Real property

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In English common law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is land which is the property of some person and all structures (also called improvements or fixtures) integrated with or affixed to the land, including crops, buildings, machinery, wells, dams, ponds, mines, canals, and roads, among 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 was, and continues to be, all property that is not real property.

In countries with personal ownership of real property, civil law protects the status of real property in real-estate markets, where estate agents work in the market of buying and selling real estate. Scottish civil law calls real property "heritable property", and in French-based law, it is called immobilier ("immovable property").

Historical background

The word "real" derives from Latin res ("thing"), which was used in Middle English to mean "relating to things, especially real property".[1]

In common law, real property was property that could be protected by some form of real action,[clarification needed] in contrast to personal property, where a plaintiff would have to resort to another form of action. As a result of this formalist approach, some things the common law deems to be land would not be classified as such by most modern legal systems, for example an advowson (the right to nominate a priest) was real property. By contrast the rights of a leaseholder originate in personal actions and so the common law originally treated a leasehold as part of personal property.[citation needed]

The law now broadly distinguishes between real property (land and anything affixed to it) and personal property (everything else, e.g., clothing, furniture, money). The conceptual difference was between immovable property, which would transfer title along with the land, and movable property, which a person would retain title to.

In modern legal systems derived from English common law, classification of property as real or personal may vary somewhat according to jurisdiction or, even within jurisdictions, according to purpose, as in defining whether and how the property may be taxed.

Bethell (1998) contains much historical information on the historical evolution of real property and property rights.

Other Languages
eesti: Kinnistu
français: Immobilier
Bahasa Indonesia: Real property
Nederlands: Vastgoedsector
português: Setor imobiliário
svenska: Fast egendom
中文: 房地产