After reading this chapter, you should understand the following:
- The various kinds of interests (or “estates”) in real property
- The various rights that come with ownership of real property
- What easements are, how they are created, and how they function
- How ownership of real property is regulated by tort law, by agreement, and by the public interest (through eminent domain)
- The various ways in which environmental laws affect the ownership and use of real property
Real property is an important part of corporate as well as individual wealth. As a consequence, the role of the corporate real estate manager has become critically important within the corporation. The real estate manager must be aware not only of the value of land for purchase and sale but also of proper lease negotiation, tax policies and assessments, zoning and land development, and environmental laws.
In this chapter and in Chapter 31 "The Transfer of Real Estate by Sale" and Chapter 32 "Landlord and Tenant Law", we focus on regulation of land use and the environment (see Figure 28.1 "Chapter Overview"). We divide our discussion of the nature of real estate into three major categories: (1) estates; (2) rights that are incidental to the possession and ownership of land—for example, the right to air, water, and minerals; and (3) easements—the rights in lands of others.