Real Estate Terms

Air Rights Definition

In general, air rights are pretty important when it comes to real estate and are vital to understand for the real estate exam. Today we break them down and highlight what’s most important for the exam.

What are Air Rights?

Definition: Air rights are the right to use the space above the earth. These rights can be sold or leased.

Air rights are pretty necessary when it comes to real estate and construction.

Before air travel was standard, air rights were basically unlimited. From the ground all the way up to outer space at the time, you owned all of it. Now it’s a lot different. The government permits reasonable interference for certain things, for example, aircraft or, hypothetically, spacecraft.

As solar power becomes more significant, air rights are becoming more relevant as well. In some cities, if a skyscraper is blocking another property’s solar panels, it can potentially lead to a potential legal issue. Overall, understanding air rights is incredibly important.

What to Know for the Real Estate Exam

What’s important to understand for the real estate exam is that these rights can, in fact, be sold or leased.

A great example of how air rights can be leased is in New York City at a place called the Hudson Yards. The government owns the rail yard and leases the airspace above the railyard. In that space, people have built buildings and towers within it.

This space is tremendously valuable; as you probably know, available space in big cities like New York is hard to come by.

As I mentioned earlier, issues can persist if someone builds over their property line, which can create encroachment.

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