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Real Property Real property is land and anything permanently attached to it, like a well or a a house. The most complete ownership in land is called a fee simple or a fee simple absolute. If someone owns property in fee simple, the land can be sold or inherited without limitation or restriction. Every other type of ownership is an ownership of lesser degree. People can own land together. The two most common are tenancies in common and joint tenancies. A tenancy in common is joint ownership by two or more people who have an undivided ownership in the property. In other words, when one owner dies, that share of ownership is passed on to the person?s heirs. Joint tenancy is an estate held by two or more people who have an equal right to share in its enjoyment. Each owner owns the entire property, subject to the rights of the other owner. Joint tenancy includes a right of survivorship. If one owner dies, that share goes to the remaining owner. In some states, if there are more than two owners, the joint tenancy is extinguished at the death of one of the owners, making the new estate a tenancy in common. Sometimes, people do not own real property, but have a right to inhabit it. A life estate is an example, as is a leasehold.
Personal Property and Bailments Personal property is anything that is subject to ownership, other than real property. In the legal field, personal property may also be called chattel or personalty (not personality). This kind of property may be either: 1. tangible?something that can be touched; or 2. intangible?something that cannot be touched, but that can be owned or possessed, like a patent or copyright. When personal property is attached to real property, it becomes a part of the real property, and is called a fixture. When the real property is transferred or sold, the fixture must stay with the real property. Think of central heating and air. If, however, a business tenant attaches personal property necessary to run the business to real property, it is not a fixture, but is a trade fixture. It does not become a part of the real property and may be removed when the business tenant leaves. Personal property may be transferred by the person who owns it to another. One way that personal property is transferred is by sale. The sale of goods (movable personal property) is governed in most states by the Uniform Commercial Code. When goods are sold, there is always a guarantee that the seller has the legal right to transfer the goods, but other guarantees may exist. If the guarantee is made in writing, it is an express warranty. Some guarantees are imposed by law and are called implied warranties. These warranties can only be eliminated if done so expressly and ?conspicuously.? Sometimes, a person will allow another to hold property without transferring title. This arrangement is called a bailment. Check your text for good examples of a bailment.