Thursday, June 18, 2009

Allodial title
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Property law
Part of the common law series
Acquisition
Gift · Adverse possession · Deed
Conquest · Discovery · Treasure Trove
Lost, mislaid, and abandoned property
Alienation · Bailment · License
Estates in land
Allodial title · Fee simple · Fee tail
Life estate · Defeasible estate
Future interest · Concurrent estate
Leasehold estate · Condominiums
Conveyancing
Bona fide purchaser
Torrens title · Strata title
Estoppel by deed · Quitclaim deed
Mortgage · Equitable conversion
Action to quiet title · Escheat
Future use control
Restraint on alienation
Rule against perpetuities
Rule in Shelley's Case
Doctrine of worthier title
Nonpossessory interest
Easement · Profit
Covenant running with the land
Equitable servitude
Related topics
Fixtures · Waste · Partition
Riparian water rights
Lateral and subjacent support
Assignment · Nemo dat
Property and conflict of laws
Other common law areas
Contract law · Tort law
Wills, trusts and estates
Criminal law · Evidence
v . d . e

Allodial title is a concept in some systems of property law. It describes a situation where real property (land, buildings and fixtures) is owned free and clear of any encumbrances, including liens, mortgages and tax obligations. Allodial title is inalienable, in that it cannot be taken by any operation of law for any reason whatsoever.

In common legal use, allodial title is used to distinguish absolute ownership of land by individuals from feudal ownership, where property ownership is dependent on relationship to a lord or the sovereign. Webster's first dictionary (1825 ed) says allodium is "land which is absolute property of the owner, real estate held in absolute independence, without being subject to any rent, service, or acknowledgement to a superior. It is thus opposed to feud."

True allodial title is rare, with most property ownership in the common law world-primarily, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland-described more properly as being in fee simple. In particular, land is said to be "held of the Crown" in England and Wales and the Commonwealth realms. In England, there is no allodial land, all land being held of the Crown; even in the United States most lands are not allodial, as evidenced by the existence of property taxes. Some of the Commonwealth realms (particularly Australia) recognise native title, a form of allodial title that does not originate from a Crown grant.

In France, while allodial title existed before the French Revolution, it was rare and limited to ecclesiastical properties and property that had fallen out of feudal ownership. After the French Revolution allodial title became the norm in France and other civil law countries that were under Napoleonic legal influences. Interestingly Quebec adopted a form of allodial title when it abolished feudalism in the mid-nineteenth century making the forms of ownership in Upper and Lower Canada remarkably similar in substance.

Property owned under allodial title is referred to as allodial land, allodium, or an allod.

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