Understanding Your Rights Under Real Estate Law

Posted on: 25 April 2023

When people talk about the legalities of real estate, they often focus on the right to own land and develop structures on it. Real estate law outlines many more rights, and you should be aware of the major ones. Here are four key rights in real estate law.

Water Rights

If you've ever lived in a dry part of the country, there's a good chance you're aware of the importance of water rights. Generally, these refer to your right to use the water that flows through or falls on the land for irrigation, drinking, or industry. There is also a potential extension of these rights known as riparian rights that entitle may you to reasonable use of water from nearby rivers and waterways.

Mineral and Timber Rights

Properties also carry exploitation rights involving natural resources. Mineral rights usually refer to the extraction of metals, fossil fuels, and minerals that are currently trapped in the ground. Timber rights refer to the right to fell trees that grow on the property.

Notably, these are among the most commonly sold rights. Before you transfer exploitation rights, though, you should ask a real estate lawyer to examine the draft agreement to protect your interests.

Easements and Access

There is also the right to the usage of property for travel or transmission. Usually, this involves an easement. An easement is a grant of such rights, and you can provide it to another party for something of value. Similarly, some states command easements in specific conditions, such as easements for fishing along waterways or walking along beaches.

You can also provide a more extensive right of access. You and your neighbor might share a driveway or side street, for example. Once more, state laws may command access rights if a path across someone else's property is the only suitable way in or out of a location. Generally, it's illegal to completely block a property without providing access.

Air Rights

The airspace above the property is also a right. Notably, your air rights may extend beyond your property. For example, your air rights generally include some claim to the view from the property. Such rules prevent people from erecting nuisance structures to block neighbors' views. Notably, you may be able to sell your air rights if a developer is constructing a building that might obstruct the line of sight from your property in any direction. You may also be able to sue for violation of this right.