REALWorld Law

Sale and purchase

Forms of real estate ownership

What are the categories of property right that can be acquired? Are there any interests in real estate other than exclusive ownership?

United States

United States

An interest in land can either be held under fee or leasehold ownership. Fee ownership is the highest category of ownership in the US and effectively confers absolute ownership. Leasehold confers rights of exclusive possession and use of land for a limited period of time.

A real estate owner can also give exclusive and non-exclusive rights, known as easements and licenses, to third parties to use the land, such as granting a right of way. Recorded easements are binding on any successors in title to the property, whereas licenses are typically for a shorter duration.