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Real rights

‘Real rights’ are also known as ‘rights in rem’. They include full titles to property such as houses and plots of land, as well as limited titles such as ground leases, building rights (‘rights of superficies’) and servitudes. An important feature of real rights is that they apply to the world at large. This is in contrast with contracts, which are binding only on the signatories.

The date on which a real right is established determines the ranking of multiple rights to the property in question. The oldest right takes priority, as where a servitude such as a right of way predates a ground lease on a plot of land established at a later date.

Disputes may arise about the scope of a real right and the way in which it is exercised. Real rights can also arise by dint of the lapse of time. We can help you identify your position in disputes and litigate on your behalf if required.

Right of lien

We can also advise you on rights of lien (i.e. the retention of title to goods supplied) in connection with building contracts. If you are a building contractor and are owed money by your principal, you are in certain circumstances entitled to refuse to surrender the title to goods supplied to the principal until you have actually received payment. In certain situations, you are entitled to invoke this right in relation to third parties holding a prior right, such as a mortgage-holder. It’s a very powerful tool that can be used to force your customer to pay you the money he owes you. We will be more than pleased to advise you as to how it should best be used.

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