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Real Property & the Law

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Riparian rights
The rights of an owner whose property borders a flowing waterway
Littoral rights
The rights of owners of properties bordering non-flowing water
Refers to the loss of soil that is carried away by water washing against a riverbank or a beach
An increase in land area as moving water deposits soil in other than its original location
An item that was once personal property, but has been installed or attached to the land or building in a
Trade fixture
Articles of personal property that have been attached to real estate that is rented or leased by a
Intent relationship method adaptation
The four tests used by courts to distinguish between real and personal
Freehold estate
An estate involving ownership
Fee simple estate
An estate in which the owner has a complete bundle of rights; it's the simplest and yet the
Estate in severalty
A type of estate in which there is sole ownership of the entire bundle of rights
Tenancy in common
A fee estate that is held by two or more persons in which both people have an undivided
Joint tenancy
A fee estate shared by two or more persons who must have equal and undivided interests
Tenancy by the entireties
A type of estate for a husband and wife only
The party who created the life estate
Reversion estate
The right to regain the ownership
Remainder estate
If someone other than the original owner is to receive ownership
Tenancy at will
A non-freehold estate with the tenant in lawful possession of the property under an agreement with
Tenancy for years
A non-freehold estate with the tenant in lawful possession of the property under an
Tenancy at sufferance
A non-freehold estate that arises when a tenant occupies a landlord's real estate in the
Bundle of Rights
Basic rights of ownership. DEEP C. disposition; enjoyment; exclusion; possession; control.
Government Powers
Limitations to the bundle of rights imposed by the government. PETE
Police power; eminent domain; taxation; escheat.
Zoning Laws
Established by local governments according to PA Municipalities Planning Code. Controls the use of
Buffer zones
Areas like playgrounds that are used to separate residential property from property having a
Setback requirements
Minimum distance from property boundary line to the point that a building can be
Nonconforming use
Structure pre-dates zoning laws.
Spot Zoning
When authorities intentionally allow one small area to be zoned differently from the remaining area.
Conditional Use Permit
Allows for a restricted land use that is different from the existing zoning regulations
Building Codes
Standards of constriction that are imposed by local governments. Determined by International
Building Inspector
Enforces the building codes.
Building Permit
Must apply for this before building/remodeling.
Certificate of Occupancy
Must be issued by building inspector before use or possession of a new building; for
Percolation test
Soil drainage test where a man-made hole is filled with water to measure how the soil will
Environmental Impact System
Detailed report given to the community at the beginning of a development which shows
Master Comprehensive Plan
City or County planning to develop a long range land use.
Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act
Law that requires persons who are selling or lease land of 25+ lots
Eminent Domain
Right of the government to take private property for the public good with just compensation to the
Suit for Condemnation
Filed by the government to take title through a court proceeding.
Tax on real property based on value - known as Ad Valorem. Special Assessments are imposed for
When an owner dies without a Will and no heirs can be found the property Returns to the State.
When a person dies without a Will.
A person who receives title through a Will.
Gift of real property through a Will.
Recipient of property when a person dies intestate. Usually immediate family/relatives.
Restrictive Covenant
Limitations placed on property by Builders and Developers to maintain conformity throughout
Mortgage Limitation
Limitations imposed by lenders that require owners to get permission of the lender before
Land Use Limitations
Examples include prohibition of growing illegal drugs, building a house on a flood plain;
Easement Appurtenant
when the right of special use benefits the holder of the easement in their physical use or
Transfer of Dominant and Servant Estates
Both the dominant and servant parcels can be transferred. For the
Easement in gross
created when the holder of the easement interest acquires a right of special use in the
Creation of Easements (3)
1) Express Grants- must be memorialized in writing signed by the grantor unless
Profit a Prendre
when a landowner grant a profit a preener to a person to remove a valuable product of the
Easement by prescription
analogous to acquiring a property by adverse possession. the use must be open and
Use outside of the scope of the easement
This is called surcharging. The remedy of the servient landowner is
Unity of ownership
the ownership of the easement and the servient tenement must be in different persons. If the
Release of an easement
an easement may be terminated by a release given by the owner of the easement interest to
Abandonment of an easement
an easement can be extinguished without conveyance where the owner of the privilege
Termination of the easement by Estoppel
An easement may be terminated by virtue of the reasonable reliance and
Termination by prescription
the owner of the servient tenement must so interfere with the easement as to create
Assignability of licenses
a license is personal to the license and therefore not alienable
Revocation and Termination of license
A license is revocable by nature. This may be by a formal notice revocation
Failure to create an easment
If an easement is attempted to be conveyed orally, the result is a license.
Real Covenant
a written promise to do or not do something on the land. Normal remedy is compensation. Law.
Equitable Servitude
covenant that, regardless of whether it runs with the and at law, equity will enforce
Subdivision Deed
if a covenant in a subdivision deed is silent as to who holds the benefit then any neighbor
Public Nuisance
invasion by intangibles that unreasonably interfere with the health, safety, or property rights of a
Private Nuisance
when private land is invaded by intangibles that substantially and unreasonably interfere
Substantial and Unreasonable Interference
Interference is substantial when it would be offensive,
bundle of legal rights
is the: right to ownership of the land, bundle of legal rights, and evidence of ownership provided by a
right or privilege associated with real property in some way such as a parking space at a condo
Personal Property (chattel)
includes moveable items: chair or sofa
Legal tests for a fixture
include: method of annexation: not easily removable
trade fixtures
include property attached to the structure but used in the course of business such as
Characteristics of real estate
include ECONOMIC factors (scarcity, improvements, permancence of investment, &
uniqueness of real property