Land Ownership Rights

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Land Ownership Rights

There are a number of rights that are inseparable from land ownership. Once you purchase a piece of land, you will most likely have the following rights:

Surface Rights

A landowner has a right to occupy the surface of his/her land.

Subterranean Rights

A landowner has a right to valuable things (such as oil, minerals, and any other substances) found beneath the land's surface.

Air Rights

A landowner has a right to the air above and below his/her to a reasonable extent. See air space rights for a more detailed discussion.

Vegetation Rights

A landowner has a right to plant trees, crops, and other vegetation on his/her land.

Improvement Rights

A landowner has a right to improve and place fixtures on his/her land (such as a shed or a patio).

Right to Lateral and Subjacent Support

A landowner has a right to stop his/her neighbors from excavating or otherwise changing their land such that it would damage his/her land and/or building. See lateral and subjacent support for a more detailed discussion.

Right to Be Free Of Public Or Private Nuisances

A landowner has a right to request a court order to stop non-consented interferences with his/her enjoyment of the land. Examples of nuisances include pollution, noxious odors, and excessive noise.

Riparian Rights

A landowner has a right to use the natural waterway within his/her land. See riparian ownership for a more detailed discussion.

Are There Limits to How a Landowner May Exercise These Rights?

Yes. For one, a landowner usually may not exercise his/her rights in a way that will interfere with another landowner's rights.

Furthermore, government may impose zoning law and special building law that will limit how a landowner may use his/her land. The government may even exercise the power of eminent domain and take away a landowner's land.

There may also be private restrictions place on the deed of the land between the buyer and the seller, and these restrictions will usually be valid unless they contradict public policy.

Do I Need an Attorney?

Real estate and property law can be very complex and frustrating. Laws not only vary from state to state, but from city to city. An attorney can make sure that your property transaction conforms to all local laws. Whether you are a homeowner or just renting, a lawyer can help resolve your real estate and property law problem.

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Last Modified: 02-04-2014 03:48 PM PST

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