Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Real Property Definition:

A property interest in land.

Related Terms: Real Estate, Real Obligation, Immovable, Fixtures, Chattel, Personal Property, Mobilia Sequuntur Personam, Immobilia Situa, Heritage, Antichresis, Property, Deed

Immovable property such as land or a building or an object that, though at one time a chattel, has become permanently affixed to land or a building.

Contrasted with personal property (aka chattels).

Robert Megarry in The Law of Real Property (London: Stevens and Sons, 1975, p.10-11) says that:

"All interests in land are real property with the exception of (leases), which are classified as (personal property)."

Back in 1897, in his edition of that year of his Law Dictionary (Boston: The Boston Book Company, p. 827) American jurist John Bouvier defined real property as follows:

"Land, and generally whatever is affixed to land; also rights issuing out of, annexed to, and exercisable within or about the same."

houseWilliam Blackstone, in his 1756-1759 Commentaries on the Laws of England (Volume 2), wrote:

"Things real are such as are permanent, fixed and immovable; which cannot be carried out of their place, as lands and tenements.

"Things personal are goods, money and all other moveable; which may attend the owner's person wherever he thinks proper to go."

In New York and Ottawa R. Co. v Township of Cornwall (15 DLR 433, 1913), the railway company sought to avoid taxes by claiming that its bridge across the St. Lawrence River was not real property. Quoting from the relevant statutory definition, Judge Britton found that:

"Real property shall include the buildings or any part of any building and all structures. This bridge is real estate, real property...."

Similar to the civil law concept of immovables.

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