Definition of "Alienation"

Marty Chrisman real estate agent
Marty Chrisman, Real Estate Agent eXp Realty

The definition of alienation in real estate stands for the legal action that is done voluntarily by an owner to dispose of their property. It also encompasses a property’s right to be sold or given to someone else. Most of the properties can be alienated but there are some that are under the influence of restraint of alienation.

The status or authority of a property to be alienated is specified in a contract in something that is called an alienation clause. Through an alienation clause, it can be stipulated whether or not a property can be sold or transferred to another owner. The alienation clause is the situation in which alienation as a concept is implemented through law. The term “alienation” has a long history but it is commonly used today in real estate contracts, mortgages, insurance policies, law, and wills.

The History of Alienation

In the old age of the feudal system in England, a system that was the beginning of modern-day alienation was known as subinfeudation. As the act of alienation today, subinfeudation required the license of the overlord, in other words, the blessing of the owner, for the property to be transferred and alienated to another.

And like nowadays, there are some items, objects or … let’s call them assets that can not be alienated. These assets are known as inalienable. Some examples of these are body parts, people, or aboriginal titles. Tickets or licenses also can not be given to someone else but they can be alienated in the sense that they are discarded, surrendered, or just disposed of.

Not to be confused with that 90’s movie/TV series “ Alien Nation”.

An alien is something foreign that does not belong to that place or person. So, in the real estate world, alienation is the voluntary and purposeful act of transferring an asset to a different party, making it no longer belonging to that person or place. Once an alienation is done, the titles of possession are transferred from one person to another.


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