Rural Land Tenure in the United States: A Socio-Economic Approach to Problems, Programs, and Trends

By Alvin L. Bertrand; Floyd L. Corty et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWELVE
The Land Market
and Transfer Process

TENURE HAS BEEN defined as encompassing man's relations to the land. In the light of this definition, the nature of land and the methods by which it may be acquired and disposed of become important. These matters are the concern of the present chapter.


Definition of Land

In physical terms, land is the surface of the earth, embracing all natural resources down to the center of the earth and extending upward to include a column of air stretching from the earth to infinity. Permanent improvements in the nature of buildings, fences, and drains attached to the land are also considered part of the land. Vegetation such as grass, trees, and shrubs are part of the land only as long as they are rooted to the land.

Frequently the terms real estate, real property, and realty are used synonymously with land. Real, in this sense, refers to the lasting or permanent nature of the land as distinguished from a fictitious or imaginary existence. This characteristic of land makes it readily adaptable to ownership and control.


Ownership and Control of Land

In addition to controls exercised by the individual landowner, there are a wide variety of controls imposed on land by given societies. These can be grouped into four categories: First, there are informal controls attributed to custom, tradition, religion, and education. Second, there are formal controls exemplified by zoning laws which place restrictions on the use of land; and third, there is the right of eminent domain by which the government, or duly authorized local government units, can expropriate or condemn private property to

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