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Limitations on Property Ownership

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Unlike in a socialist society where public ownership of property prevails, in a free market society the law of property as it relates to individual ownership is usually highly developed.

Although property ownership in general covers tangible things, such as land, houses, cars ownership can also exist over intangible objects such as personal rights, shares in a company and patent rights.

Conveyancer’s and estate agents are mostly only concerned with tangible object, such and land and the homes/ structures erected thereon. These type of tangible assets are categorized more particularly as immovable objects as opposed to moveable objects.


An important characteristic of immovable tangible objects are that publicity is given to the ownership of these assets, which occurs in the deeds office.


Ownership is the most extensive and comprehensive private rights a person can have with regards to corporeal things and covers rights to use, enjoy, to derive income from it, to consume, to dispose of or even to destroy.

Distinguish ownership from possession, which is used to denote a factual relationship between a person and a thing, whereas ownership denotes a legal relationship.

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