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If you own land, how far above and below do you own? | Educational Videos by Mocomi Kids


If You Own Land, How Far Above and Below Do
You Own? 1945 when a chicken farmer sued the US government
for flying approximately 83 feet above his property. The noise of the airplane caused a bunch of
his chickens to accidentally kill themselves by running into walls. The farmer won his case and the court agreed
that although a property owner wasn’t entitled to own all of the air above their land, they
were entitled to own enough so that planes flying overhead wouldn’t kill their chickens. If a person owns a piece of land, do they
own it all the way down to the core of earth? When you buy a piece of land, it is of common
understanding that you are given unrestricted access to a predetermined amount of land. But how much of that land do you own? Do you own the sky above it? How about the land below it? A Latin maxim which is considered to be a
traditional starting point to the property law states, “whoever owns the soil, holds
title all the way up to the heavens and down to the depths of hell“. So yes, historically, if you owned a piece
of land, you owned everything, both above and below the soil from the deepest reaches
of the Earth right up to the heavens themselves. But property laws today have come a long way. Now, they vary from country to country
As a property owner, one only has a right to the airspace above their land located in
lower stratum, the precise boundaries for which is still up for debate. For example, one can’t ask commercial planes
to stop flying over their house, because the sky is considered to be a public highway. At the same time there have been cases where
trespassers have been fined to use the airspace above one’s house. And what about the earth below our land? Just like the airspace, this varies. This depends upon, whether one has mineral
rights along the ownership of land. For example, if a home-owner finds out that
there is gold buried under their home but they don’t have any mineral right under
their land then they can stake no claim over the gold. So, one can say if you own a piece of land,
you may own more than you’d expect, but in a lot of cases, perhaps lesser than you
might wish.

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