Property law is the area of law that governs who owns lands and personal items and how they can use them. In the context of real estate, it focuses exclusively on land, referred to in legal jargon as “real property.” Read on to find out about the different types of property law that focus on real property.
There are many ways to own land. Some landowners have sole ownership over a piece of property, while others have a joint tenancy. The legal documents that state ownership of real property are called deeds and the type of deed held by a landowner helps to define his or her legal interest.
Warranty deeds guarantee complete legal ownership of the property to an individual or group. Quitclaim deeds only define the right that an individual or group has to the property and its use. Those interested in purchasing real estate should contact Jason Katims to have their deeds reviewed and translated into easier to understand terms so they can understand what, exactly, they will be getting for their money.
Zoning laws are put into place by local governments to restrict the use of real property. They may include zoning a particular piece of land for residential, commercial, or industrial uses or they may be more specific. Landowners need to understand the zoning laws, including any stipulations regarding required setbacks from the road and other particulars if they want to avoid legal troubles. Zoning laws are usually enforced by government attorneys, but they can be challenged by landowners with private attorneys.
Eminent Domain Law
The phrase eminent domain refers to the government’s right to take real property from private landowners if it is determined to be in the best interests of the public. The landowner must be fairly compensated, and those who do not want to give up their land are entitled to challenge the order. Attorneys who practice property law can either enforce eminent domain or challenge the orders on behalf of private clients.
Private Land-Use Laws
Private land-use laws are essentially the private equivalent of zoning laws. They’re usually created and enforced by homeowner associations. These property restrictions are enforced by private attorneys, but each state has different laws governing how homeowner associations can establish and enforce laws.
Rights to Use
Some pieces of real property have natural resources or unique ecosystems that are afforded protection under state or national laws. This area of property law concerns how property owners can use the resources or alter the ecosystems on their properties. The right to use a piece of land can also come up or be contested when easements or rights of access come into play. Rights to use and land protections can all be contested or enforced by a property lawyer.
Estate law covers the transfer of both real and personal property. Lawyers who practice in this area can help clients draw up wills or establish trusts, help their beneficiaries handle probate, and resolve any disputes that may occur surrounding the transfer of real property to family members or other beneficiaries.
The Bottom Line
Property law covers far more than just deeds and real estate transfers. If landowners or potential buyers looking for a piece of property find themselves overwhelmed or confused, they shouldn’t hesitate to hire a property attorney to answer questions or resolve disputes.