Possession is nine-tenths of the law, or so the saying goes. But is this adage really true? From a legal perspective that goes deeper than Judge Judy, I mean. The first thing to learn about the legality of property is that ownership and possession of property are not considered identical. Ownership means you have evidence of your right to possess the property. Possession is the right to custody of the possession but lacks what ownership entails: right of title. The best example of the difference between ownership and possession is a rental property. The renter has possession, but the landlord has ownership. Different rights are extended to both parties.
Possession being nine-tenths of the law is related to another piece of conventional wisdom: finders keepers, losers weepers. So does this mean that if you find a possession that you are legally entitled to ownership of it as well? Most found property is the result of the possession having been lost or mislaid or stolen. Finders are the weepers under the law. If you lose a possession, ownership of that possession is still the entitlement of the person who lost it, regardless of who found it. There is one element of the finders keepers concept of law that benefits the finder, however. The finder of lost property is entitled to possession against every individual except the original owner. So possession becomes a matter of ownership if the original owner of the possession cannot be found.
An interesting element in the legal matter of possession and ownership is the use of space surrounding property. The owner of a piece of property is granted exclusive possession of the space both above and below the property within the boundaries of that property. Where it gets interesting is in the grant of rights to that space, which is not infinite. In other words, the owner of a piece of property cannot claim ownership of the space 20,000 feet directly above the property and thereby refuse to allow a plane to fly through that space. On the other hand, the owner of the property is completely within his rights to stop the construction of a billboard that would slightly extend into the space directly above the property. Entitlement to space above the property means the right of not having intrusion into that space which would obstruct reasonable enjoyment. The threat of a billboard falling down upon your property would be seen as an unreasonable intrusion.
Unless you can get to Supreme Court before it’s run by more Democrat Presidential appointees than Republican Presidential appointees.