Real rights

In the philosophy on property, one will soon encounter the bundle theory of property. Rather than being a single right, property consist of a set of rights, such as the right to use a good, to exclude others from using a particular good and to transfer ownership to others. Different authors differ on what rights could be distinguish, but virtually all agree on property being a set of rights.

If property consists of multiple rights, it would follow that these rights could be separated and be assigned to different people. Anyone who rents a house receives the right to use it, but is not allowed to sell it or mortgaged it.

Property is the most complete right one can have on a good. All rights which are separated from property, are called limited rights. Together property and limited rights are called real rights (from Latin res, “thing”). Real rights rest on goods, as opposed to personal rights – which derive from contracts.

On this site we have previously discussed usufruct, superficies and emphyteusis. All these are examples of real rights. Other examples of real rights are mortgage and easements. Different legal systems have their own particular set of (recognized) real rights – not unlike the different cuts of beef in different countries.