Property – the “bundle of rights” (to possess, use, exclude, or transfer) associated with a valued resource such as land, chattel, or an intangible:


1. Collectively, the rights in a valued resource such as land, chattel: or an intangible.  *  It is common to describe property as a “bundle of rights.”  These rights include the right to possess and use, the right to exclude, and the right to transfer. — aka bundle of rights.

2. Any external thing over which the rights of possession, use, and enjoyment are exercised <the airport is city property>[1]

     Excerpt from William L. Burdick’s Handbook of the Law of Real Property 2-3 (1914):

     “‘Property (from the Lat. proprius, meaning belonging to one; one’s own) signifies, in a strict sense, one’s exclusive right of ownership of a thing.’  In their strict meanings, therefore, the right of ownership and property are synonymous, each term signifying a bundle or collection of rights.  In a secondary meaning, however, the term ‘property’ is applied to every kind of valuable right and interest that can be made the subject of ownership, and in this sense, since it is the subject of ownership, land is called property. The term, therefore, includes both real and personal property, and it is often thus expressly defined in statutes. The word ‘property,’ however, may have different meanings, under different circumstances, according to the manner in which it is used. [2]

     Excerpt from John Salmond’s Jurisprudence (1947):

     “In its widest sense, property includes all a person’s legal rights, of whatever description. A man’s property is all that is his in law. This usage, however, is obsolete at the present day, though it is common enough in the older books. . .. In a second and narrower sense, property includes not all a person’s rights, but only his proprietary as opposed to his personal rights. The former constitute his estate or property, while the latter constitute his status or personal condition. In this sense a man’s land, chattels, shares, and the debts due to him are his property; but not his life or liberty or reputation. . . . In a third application, which is that adopted [here], the term includes not even all proprietary rights, but only those which are both proprietary and in rem. The law of property is the law of proprietary rights in rem, the law of proprietary rights in personam being distinguished from it as the law of obligations.  According to this usage a freehold or leasehold estate in land, or a patent or copyright, is property; but a debt or the benefit of a contract is not….  Finally in the narrowest use of the term, it includes nothing more than a corporeal property — that is to say, the right of ownership in a  material object, or that object itself.” [3]

Types of Property:

real property – land and anything growing on, attached to, or erected on it, excluding anything that may be severed without injury to the land.  aka realty; real estate.

  • immovable property – land, and objects so firmly attached that they are regarded as part of the land.

personal property – any movable or intangible thing that is subject to ownership and not classified as real property: i.e. money, goods, chattels, movables, a right of action, evidence of debt, stock, bond, mortgages. — aka personality; personal estate; movable estate; (in plural) things personal.

  • intangible movable – a physical thing that can be moved but that cannot be touched in the usual sense, such as a legal right, light, electricity, and radioactive waves.
  • chattel – movable, tangible property.
    • personal chattel – a tangible good or an intangible right (such as a patent).
    • real chattel – an interest in real property that is less than a freehold or fee, such as an estate for years in land (i.e. a leasehold).
    • bond – a written promise to pay money or do some act if certain circumstances occur or a certain time elapses.

intellectual property – intangible rights protecting commercially valuable products of the human intellect.

Types of Interactions with Property:

ownership – the “bundle of rights” to possess, use, manage, enjoy, &/or convey property to others.

possession – the detention or use of a physical thing with the intent to hold it as one’s own.


Disclaimer: All material throughout this website is pertinent to people everywhere, and is being utilized in accordance with Fair Use.

[1]:  Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4

[2]:  William L. Burdick, Handbook of the Law of Real Property 2-3 (1914)

[3]:  John Salmond, Jurisprudence 423-24 (Glanville L. Williams ed., 10th ed. 1947).

[4]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.


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