Lee Anne Fennell
University of Chicago Law School
June 4, 2010
POWELL ON REAL PROPERTY, Michael Allan Wolf, ed., 2010
U of Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 522
U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 310
This brief essay was delivered in slightly different form as the Third in the Wolf Family Lecture Series on the American Law of Real Property at the University of Florida Levin College of Law on March 17, 2010. In it, I use the foreclosure crisis as a springboard for exploring some foundational questions about the relationship between property rights and secure possession. Although the development of property rights is generally viewed as advancing security of tenure, this is true only up to a point; the ability to subdivide and alienate interests in property ultimately encompasses alienation of certain aspects of the option to remain in possession. Cutting back on property’s alienability comes at a high price, however – reduced access to the very possession one might hope to maintain. After framing the basic tradeoff between access and security, I examine some ways that both values might be pursued simultaneously through the further refinement of property rights.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: possession, dispossession, homeownership, mortgages, leaseholds
Date posted: June 4, 2010 ; Last revised: November 22, 2012
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