More about the Right to Property

Section 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia
Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 1 of the 1st Protocol to of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
The Law on Forced Alienation of Real Estate for State or social needs
The Law on Protective Zones
The Law on Nature Areas subject to Special Protection, etc.

Within the meaning of human rights the term “property” includes tangible items, for example, an apartment, land, or telephone, as well as intangible items in respect of which there exists economical interest – for example, proprietary rights that arise from equity shares, stocks, or copyright. The right to property only extends to existing property; future income does not create ownership unless it is already earned or subject only to payment in future.

The right to property includes:

  • The right to freely enjoy ownership, i.e., the right to possess an item and the resulting yield, and to transform, consume, destroy or dispose of the same by means of transactions. This right also includes obligation of third parties to abstain from infringement of property. The exercise of this right requires from the State abstaining from interference with free enjoyment of ownership and establishing of an adequate vehicle for protection of this right to enable the owner to protect themselves against unjustified interference with free enjoyment of ownership;
  • Arbitrary expropriation of property is prohibited. Property may only be expropriated if the manner of expropriation meets the national laws, and provided that general principles of the international law are observed, and further provided that the legal principles and expropriation of property serve the best interests of society including for the purpose of ensuring balance between the interests of society and those of individual; and further provided that the terms of expropriation are expressly stipulated;
  • The right of the State to restrict the use of property to serve the interests of society. Such right arises from social function of property: each owner has the duty to respect the interests of other persons. To ensure legitimacy of restrictions imposed on property, such restrictions have to be prescribed by law; they have to pursue a legitimate purpose, and they have to be commensurate. Spatial planning is an example of imposing restrictions to the right to property.