Property Law: The Legal Definition Of Your Land?

Linkilaw Legal Advice, Premise Locations & Leasing

Do you really know what belongs to you regarding your property and what your legal rights are concerning that physical space?

 

We suspect that there are many people who don’t fully understand what constitutes their land when it comes to property. To understand what is yours and the legal rights you have over a piece of property, you first need to understand what the legal definition of ‘land’ is.

Essentially, the legal definition of your land pertains to the following:

  • Water
  • Airspace
  • Mines and minerals
  • Wild animals
  • Plants, trees, and flowers

 

Now, we’ll take a closer look at each of these in more detail so you’ll understand what your legal rights are as they pertain to your property.

 

Water

 

The key to understanding your legal rights here is defined by whether or not the water is flowing through your land through an undefined or defined channel. If the water that flows through your property does so through an undefined channel, then it means you have no ownership over it.

 

However, if it flows through a defined channel then you have certain rights. For example, if you are a farmer and there is a stream that flows through your property then this is considered a defined channel of water flow. This gives you certain rights as the property owner, For example, if you were to fish in those waters, that is your right as it is your property.

 

Airspace

 

You may not have thought it but the airspace on your property is legally your land and gives you certain rights. The distinction here legally concerns lower and upper stratum airspaces of a property.

 

Regarding upper stratum airspaces, this is airspace that exists reasonably higher than acceptable above your property. S. 76 Civil Aviation Act 1982 states that upper stratum airspace is likely to be 500 to 1000 feet above roof space level and this is considered public space, giving you no legal rights over it.

 

The legal definition of lower stratum airspace states this is airspace immediately surrounding your property and that any interference of it could affect your personal enjoyment. Essentially, you own the airspace immediately around your property, which means you have a legal right to prevent people intruding on that space.

 

An example of an intrusion on this space would be an overhanging branch or plant from a neighbour’s yard. Another could be machinery being on your property or another person’s vehicle being parked on your property.

 

Any of these would be considered to be intruding on your personal enjoyment of the lower stratum airspace immediately surrounding your property.

 

Mines and Minerals

 

The majority of mines and minerals that lie beneath the soil of a property belong to the landowner. However, there are a few exceptions where a select few mines and minerals belong to the government regardless if they’re found beneath the soil of your property.

 

Those are petroleum including natural gases and mineral oil. All gold and silver mines are also the property of the government regardless. The other mineral is coal, which under the S.9 Coal Industry Act 1994 makes it property of the government.

 

Everything else found beneath the soil of your property is rightfully yours and you have legal rights over it.

 

Wild Animals

 

Wild animals are by definition not the property of anyone no matter what. However, if there are wild animals on the property of a landowner then that landowner is entitled to hunt those animals. If those animals are killed, they then become the property of the landowner but only if they’re killed. Under no other circumstances are they the property of the landowner.

 

Plants, Trees and Flowers

 

Any plants, trees, and flowers that are on your property are rightfully yours regardless of whether they were planted by you, someone else or grew there naturally.

Closing

 

Property law can be a tricky area to understand but hopefully now you understand what the legal definition is of your land and what belongs to you.

 

If you need to speak to a legal expert in this area about a potential upcoming case or issue you have in this area then get in touch with us today.

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