Bundle of rights

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The bundle of rights is a metaphor to explain the complexities of property ownership. [1] Law school professors of introductory property law courses frequently use this conceptualization to describe "full" property ownership as a partition of various entitlements of different stakeholders. [2]

Property, in the abstract, is what belongs to or with something, whether as an attribute or as a component of said thing. In the context of this article, it is one or more components, whether physical or incorporeal, of a person's estate; or so belonging to, as in being owned by, a person or jointly a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation or even a society. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property has the right to consume, alter, share, redefine, rent, mortgage, pawn, sell, exchange, transfer, give away or destroy it, or to exclude others from doing these things, as well as to perhaps abandon it; whereas regardless of the nature of the property, the owner thereof has the right to properly use it, or at the very least exclusively keep it.

Stakeholder analysis is the process of assessing a system and potential changes to it as they relate to relevant and interested parties (stakeholders). This information is used to assess how the interests of those stakeholders should be addressed in a project plan, policy, program, or other action. Stakeholder analysis is a key part of stakeholder management. A stakeholder analysis of an issue consists of weighing and balancing all of the competing demands on a firm by each of those who have a claim on it, in order to arrive at the firm's obligation in a particular case. A stakeholder analysis does not preclude the interests of the stakeholders overriding the interests of the other stakeholders affected, but it ensures that all affected will be considered.

Contents

The bundle of rights is commonly taught in US first-year law school property classes to explain how a property can simultaneously be "owned" by multiple parties. The term, "bundle of rights," likely came into use during the late 19th century and continued to gain ground thereafter. Prior to that, the idea of property entailed more the owner's dominion over a thing, placing restrictions on others from interfering with the owner's property. "Bundle of rights," however, implies rules specifying, proscribing, or authorizing actions on the part of the owner. [3]

Ownership of land is a much more complex proposition than simply acquiring all the rights to it. It is useful to imagine a bundle of rights that can be separated and reassembled. A "bundle of sticks" - in which each stick represents an individual right – is a common analogy made for the bundle of rights. Any property owner possesses a set of "sticks" related directly to the land. [4]

Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory. Rights are of essential importance in such disciplines as law and ethics, especially theories of justice and deontology.

For example, perfection of a mechanic's lien takes some, but not all, rights out of the bundle held by the owner. Extinguishing that lien returns those rights or "sticks" to the bundle held by the owner. In the United States (and under common law) the fullest possible title to real estate is called "fee simple absolute." Even the US federal government's ownership of land is restricted in some ways by state property law.

A mechanic's lien is a security interest in the title to property for the benefit of those who have supplied labor or materials that improve the property. The lien exists for both real property and personal property. In the realm of real property, it is called by various names, including, generically, construction lien. It is also called a materialman's lien or supplier's lien when referring to those supplying materials, a laborer's lien when referring to those supplying labor, and a design professional's lien when referring to architects or designers who contribute to a work of improvement. In the realm of personal property, it is also called an artisan's lien. The term "lien" comes from a French root, with a meaning similar to link; it is related to "liaison". Mechanic's liens on property in the United States date from the 18th century.

A lien is a form of security interest granted over an item of property to secure the payment of a debt or performance of some other obligation. The owner of the property, who grants the lien, is referred to as the lienee and the person who has the benefit of the lien is referred to as the lienor or lien holder.

In English law, a fee simple or fee simple absolute is an estate in land, a form of freehold ownership. It is a way that real estate and land may be owned in common law countries, and is the highest possible ownership interest that can be held in real property. Allodial title is reserved to governments under a civil law structure. The rights of the fee simple owner are limited by government powers of taxation, compulsory purchase, police power, and escheat, and it could also be limited further by certain encumbrances or conditions in the deed, such as, for example, a condition that required the land to be used as a public park, with a reversion interest in the grantor if the condition fails; this is a fee simple conditional.

Variations on the concept

Variations on the division between public and private property use can be found throughout the world. While the bundle of rights concept is strongly rooted in common law, there are comparable ideas in civil law systems and religious law systems. National, sub-national, and municipal laws strongly influence what title owners can do with their property in terms of physical development. Quasi-governmental bodies (such as utility companies) are also permitted to create easements across private property.

Common law Law developed by judges

In law, common law is the body of law derived from judicial decisions of courts and similar tribunals. The defining characteristic of “common law” is that it arises as precedent. In cases where the parties disagree on what the law is, a common law court looks to past precedential decisions of relevant courts, and synthesizes the principles of those past cases as applicable to the current facts. If a similar dispute has been resolved in the past, the court is usually bound to follow the reasoning used in the prior decision. If, however, the court finds that the current dispute is fundamentally distinct from all previous cases, and legislative statutes are either silent or ambiguous on the question, judges have the authority and duty to resolve the issue. The court states an opinion that gives reasons for the decision, and those reasons agglomerate with past decisions as precedent to bind future judges and litigants. Common law, as the body of law made by judges, stands in contrast to and on equal footing with statutes which are adopted through the legislative process, and regulations which are promulgated by the executive branch. Stare decisis, the principle that cases should be decided according to consistent principled rules so that similar facts will yield similar results, lies at the heart of all common law systems.

Public utility organization that maintains the infrastructure for a public service

A public utility company is an organization that maintains the infrastructure for a public service. Public utilities are subject to forms of public control and regulation ranging from local community-based groups to statewide government monopolies.

An easement is a nonpossessory right to use and/or enter onto the real property of another without possessing it. It is "best typified in the right of way which one landowner, A, may enjoy over the land of another, B". It is similar to real covenants and equitable servitudes; in the United States, the Restatement (Third) of Property takes steps to merge these concepts as servitudes.

Historically the degrees of individual and community control over real property have varied greatly. The differences between capitalism, despotism, socialism, feudalism, and traditional societies often define different standards for land ownership. The bundle of rights concept looks much different when examined by different types of societies. For instance, a laissez-faire government would allow a much different bundle of rights than a communist government.

Laissez-faire is an economic system in which transactions between private parties are free from any form of government intervention such as regulation, privileges, imperialism, tariffs and subsidies. Proponents of laissez faire argue for a complete separation of government from the economic sector. The phrase laissez-faire is part of a larger French phrase and literally translates to 'let [it/them] do'; however, in this context, the phrase usually means 'let go'.

Applications

Community land trusts and land banking are examples of efforts to rearrange the bundle of rights. This is typically done by dividing the responsibilities of ownership and management from the rights to use the property. A typical community land trust strategy is to hold ownership over the land and sell the structural improvements (residential or other buildings) to low-income homebuyers. This allows people to buy a home at a price far below the market rate and to realize the benefits of their property value improving.

Real Estate Investment Trusts divide up the bundle of rights in order to allow commercial investments in real property. These legal structures are becoming more common throughout the developed world.

Squatting presents a non-economic way for people to transfer parts of the bundle of rights. Depending on the applicable laws, a squatter can acquire property rights by simply occupying vacant land for an extended period of time. Areas with high concentrations of squatters are sometimes thought of as informal settlements. Squatters face great instability due to their lack of title and governmental efforts at "blight removal".

"Squatting" can result in "adverse possession", that in common law, is the process by which title to another's real property is acquired without compensation, by holding the property in a manner that conflicts with the true owner's rights for a specified period of time. Circumstances of the adverse possession determine the type of title acquired by the adverse possessor, which may be fee simple title, mineral rights, or another interest in real property.

Examples of Component Rights

This table breaks down some of the various rights involved in real property ownership. Several of these rights can be transferred between different parties through sale or trade. Third parties can obtain the rights to access and profit from several of the public use rights without the consent of the title owner. This is often the case with resource extraction companies such as mines.

Title OwnerPublic UseGovernmentThird Party

For example, a husband and wife can be owners (technically, title owners) of real property that is also encumbered by a mortgage and a mechanics lien. Their neighbor may have an easement for a utility line, and a license for entry and exit to a nearby plot of land. Airplanes have the right to fly through their airspace. Constitutionally, the state and federal governments always hold the right to condemnation, also called eminent domain, and the government at multiple levels retains various regulatory rights such as environmental regulation, zoning, and building code enforcement.

See also


Related Research Articles

Property law is the area of law that governs the various forms of ownership and tenancy in real property and in personal property, within the common law legal system. In the civil law system, there is a division between movable and immovable property. Movable property roughly corresponds to personal property, while immovable property corresponds to real estate or real property, and the associated rights, and obligations thereon.

Personal property is property that is movable. In common law systems, personal property may also be called chattels or personalty. In civil law systems, personal property is often called movable property or movables – any property that can be moved from one location to another.

Squatting The occupation of derelict land or an empty building without the permission of the owner

Squatting is the action of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied area of land or a building, usually residential, that the squatter does not own, rent or otherwise have lawful permission to use. Author Robert Neuwirth suggested in 2004 that there were one billion squatters globally.

Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property, which may be an object, land or real estate, or intellectual property. Ownership involves multiple rights, collectively referred to as title, which may be separated and held by different parties.

In property law, a title is a bundle of rights in a piece of property in which a party may own either a legal interest or equitable interest. The rights in the bundle may be separated and held by different parties. It may also refer to a formal document, such as a deed, that serves as evidence of ownership. Conveyance of the document may be required in order to transfer ownership in the property to another person. Title is distinct from possession, a right that often accompanies ownership but is not necessarily sufficient to prove it. In many cases, possession and title may each be transferred independently of the other. For real property, land registration and recording provide public notice of ownership information.

A mortgage is a security interest in real property held by a lender as a security for a debt, usually a loan of money. A mortgage in itself is not a debt, it is the lender's security for a debt. It is a transfer of an interest in land from the owner to the mortgage lender, on the condition that this interest will be returned to the owner when the terms of the mortgage have been satisfied or performed. In other words, the mortgage is a security for the loan that the lender makes to the borrower.

This aims to be a complete list of the articles on real estate.

There are two distinct definitions of a land trust:

An estate in land is an interest in real property that is or may become possessory.

Adverse possession, sometimes colloquially described as "squatter's rights", is a legal principle under which a person who does not have legal title to a piece of property—usually land —acquires legal ownership based on continuous possession or occupation of the land without the permission of its legal owner.

In common law systems, land tenure is the legal regime in which land is owned by an individual, who is said to "hold" the land. It determines who can use land, for how long and under what conditions. Tenure may be based both on official laws and policies, and on informal customs. In other words, land tenure system implies a system according to which land is held by an individual or the actual tiller of the land. It determines the owners rights and responsibilities in connection with their holding. The French verb "tenir" means "to hold" and "tenant" is the present participle of "tenir". The sovereign monarch, known as The Crown, held land in its own right. All private owners are either its tenants or sub-tenants. Tenure signifies the relationship between tenant and lord, not the relationship between tenant and land. Over history, many different forms of land ownership, i.e., ways of owning land, have been established.

Recorder of deeds

Recorder of deeds or Deeds registry is a government office tasked with maintaining public records and documents, especially records relating to real estate ownership that provide persons other than the owner of a property with real rights over that property.

In property law, a concurrent estate or co-tenancy is any of various ways in which property is owned by more than one person at a time. If more than one person owns the same property, they are commonly referred to as co-owners. Legal terminology for co-owners of real estate is either co-tenants or joint tenants, with the latter phrase signifying a right of survivorship. Most common law jurisdictions recognize tenancies in common and joint tenancies.

Creative real estate investing is any non-traditional method of buying and selling real estate. Confidence tricks and pyramid schemes in the 20th and 21st century such as Nouveau Riche have embraced the term, leading contemporary usage of the term to be synonymous with unscrupulous practices.

Squatting in England and Wales Occupation of unused land or derelict buildings in England and Wales

Squatting in England and Wales usually refers to a person who is not the owner, taking possession of land or an empty house. People squat for a variety of reasons which include needing a home, protest, poverty, and recreation. Many squats are residential, some are also opened as social centres. Land may be occupied by New Age travellers or treesitters.

Squatting in the United States describes the legal and practical aspects of squatting in the United States of America.

Real property legal term; property consisting of land and the buildings on it

In English common law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is land which is the property of some person and all structures integrated with or affixed to the land, including crops, buildings, machinery, wells, dams, ponds, mines, canals, and roads, among other things. The term is historic, arising from the now-discontinued form of action, which distinguished between real property disputes and personal property disputes. Personal property was, and continues to be, all property that is not real property.

Squatting in Australia Occupation of unused land or derelict buildings without permission of owner

Squatting in Australia usually refers to a person who is not the owner, taking possession of land or an empty house. In 19th century Australian history, a squatter was a settler who occupied a large tract of Crown land in order to graze livestock. At first this was done illegally, later under license.

References

  1. http://scholarship.law.uc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1164&context=uclr
  2. http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4601&context=fss_papers
  3. Klein, Daniel B. and John Robinson. "Property: A Bundle of Rights? Prologue to the Property Symposium," Econ Journal Watch 8(3): 193-204, Sept 2011.
  4. E.g., United States v. Craft, 535 U.S. 274, 278, 152 L.Ed. 2d 437, 446, 122 S.Ct. 1414, 1420 (2002) (describing the "bundle of sticks" as a "collection of individual rights which, in certain combinations, constitute property").