Property - nature and type of properties

Properties are the most important objects of civil law. Bulgarian legislation does not legally define the concept of property, Art. 110 of the Property Act (hereinafter PA) only defines immovable property. There are, however, common features that apply to all types of property. Property is a material object that has a real existence, from which we can draw two features - corporeality and autonomy. Each property has a material substrate, they exist outside and independently of human consciousness. Legal independence follows from the physical detachment of property. Legally, buildings can be considered separate property from the land which can be set up independently and enjoy individual property rights. Due to lack of distinctiveness, some properties by their nature cannot be the subject of property rights - e.g. water, rivers. However, if they are placed in a container and fill its form, they are differentiated and are fit to become the subject of property and contractual rights. The next feature of subjects of property rights is for them to allow the exercise of factual or legal authority over them. Otherwise they remain irrelevant to the substantive law. Finally, properties need to have value and utility.

Types of property

There are different classifications with a view to various criteria.

  1. According to the method of attachment to the land or building - movable and immovable.
    Types of immovable property are listed Art. 110 PA. Such are land, plants, buildings and other structures and, in general, everything which either naturally or through a human act is firmly fixed to the land or to the structure. Permanency depends on the way the property is attachment - the property has to be attached so that separation would lead to substantial damage to the property or attached property (plant). All others are movable properties. Attachment of property to land can change ownership pursuant to Art. 92 PA. Separation turns the property into a movable one without changing ownership. The importance of the division is relevant for the form of transactions, acquisitive prescription, protection of possession, a pledge and a mortgage, local jurisdiction, etc.

  2. According to usage - consumable and non-consumable
    Consumable are those properties that are destroyed immediately upon their intended use. Non-consumable properties are not destroyed after a single use - here there is continuous consumption. Usage thereof does not lead to their destruction, they just wear out. These are real estate, clothes, shoes, etc. The importance of this classification is relevant for the right to use.

  3. According to divisibility - divisible and indivisible
    Indivisible are properties that if physically separated, would lose a significant portion of their value and could not be used according to their former intended use. There are such properties that are divisible by nature. Others are divisible by law - e.g. agricultural land can not be divided into parts smaller than 3000 m2 for fields, 2000 m2 for meadows and 1000 m2 for vineyards. Indivisibility was introduced with a regard to public works and considerations of urban land, housing, etc. Finally - there are properties that are divisible by purpose - e.g. common areas of the condominium. Divisible means any property which may be separated in parts and each of them can be used according to the previously intended use. The importance of that classification is the establishment and termination of co-ownership. Co-ownership of divisible property may be terminated by partition, while for indivisible this is not always possible - e.g. the common parts of the building in a condominium are indivisible. Co-ownership of the common areas cannot be terminated by way of partition.

  4. According to definiteness: individual and generic.
    Individual are certain properties, which are characterized by their individual traits. Generic are certain properties which are characterized only by their generic traits - e.g. paintings, corn, tomatoes etc. The significance of this distinction is mostly relevant in connection with the transition of ownership. According to Art. 24 of the Obligations and Contracts Act, if the property is individually determined, ownership of it passes upon conclusion of the contract for transfer of ownership. If things are generically defined, ownership is transferred only when individualized.

  5. According to correlation - primary and ancillary.
    Primary properties are those which can independently be used according to their purpose. Ancillary is a property which is separate, but its purpose is to be in service of another property. The principle applicable to this way of division of property is that ancillary properties follow the primary property. The owner of the primary property is the owner of the ancillary.