Who Owns Property?
In the real world, property is a thing that is bought and sold by individuals. It is not so much a physical possession as it is an abstract right or “right to have”. In simple terms, property in the tangible world is what actually belongs to you, whether as part of something or as an additional feature of that thing. In other words, you own a house, but this does not mean that the house itself belongs to you. The house is a feature of a building or structure which belongs to someone else.
So, when someone else becomes the owner of a specific property, they are said to “own the property”, whether they physically posses it or not. This applies whether the property in question belongs to someone else or not. When a bank owns a piece of property, for example, they are said to “own the property” because they are legally allowed by law to own it. A piece of land that has been developed into an apartment complex, for example, does not convey ownership of the land to the people who own the apartments in the development. It just so happens that the people who occupy the apartments actually “live in” the complex.
The mere fact that a person owns a specific property does not mean that they technically have ownership of that property. It only means that they have “ownership” in it theoretically, i.e. through legal formalities, but this is not where ownership ends.
There are two main ways in which ownership is determined. Property can be transferred by one person to another. Property can also be derived from a decedent, either before or after that person dies. Property is also an idea, which signifies things that are regarded as actual in nature. These include things like an estate, a building, or personal property.
All property, including property owned outright or by someone else, is owned by the legal institutions that grant it. In a very basic sense, then, property is just a bunch of things that someone else owns. This definition doesn’t hold up, however, because property can also be physical places or possessions and it can be owned indirectly.
For instance, let’s say that a person receives an inheritance. This inheritance is not given directly to the heir. Instead, the inheritance is held by an institution, such as a bank, that grants an interest in the inheritance to the bank. That institution owns the property as long as the bank holds an interest in it. What this means is that the bank can continue to own the property even after the original heir becomes dead, and the bank can continue to grant new ownership to another person or institution.