|Part of the common law series|
|Estates in land|
|Future use control|
|Other common law areas|
Higher category: Law and Common law
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.
Personal property can be understood in comparison to real estate, immovable property or real property (such as land and buildings).
Movable property on land (larger livestock, for example) was not automatically sold with the land, it was "personal" to the owner and moved with the owner.
The word cattle is the Old Norman variant of Old French chatel, chattel (derived from Latin capitalis, "of the head"), which was once synonymous with general movable personal property. 
Personal property may be classified in a variety of ways.
Intangible personal property or "intangibles" refers to personal property that cannot actually be moved, touched or felt, but instead represents something of value such as negotiable instruments, securities, service (economics), and intangible assets including chose in action.
Tangible personal property refers to any type of property that can generally be moved (i.e., it is not attached to real property or land), touched or felt. These generally include items such as furniture, clothing, jewelry, art, writings, or household goods. In some cases, there can be formal title documents that show the ownership and transfer rights of that property after a person's death (for example, motor vehicles, boats, etcetera) In many cases, however, tangible personal property will not be "titled" in an owner's name and is presumed to be whatever property he or she was in possession of at the time of his or her death.
Accountants distinguish personal property from real property because personal property can be depreciated faster than improvements (while land is not depreciable at all). It is an owner's right to get tax benefits for chattel, and there are businesses that specialize in appraising personal property, or chattel.
The distinction between these types of property is significant for a variety of reasons. Usually one's rights on movables are more attenuated than one's rights on immovables (or real property). The statutes of limitations or prescriptive periods are usually shorter when dealing with personal or movable property. Real property rights are usually enforceable for a much longer period of time and in most jurisdictions real estate and immovables are registered in government-sanctioned land registers. In some jurisdictions, rights (such as a lien or other security interest) can be registered against personal or movable property.
In common law it is possible to place a mortgage upon real property. Such a mortgage requires payment or the owner of the mortgage can seek foreclosure. Personal property can often be secured with a similar kind of device, variously called a chattel mortgage , a trust receipt, or a security interest . In the United States, Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code governs the creation and enforcement of security interests in most (but not all) types of personal property.
There is no similar institution to the mortgage in the civil law, however a hypothec is a device to secure real rights against property. These real rights follow the property along with the ownership. In common law a lien also remains on the property and it is not extinguished by alienation of the property; liens may be real or equitable.
Many jurisdictions levy a personal property tax, an annual tax on the privilege of owning or possessing personal property within the boundaries of the jurisdiction. Automobile and boat registration fees are a subset of this tax. Most household goods are exempt as long as they are kept or used within the household.
The distinction between tangible and intangible personal property is also significant in some of the jurisdictions which impose sales taxes. In Canada, for example, provincial and federal sales taxes were imposed primarily on sales of tangible personal property whereas sales of intangibles tended to be exempt. The move to value added taxes, under which almost all transactions are taxable, has diminished the significance of the distinction.
In political/economic theory, notably socialist, Marxist, and many anarchist philosophies[ citation needed ], the distinction between private and personal property is an important one. In capitalism private and personal property are considered to be of equal importance and significance without the need for making a distinction.[ citation needed ]
Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have 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 under the granted property rights.
Property law is the area of law that governs the various forms of ownership in real property (land) and personal property. Property refers to legally protected claims to resources, such as land and personal property, including intellectual property. Property can be exchanged through contract law, and if property is violated, one could sue under tort law to protect it.
Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which is owned by a state entity, and from collective or cooperative property, which is owned by a group of non-governmental entities.
Ownership is the state or fact of legal possession and control over property, which may be any asset, tangible or intangible. Ownership can involve multiple rights, collectively referred to as title, which may be separated and held by different parties.
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.
A mortgage is a legal instrument of the common law which is used to create a security interest in real property held by a lender as a security for a debt, usually a mortgage loan. Hypothec is the corresponding term in civil law jurisdictions, albeit with a wider sense, as it also covers non-possessory lien.
This aims to be a complete list of the articles on real estate.
Foreclosure is a legal process in which a lender attempts to recover the balance of a loan from a borrower who has stopped making payments to the lender by forcing the sale of the asset used as the collateral for the loan.
Hypothec, sometimes tacit hypothec, is a term used in civil law systems or mixed legal systems to refer to a registered non-possessory real security over real estate, but under some jurisdictions it may sometimes also denote security on other collaterals such as securities, intellectual property rights or corporeal movable property, either ships only as opposed to other movables covered by a different type of right (pledge) in the legal systems of some countries, or any movables in legal systems of other countries. The common law has two equivalents to the term, namely mortgage and non-possessory lien.
A capital asset is defined as property of any kind held by an assessee, whether connected with their business or profession or not connected with their business or profession. It includes all kinds of property, movable or immovable, tangible or intangible, fixed or circulating. Thus, land and building, plant and machinery, motorcar, furniture, jewellery, route permits, goodwill, tenancy rights, patents, trademarks, shares, debentures, securities, units, mutual funds, zero-coupon bonds etc. are capital assets.
Intangible property, also known as incorporeal property, is something that a person or corporation can have ownership of and can transfer ownership to another person or corporation, but has no physical substance, for example brand identity or knowledge/intellectual property. It generally refers to statutory creations, such as copyright, trademarks, or patents. It excludes tangible property like real property and personal property. In some jurisdictions, intangible property are referred to as choses in action. Intangible property is used in distinction to tangible property. It is useful to note that there are two forms of intangible property: legal intangible property and competitive intangible property. Competitive intangible property disobeys the intellectual property test of voluntary extinguishment and therefore results in the sources that create intellectual property escaping quantification.
A floating charge is a security interest over a fund of changing assets of a company or other legal person. Unlike a fixed charge, which is created over ascertained and definite property, a floating charge is created over property of an ambulatory and shifting nature, such as receivables and stock.
In finance, a security interest is a legal right granted by a debtor to a creditor over the debtor's property which enables the creditor to have recourse to the property if the debtor defaults in making payment or otherwise performing the secured obligations. One of the most common examples of a security interest is a mortgage: a person borrows money from the bank to buy a house, and they grant a mortgage over the house so that if they default in repaying the loan, the bank can sell the house and apply the proceeds to the outstanding loan.
Australian property law, or property law in Australia, is the system of laws regulating and prioritising the Property law rights, interests and responsibilities of individuals in relation to "things". These things are a form of "property" or "right" to possession or ownership of an object. The law orders or prioritises rights and classifies property as either real and tangible, such as land, or intangible, such as the right of an author to their literary works or personal but tangible, such as a book or a pencil. The scope of what constitutes a thing capable of being classified as property and when an individual or body corporate gains priority of interest over a thing has in legal scholarship been heavily debated on a philosophical level.
English property law is the law of acquisition, sharing and protection of valuable assets in England and Wales. While part of the United Kingdom, many elements of Scots property law are different. In England, property law encompasses four main topics:
Conversion is an intentional tort consisting of "taking with the intent of exercising over the chattel an ownership inconsistent with the real owner's right of possession". In England & Wales, it is a tort of strict liability. Its equivalents in criminal law include larceny or theft and criminal conversion. In those jurisdictions that recognise it, criminal conversion is a lesser crime than theft/larceny.
Most local governments in the United States impose a property tax, also known as a millage rate, as a principal source of revenue. This tax may be imposed on real estate or personal property. The tax is nearly always computed as the fair market value of the property times an assessment ratio times a tax rate, and is generally an obligation of the owner of the property. Values are determined by local officials, and may be disputed by property owners. For the taxing authority, one advantage of the property tax over the sales tax or income tax is that the revenue always equals the tax levy, unlike the other taxes. The property tax typically produces the required revenue for municipalities' tax levies. A disadvantage to the taxpayer is that the tax liability is fixed, while the taxpayer's income is not.
South African property law regulates the "rights of people in or over certain objects or things." It is concerned, in other words, with a person's ability to undertake certain actions with certain kinds of objects in accordance with South African law. Among the formal functions of South African property law is the harmonisation of individual interests in property, the guarantee and protection of individual rights with respect to property, and the control of proprietary relationships between persons, as well as their rights and obligations. The protective clause for property rights in the Constitution of South Africa stipulates those proprietary relationships which qualify for constitutional protection. The most important social function of property law in South Africa is to manage the competing interests of those who acquire property rights and interests. In recent times, restrictions on the use of and trade in private property have been on the rise.
English personal property law is a branch of English property law concerned with non-land based property interests.
In English common law, real property, real estate, immovable property or, solely in the US and Canada, realty, 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, roads, and 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, or personalty, was, and continues to be, all property that is not real property.