Topic 8.3: Basic Property Rights

Learning Objectives

After successfully completing this topic, you will be able to
• distinguish between feudal and allodial property rights, and
• list the rights of owners under the allodial system.

Feudal v. Allodial Property Rights

Our theory of property rights is rooted in the old English system of feudal rights whereby the Crown (the government) owned title to all land. Individuals could live on and use the land for their lifetimes, then it would again revert to the Crown.

The feudal system has evolved into what is now called the allodial system, our system of private property ownership. While individuals own the land outright, there are still many rights reserved to the government, including taxes, police power, and eminent domain.

Under the allodial system, owners have the right to
• possess the property, such as entering and leaving the property, or receiving income from the use of the property;
• enjoy the property without interference (quiet enjoyment);
• dispose of the property by selling, mortgaging, or leasing all or part of the property;
• control the property and improve it, conforming to government restrictions;
• exclude others from the property. The owner may eject trespassers.

People take their property rights seriously

“A person’s home is his castle…” as the saying goes. Here’s a quick video by the comedian John Reep that emphasizes the point.

Don’t mess wit’ my stuff!