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Property Law Cheat Sheet by

Property rights

Bundle of sticks:
Right to exclude- essential stick in the bundle
Right to possess
Right to use
Right to destroy
Right to transfer/ alienate


Treble Damages
Punitive Damages

Competing Justif­ication for Property Rights

First Possession
Labor/ investment
Effici­ency/ maximi­zation of social welfare
Distri­butive Justice
Sovereign Authority
Gifts and Inheri­tance


A non trespa­ssory interf­erence with property rights
(must be a substa­ntial interf­erence)
What is the harm
What is the benefit
Suitab­ility for location of activity
Fairness consid­eration
Can nuisance be abated
Who was there first
Is P being sensitive


Unpriv­ileged intent­ional intrusion on property possessed by another
Criminal trespass- Asked to leave but do not
License: permission to enter property possessed by another (revoc­able)

Landlord Tenant Law

Types of tenancy:
terms of year
definite/ fixed period
period tenancy
indefinite in length
tenancy at will
terminated by either party at any time
tenancy at sufferance
Relati­onship between LL and tenant who wrongfully holds over after termin­ation

Flexib­ility in Zoning: Variance

undue hardship

Zoning- taking of right

type of project
location of project
ultimate cost
amount accomp­lished under conformity

Improving Trespasser

Somebody builds on land and improves the value


Minority Rule
Cannot exclude unreas­onably
Majority Rule
Right to refuse service to anyone unless they are protected by law. (This does not apply to common carriers and inn keepers)

Trespass Defenses

Human Value
Consent is effective even if procured by fraud

Prescr­iptive Easement - Elements

Open and notorious
(acqui­esce- owner knew but did nothing to stop)
Adverse and hostile
(open and notorious will be presumed to be adverse)

Adverse Possession

(depending on customs of that land)
Open and Notorious
(Can use tacking approach)
Without owner permission
For a period of time set by the statute of limita­tions
Color of title
(Faulty paperwork- should convey title but does not) **only in some jurisd­ictions


runs with the land
In gross
For an individual
Express Easement
by grant
scope of easment
language of deed
extrinsic evidence
burden on servient estate
servient land
burdened land
dominant land
benefited land

Steps to solve a servitude problem

Is this appurt­enant or in gross
Benefit of each
Look at language

Easement by Estoppel

CAnnot revoke license if it is relied upon

Easement by Implied Prior Use

2 parcels were at one time in common ownership
1 parcel had derived benefit from the other parcel
Use was apparent and continuous
Contin­uation of use id "­rea­sonably necess­ary­"

Real Covenant

Covenant in writing
actual, inquiry, record
intent for burden and benefit run with the land
touch and concern the land
vertical and horizontal
Money damages

Equitable Servitude Approach

covenant in writing
touch and concern land
injunctive relief

Implied Reciprocal Negative Servitude

Even if restri­ctions are not specified at the outset, they may be implied in the court of law
Common owner subdivides property into a number of lots
Common owner has an intention to create a common plan or scheme of develo­pment for the property as a whole
Vast majority of subdivided lots contain restri­ctive covenants that reflect the general scheme
The property against which applic­ation of an implied covenant is sought was intended to be part of the general scheme of develo­pment AND
The purchasers of the lot in question had notice (actual, constr­uctive, or inquiry)

Restri­ctions to Covenants

Can enforce restri­ctions as long as its not unreas­onable
Restri­ctions/ covenants cannot be contrary to public policy


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