right to get the property back (a reversion) if it is no longer used for its current purpose (such as use for a hospital, school or city hall), use of airspace (condominium) or an easement across another's property. Real property should be thought of as a group of rights like a bundle of sticks which can be divided. It is distinguished from personal property which is made up of movable items. 2) one of the principal areas of law like contracts, negligence, probate, family law and criminal law.

See also: condominium easement life estate personal property real estate reversion and Related Law Terms ↓

Related Law Terms

abandoned property :: n. property left behind (often by a tenant) intent ... -use. See also: abandon abandonment
abandonment :: n. the act of intentionally and permanently giving ... : abandon abandoned property patent
abeyance :: 1) n. when the owner- ship of property has not bee ... 2) legal jargon for "undetermined."
abstract of judgment :: n. a written summary of a judgment which states ho ... aying the debt. See also: levy lien
abstract of title :: n. the written report on a title search which show ... e also: chain of title title report
administrator :: n. the person appointed by the court to handle the ... e also: administer executor probate
advancement :: n. a gift made by a person to one of his or her ch ... tate gift in contemplation of death
adverse possession :: n. a means to acquire title to land through obviou ... o: possession prescriptive easement
after-acquired property :: n. 1) personal or real property acquired by a debt ... lso: bankruptcy secured transaction
after-acquired title :: n. title to property acquired after the owner atte ... ed title goes automatically to Sam.
agency :: n. the relationship of a person (called the agent) ... ondeat superior scope of employment
appurtenant :: adj. pertaining to something that attaches. In rea ... t. See also: easement real property
arrest :: v. 1) to take or hold a suspected criminal with le ... anda warning probable cause warrant
assess :: v. to set a value on property, usually for the pur ... e place upon sale of real property.
assign :: 1) v. to transfer to another person any asset such ... en shows up in contracts and wills.
assume :: v. to take over the liability for a debt on a prom ... he assumption. See also: assumption
attorney-in-fact :: n. someone specifically named by another through a ... cument. See also: power of attorney
attorney's fee :: n. the payment for legal services. It can take sev ... ees in the particular type of case.
bankruptcy :: n. a federal system of statutes and courts which p ... y proceedings trustee in bankruptcy
Bill of Rights :: n. the first ten amendments to the federal Constit ... ved to the states or to the people.
canon law :: n. laws and regulations over ecclesiastical (churc ... nduct with no religious connection.
case system :: n. the method of studying law generally used in Am ... Langdell and soon became standard.
chain of title :: n. the succession of title ownership to real prope ... title conveyance foreclosure title
chattel :: n. an item of personal property which is movable, ... ments). See also: personal property
civil :: adj. 1) that part of the law that encompasses busi ... also: civil liberties civil rights
civil rights :: n. those rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, ... ill of Rights civil civil liberties
claim :: 1) v. to make a demand for money, for property, or ... the government, it is lawsuit time.
claim against an estate :: n. upon the death of a person and beginning of pro ... ade to the heirs. See also: probate
collateral :: 1) n. property pledged to secure a loan or debt, u ... ral to the Colorado divorce action.
color of law :: n. the appearance of an act being performed based ... xtort payoffs to forget the ticket.
color of title :: n. the appearance of having title to personal or r ... rty based on this "color of title."
common property :: n. 1) real property owned by "tenants in common," ... e, like parks and national forests.
condition subsequent :: n. 1) in a contract, a happening which terminates ... Dad Fauntleroy. See also: condition
condominium :: n. title to a unit of real property which, in real ... ium projects. See also: common area
confess :: v. in criminal law, to voluntarily state that one ... Miranda warning self-incrimination
constable :: n. a law officer for a particular area such as a r ... ice of the Peace. See also: sheriff
constitutional rights :: n. rights given or reserved to the people by the U ... e also: Bill of Rights constitution
contingent interest :: n. an interest in real property which, according t ... ontingent remainder future interest
conversion :: n. a civil wrong (tort) in which one converts anot ... the crime of theft. See also: theft
convey :: v. to transfer title (official ownership) to real ... ion conveyance deed grantee grantor
conveyance :: n. a generic term for any written document which t ... r Recorder of Deeds. See also: deed
copyright :: 1) n. the exclusive right of the author or creator ... plagiarism public domain trademark
corporation :: n. an organization formed with state governmental ... ation public corporation securities
covenant :: 1) n. a promise in a written contract or a deed of ... o compete deed restrictive covenant
curtesy :: n. in old common law, the right of a surviving hus ... ommunity property dower life estate
d.b.a. :: n. short for "doing business as," when a person or ... that is registered with the state.
dangerous weapon :: n. any gun, knife, sword, crossbow, slingshot or o ... igence and possibly win a judgment.
decree :: n. in general, synonymous with judgment. However, ... n's estate, etc. See also: judgment
deed :: 1) n. the written document which transfers title ( ... veyance deed of trust warranty deed
demise :: 1) v. an old-fashioned expression meaning to lease ... r life. 3) n. death. 4) n. failure.
descent :: n. the rules of inheritance established by law in ... on inheritance intestate succession
devise :: 1) v. an old-fashioned word for giving real proper ... so: bequest gift legacy remise will
devisee :: n. a person who receives a gift of real property b ... will. See also: beneficiary legatee
discrimination :: n. unequal treatment of persons, for a reason whic ... qual rights. See also: civil rights
dominant estate :: n. in real estate law, the property retained when ... See also: easement servient estate
double jeopardy :: n. placing someone on trial a second time for an o ... that occurred thirty years earlier.
dower :: n. an old English common law right of a widow to o ... t and distribution widow's election
due process of law :: n. a fundamental principle of fairness in all lega ... procedural and substantive rights.
easement :: n. the right to use the real property of another f ... rstandings at the time of creation.
ejusdem generis :: (eh-youse-dem generous) v adj. Latin for "of the s ... t was of land-based transportation.
eminent domain :: n. the power of a governmental entity (federal, st ... ngs. See also: condemn condemnation
equal opportunity :: 1) n. a right supposedly guaranteed by both federa ... be so. See also: affirmative action
equal protection of the law :: n. the right of all persons to have the same acces ... laws." See also: due process of law
equity :: n. 1) a venerable group of rights and procedures t ... ry enjoin equitable injunction writ
error :: n. a mistake by a judge in procedure or in substan ... or. See also: harmless error remand
escrow :: 1) n. a form of account held by an "escrow agent" ... w the deal." See also: escrow agent
escrow instructions :: n. the written instructions by buyer and seller of ... ir agents. See also: closing escrow
estate :: n. 1) all that one owns in real estate and other a ... ife estate probate real estate will
exchange :: 1) v. to trade or barter property, goods and/or se ... ins tax. See also: delayed exchange
execution :: n. 1) the act of getting an officer of the court t ... so: death penalty writ of execution
executor :: n. the person appointed to administer the estate o ... sed decedent executrix probate will
extrinsic fraud :: n. fraudulent acts which keep a person from obtain ... it. See also: fraud intrinsic fraud
fair use :: n. the non-competitive right to use of copyrighted ... for a royalty. See also: copyright
fictitious defendants :: n. when a party suing (plaintiff) is not sure if h ... are not permitted in federal cases.
fiduciary :: 1) n. from the Latin fiducia, meaning "trust," a p ... lation fiduciary relationship trust
foreclosure :: n. the system by which a party who has loaned mone ... ced sale mortgage notice of default
fraud :: n. the intentional use of deceit, a trick or some ... audulent conveyance intrinsic fraud
free and clear :: adj. referring to the ownership of real property u ... the title has no claim against it.
future interest :: n. a right to receive either real property or pers ... maturity (age 18) or upon marriage.
gift in contemplation of death :: n. (called a gift causa mortis by lawyers showing ... ift tax unified estate and gift tax
goodwill :: n. the benefit of a business having a good reputat ... an unknowing buyer. See also: sale
grandfather clause :: n. 1) a clause in a statute or zoning ordinance (p ... Such laws are now unconstitutional.
grant deed :: n. the document which transfers title to real prop ... rant grantee grantor quitclaim deed
guest :: n. 1) in general, a person paying to stay in a hot ... ce. See also: guest statute invitee
hit and run :: n. the crime of a driver of a vehicle who is invol ... , and then walks back to the scene.
in kind :: adj. referring to payment, distribution or substit ... . See also: distribution trust will
in personam :: adj. (in purr-soh-nam) from Latin for "directed to ... here. See also: in rem jurisdiction
indenture :: n. a type of real property deed in which two parti ... bind a person to work for another.
indictment :: n. a charge of a felony (serious crime) voted by a ... ictable offense preliminary hearing
ingress :: 1) n. entrance. 2) n. the right to enter. 3) v. th ... property. See also: easement egress
insurance :: n. a contract (insurance policy) in which the insu ... t clause Workers' Compensation Acts
insured :: n. 1) the person or entity who will be compensated ... s go to others. See also: insurance
interest :: n. 1) any and all, partial or total right to prope ... nal property real property standing
invasion of privacy :: n. the intrusion into the personal life of another ... randeis. See also: right to privacy
invitee :: n. a person who comes onto another's property, pre ... ail employees. See also: negligence
joint :: adj., adv. referring to property, rights or obliga ... ncy joint venture tenancy in common
joint tenancy :: n. a crucial relationship in the ownership of real ... ty property tenancy in common title
jurisdiction :: n. the authority given by law to a court to try ca ... Superior Court Supreme Court venue
justice :: n. 1) fairness. 2) moral rightness. 3) a scheme or ... e appellate courts. See also: court
laches :: n. the legal doctrine that a legal right or claim ... , breach of contract, fraud, etc.).
land :: n. real property, real estate (and all that grows ... See also: real estate real property
lease :: 1) n. a written agreement in which the owner of pr ... triple net lease unlawful detainer
leasehold :: n. the real estate which is the subject of a lease ... sehold. See also: condominium lease
legatee :: n. a person or organization receiving a gift of an ... eficiary devise devisee legacy will
leverage :: 1) n. the use of borrowed money to purchase real e ... e been created by risky leveraging.
libel :: 1) n. to publish in print (including pictures), wr ... libel per se public figure slander
license :: 1) n. governmental permission to perform a particu ... eement. See also: licensee licensor
lien :: n. any official claim or charge against property o ... ord's lien mechanic's lien mortgage
life estate :: n. the right to use or occupy real property for on ... hter, Sadie, will own the property.
lineup :: n. a law enforcement method used in an attempt to ... entification is precarious at best.
lis pendens :: (lease pen-dense) n. Latin for "a suit pending," a ... ob can be penalized by court order.
literary property :: n. the writings of an author which entitles him/he ... as copyrighted. See also: copyright
living will :: n. also called "a durable power of attorney," it i ... upport. See also: power of attorney
Magna Carta :: n. Latin for "Great Charter," it was a document de ... s. It is also spelled Magna Charta.
marital deduction :: n. an estate tax deduction allowed a surviving spo ... community property estate tax trust
marketable title :: n. the title to real property which has no encumbr ... e. See also: contract real property
martial law :: n. a system of complete control by a country's mil ... n and women. See also: military law
mechanic's lien :: n. the right of a craftsman, laborer, supplier, ar ... ll sue for the debt. See also: lien
merger :: n. 1) in corporate law, the joining together of tw ... and taking one, and wife the other.
Miranda warning :: n. the requirement, also called the Miranda rule, ... me such a suspect? See also: rights
misappropriation :: n. the intentional, illegal use of the property or ... mbezzlement fiduciary larceny theft
mortgage :: n. a document in which the owner pledges his/her/i ... losure notice of default trust deed
negligence :: n. failure to exercise the care toward others whic ... gence per se res ipsa loquitur tort
net estate :: n. the remaining estate of a person who has died, ... alue. See also: estate tax gift tax
no fault insurance :: n: a type of automobile insurance required of car ... ling lawsuits. See also: negligence
nominal party :: n. a defendant or a plaintiff included in a lawsui ... ed. See also: necessary party party
nominee :: n. 1) a person or entity who is requested or named ... ic office. See also: agent executor
non-conforming use :: n. the existing use (residential, commercial, agri ... eneral plan grandfathered in zoning
notice :: n. 1) information, usually in writing in all legal ... Thirty-day notice three-day notice
notorious possession :: n. occupation of real property or holding personal ... e is as if the person is the owner.
nuisance :: n. the unreasonable, unwarranted and/or unlawful u ... evening). See also: public nuisance
operation of law :: n. a change or transfer which occurs automatically ... atically upon the child turning 18.
option :: n. a right to purchase property or require another ... ng or upon expiration of the lease.
parcel :: n. a defined piece of real estate, usually resulti ... See also: real estate real property
personal effects :: n. things which include clothes, cosmetics and ite ... e, Susannah"). See also: personalty
personalty :: n. movable assets (things, including animals) whic ... lso: personal effects real property
pledge :: v. to deposit personal property as security for a ... ise to do something. See also: pawn
possession :: n. 1) any article, object, asset or property which ... ctive possession. See also: possess
possessory interest :: n. in real estate, the intent and right of a perso ... o: possess possession real property
possibility of a reverter :: n. the potential that the title to a real property ... further issue. See also: reversion
pour over will :: n. a will of a person who has already executed a t ... invalid trust. See also: trust will
power of attorney :: n. a written document signed by a person giving an ... y, as in a real estate transaction.
premises :: n. 1) in real estate, land and the improvements on ... t). See also: real estate structure
prescription :: n. the method of acquiring an easement upon anothe ... ty. See also: prescriptive easement
prescriptive easement :: n. an easement upon another's real property acquir ... on. See also: easement prescription
presumption :: n. a rule of law which permits a court to assume a ... resumption at all, but a certainty.
private road :: n. a road or driveway on privately owned property, ... ng. See also: prescriptive easement
pro rata :: (proh rat-ah or proh ray-tah) adj. from Latin for ... e year in which he/she holds title.
probate :: 1) n. the process of proving a will is valid and t ... e also: administrator executor will
promissory note :: n. a written promise by a person (variously called ... lso: interest obligee obligor usury
property :: n. anything that is owned by a person or entity. P ... rty real property separate property
property damage :: n. injury to real or personal property through ano ... l value. See also: damages property
property tax :: n. an annual governmental tax on real property or ... are made. See also: ad valorem tax
public easement :: n. the right of the general public to use certain ... lso: easement prescriptive easement
public trust doctrine :: n. the principle that the government holds title t ... interest has been dubious at best.
quiet title action :: n. a lawsuit to establish a party's title to real ... opposition. See also: notice title
quitclaim deed :: n. a real property deed which transfers (conveys) ... also: convey deed grant deed title
real estate :: n. land, improvements and buildings thereon, inclu ... the future. See also: real property
real estate investment trust :: n. nicknamed REIT, a real estate investment organi ... its upon sale-if there is a profit.
real party in interest :: n. the person or entity who will benefit from a la ... st is the beneficiary of the trust.
reconveyance :: n. in those states which use deeds of trust as a m ... conveyance. See also: deed of trust
remainder :: n. in real property law, the interest in real prop ... ed reversion title vested remainder
remedy :: n. the means to achieve justice in any matter in w ... gment provisional remedy settlement
rental value :: n. the amount which would be paid for rental of si ... alimony to be paid. See also: rent
restrictive covenant :: n. 1) an agreement included in a deed to real prop ... o: covenant that runs with the land
reversion :: n. in real property, the return to the grantor or ... lled "reverter." See also: reverter
right :: 1) n. an entitlement to something, whether to conc ... e also: civil rights marital rights
right of way :: n. 1) a pathway or road with a specific descriptio ... s easement egress floating easement
right to privacy :: n. the possible right to be let alone, in absence ... e also: invasion of privacy privacy
rights :: n. 1) plural of right, which is the collection of ... evidence. See also: Miranda warning
riparian rights :: n. the right of the owner of the land forming the ... elled away from its natural course.
search warrant :: n. a written order by a judge which permits a law ... ble cause search search and seizure
seized :: (seised) n. 1) having ownership, commonly used in ... by force. See also: seisin seizure
self-defense :: n. the use of reasonable force to protect oneself ... ndalism. See also: assault homicide
sentence :: 1) n. the punishment given to a person convicted o ... ence restitution suspended sentence
separate property :: n. in community property states (California, Texas ... pouse. See also: community property
service :: n. 1) paid work by another person, either by contr ... ersonal services service of process
servient estate :: n. real property which has an easement or other us ... See also: dominant estate easement
special administrator :: n. a person appointed by the court in a probate pr ... or administrator. See also: probate
spontaneous exclamation :: n. a sudden statement caused by the speaker having ... et hit the girl." See also: hearsay
spot zoning :: n. a provision in a general plan which benefits a ... . See also: grandfathered in zoning
state action :: n. in federal Civil Rights Acts, dating back to 18 ... for damages. See also: civil rights
statute of limitations :: n. a law which sets the maximum period which one c ... ies. See also: demurrer laches toll
straw man :: n. 1) a person to whom title to property or a busi ... a trail will mislead hunting dogs).
substantive law :: n. law which establishes principles and creates an ... are conducted. See also: procedure
tax :: n. a governmental assessment (charge) upon propert ... unified estate and gift tax use tax
tenancy by the entirety :: n. joint ownership of title by husband and wife, i ... ee also: community property tenancy
tenancy in common :: n. title to property (usually real property, but i ... on. See also: joint tenancy tenancy
theft :: n. the generic term for all crimes in which a pers ... rglary embezzlement larceny robbery
title :: n. 1) ownership of real property or personal prope ... ink slip real property title search
title report :: n. the written analysis of the status of title to ... lso: abstract title title insurance
title search :: n. the examination of county records for the prope ... e escrow lien title title insurance
tort :: n. from French for "wrong," a civil wrong or wrong ... nce slander trespass wrongful death
trade fixture :: n. a piece of equipment on or attached to the real ... uch damage. See also: fixture trade
transfer :: n. 1) the movement of property from one person or ... son or shipment to continue travel.
transferred intent :: n. in both criminal and tort (civil wrong) law, wh ... hit upon Truehart. See also: intent
trespass :: n. entering another person's property without perm ... for an illegal purpose is a crime.
undivided interest :: n. title to real property held by two or more pers ... y by the entirety tenancy in common
unlawful detainer :: n. 1) keeping possession of real property without ... Thirty-day notice three-day notice
use :: n. the right to enjoy the benefits of real propert ... ay it is only of academic interest.
vested remainder :: n. the absolute right to receive title after a pre ... pass to him. See also: vest vested
warrant :: 1) n. an order (writ) of a court which directs a l ... e search and seizure search warrant
will :: n. a written document which leaves the estate of t ... will and testament probate testator
witness :: 1) n. a person who testifies under oath in a trial ... lso: deposition evidence trial will

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Other Law Terms - R

race to the courthouse :: n. slang for the rule that the first deed, deed of ... e also: deed judgment lien mortgage
Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statue :: n. a federal law which makes it a crime for organi ... s to operate legitimate businesses.
racketeering :: n. the federal crime of conspiring to organize to ... ("organized crime" or "the Mafia").
ransom :: 1) n. money paid to a kidnapper in demand for the ... ive. See also: abduction kidnapping
rape :: 1) n. the crime of sexual intercourse (with actual ... See also: date rape statutory rape
ratable :: adj. taxable according to value, such as an estate ... lue, such as an estate or property.
ratification :: n. confirmation of an action which was not pre-app ... mployee). See also: agent principal
ratify :: v. to confirm and adopt the act of another even th ... ligation. See also: agent principal
rational basis :: n. a test of constitutionality of a statute, askin ... imate and constitutional objective.
ready, willing and able :: adj. fully prepared to act, as in performing a con ... o act, as in performing a contract.
real estate :: n. land, improvements and buildings thereon, inclu ... the future. See also: real property
real estate investment trust :: n. nicknamed REIT, a real estate investment organi ... its upon sale-if there is a profit.
real party in interest :: n. the person or entity who will benefit from a la ... st is the beneficiary of the trust.
real property :: n. 1) all land, structures, firmly attached and in ... onal property real estate reversion
realty :: n. a short form of "real estate." See also: real e ... real estate." See also: real estate
reasonable :: adj., adv. in law, just, rational, appropriate, or ... ost of other actions or activities.
reasonable care :: n. the degree of caution and concern for the safet ... . See also: duty of care negligence
reasonable doubt :: n. not being sure of a criminal defendant's guilt ... also: preponderance of the evidence
reasonable reliance :: n. particularly in contracts, what a prudent perso ... the following:." See also: contract
reasonable speed :: n. the speed of an automobile determined to be low ... e speed limit. See also: negligence