What is Property?
Property in the legal sense is what belongs directly to or by someone, whether in physical form or as part of that thing. It is something acquired by legal process, i.e., the transfer by one person of his ownership to another, the one who did the transferring, being a third party, i.e., a creditor. It is also something immovable, i.e., something immovable except for its use or ability to be used, and not merely its possession. It can be something held or kept by one person as his proprietary or personal property. In fact, the entire idea of the word ‘property’ refers to ownership.
The modern concept of property rights is nothing but the legal recognition of actual possession, right of ownership, and exclusive right to do whatever you want with your personal property. The concept of property rights was reflected in common law, where each individual had proprietary rights, above and beyond his physical possession. These rights included possession, use, exchange, inheritance, and even freedom. These rights were defined by the law to have been acquired by virtue of a contract, and were not thereby absolute. There was always a balance between these two. In today’s vocabulary, however, the balance has been shifted towards personal property rights, which are now considered to be the natural law of property.
The idea of property is also related to the concept of ownership. Property actually includes several different types of ownership, and their distinctions become more clear when grouped under categories: private property (which includes common property, proprietary property, public property, residential property, etc. ), collectively owned property, and involuntary property. Private property is not generally seen to include things like buildings or personal possessions. Collective property is property that one individually owns, and can be inherited, purchased, and transferred within a group. The difference between involuntary property is the right to exclude others from ownership.
The idea of property rights is also closely tied to the idea of legal rights. Private property rights include those who own buildings, and the rights to do with them, while collective property rights include those who own pieces of land collectively. Some examples of legal rights include freedom of speech and press, the right to assemble, privacy, freedom of contract, and the right to an inheritance. All of these have to do with owning real estate. However, in today’s day and age, all types of property rights are no longer just the defender of one’s individual rights. They have also become the rights of all humans.
Private property rights are based on the idea that there are certain boundaries, and there are customary laws that determine where these boundaries are. The boundaries that are defined here may be based on race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, religion, or age. For instance, a boundary that excludes Asian Americans from owning any real estate in the country would be considered as discriminatory under the law. The same would also hold true for the boundaries surrounding Western Europe and the United States, respectively.
Although private property rights are based on the notion of individual ownership, there are many different types of open-access property. One type is land ownership, which is dictated by common law and is often protected by easements, proprietary rights, and other forms of proprietary interest. Another type of open-access property is motor vehicle ownership, which is regulated by both state and federal laws. Yet another type of open-access property is recreational vehicle ownership, which is often protected by zoning laws and is generally not affected by common law.