Intentional Interference with Property Rights

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Intentional Interference with Property Rights

The ability to own property is recognized as a basic human right. When someone interferences with another person’s property rights, serious criminal or civil penalties may result.

In civil law, the intentional interference with property rights is an area of tort law. The most common property torts are trespass to land, trespass to chattel, and conversion.

Defenses to the Intentional Interference with Another’s Property Rights

The most common defense to property torts is consent. If the plaintiff gave the alleged trespasser express or implied consent to enter the land or possess the chattel, the alleged trespasser has not committed a trespass. However, the consent must have been effective. The following three elements are necessary ingredients of effective consent:

Another common defense is necessity. Necessity takes place when the trespasser invades the plaintiff’s property because of an emergency. There are two types of necessity: public necessity and private necessity.

Remedies for Property Torts

The most common remedies for property torts are damages, replevin, ejectment, and injunction.

Injunction: In an injunction, the trespasser is ordered (enjoined) to refrain from trespassing. An injunction is only appropriate if damages, replevin, and ejectment are inadequate. Damages may be inadequate if they are too speculative, the injury is irreparable, or the trespasser is insolvent. Replevin and ejectment may be inadequate if the sheriff refuses to act.

Should I Consult a Lawyer?

If someone has intentionally interfered with your property rights, you should consult an experienced property law attorney. Your attorney can evaluate your case and discuss possible remedies.

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Last Modified: 11-13-2013 11:25 AM PST

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