Thursday, April 12, 2012
Government Rights and Interest In Real Property
Private property is defined simply as the land, the structures, and anything firmly attached that may be right to future ownership. However, government power over properties is not so easily defined. The constitution gives the federal government power, who then shared it with local governments in the Enabling act. The government’s rights are complex, but can be broken into four sub categories; police powers, eminent domain, taxation, and escheat. These four sub categories are in place in order for the government to legally take land as necessary and as interested. Some key ideas may be helpful to better relate the government powers and the way they operate.
The federal government for the most part does not get involved with real properties; instead local municipalities establish rules called zoning laws, which must be followed. Police powers help the local municipalities to regulate mostly health, and safety codes in given areas. This does not necessarily mean that police officers will go around inspecting homes, but public officials might, and judges will enforce these police right rules.
Although police power is meant for mostly safety and health toward the public, the government does have eminent domain rights, which enable them to take away private property.
There are two basic ways that a government entity can claim, or take real property, the first being eminent domain. Eminent domain is the government right to take land away from citizens, but who decides whether the land must be taken or not? Well, there is a specific process that must be followed by the governing municipality in order for the government to secure the land. First, condemnation is eminent domain in verb form, which means action is being taken. In order for the government to take the land they must pay a fair price for the land, and also the private owner has the choice for a court overseeing the takeover process. If the government takes the land, then the law must use the land for a public purpose, however broad that definition is. The second way the government can claim a property is through escheat. Escheat uses most of the similar rules, except for the private owner has to be deceased, and this affects real and personal property. At that point the state government can claim the land, and or belongings of the deceased and in this case nothing has to be used as public property. The government can turn it right around and make a profit right away. The main reason for this is if the land unattended could look bad after time or be vandalized.
The last of the government power subcategories is taxation. Taxation is the governments right to fund government needs by financially claiming real property. However bad people may think property taxes are, they help fund public schools, libraries, and hospitals which are just a few services returned in exchange for the charge. Even though taxing is a right of the government, the benefits that come from it are far greater in my opinion.
The relationship between government rights and real property interest is a complex one that has much more to it than this investigation, but this is a good and simple explanation for the government activity on real property.
Diaz, Julian, and J. Andrew. Hansz. Real Estate Analysis: Environments and Activities.