Property | Evolution of Property | Property sub-divisions | Movable property | Movable property | Examples | Immovable property | Types | Examples | Law attributions | Difference | Ownership | Exceptions | Parameters | Ready to go

In this world, there are two types of property that an individual can own: movable property and immovable property. Even though the names are pretty descriptive, Indian law provides a more refined explanation, stating the distinctions between them. While you might feel proud of being your property owner, having it registered in your name is a dream come true.

The fundamental classification of property into mobile and immovable property is subject to ownership according to the criteria established by Indian law. Based on their legal differences, movable and immovable property are regulated with different regulations and bear equal weight regarding their rights and responsibilities.

To determine the legal rights and responsibilities, you must be aware of the other phrases that are misunderstood or confused with one another, and they can lead to sales complications or even lawsuits. If you have several doubts in your mind regarding your movable and immovable properties, don’t worry! You have come to the right place.

Keep reading till the end to get clarity about the two variants of property and to understand these terminologies in more depth.

What is a Property?

The terminology property is present in many aspects of life. Since the beginning of time, there has been a word called property. People in ancient times and states also had property and belonging for their living and developed the laws related to it with time.

For example, during historical times in India, people used the word Property for a commodity that belonged to them and to which they had certain legal rights and ownership. “A thing which belongs to someone is known as personal property.” Therefore, the property is an asset a person owns and has legal rights to use.

Evolution of property

During the early centuries, Subedars and Zamindars of villages were used to govern the properties. Later during the British Era, English Law ruled the people of India, and the British created the laws, including the Transfer of Property Act of 1882.

Later, the Transfer of Property Act of 1882 enhanced the legislation for transferring property in India and its associated regulations. This Act focuses on the social and economic aspects of the term “property.”

For example, a property might be owned by a person who holds legal rights and can claim it according to the law, which can be both intangible and tangible. 

Some intangible properties include the creation, idea, or innovation of a particular item and things like real estate, land, and many more. 

Different Properties and their sub-divisions

The term property falls under Clause (36) of Section 3 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, and clause (9) of Section 2 of the Registration Act, 1908. Our legislation assigns the term ‘property’ under various classifications tangible, intangible, real, personal, corporeal, incorporeal, and movable and immovable property. 

  • Real Property and Personal Property 
  • Moveable Property and Immovable Property
  • Absolute Property and Qualified Property
  • Corporeal Property and Incorporeal Property
movable and immovable property
Source: Burdun Iliya/ Shutterstock

What is Movable Property?

In simple words, movable property is an asset that can be relocated from one place to the other. Moveable property, as the name explains in the general sense, means goods or things that can move or can be moved from one place to another.

For example, every personal item, jewelry, table, chair, or anything you see around you falls under a movable property.

The moveable property also includes standing wood and trees used for commercial purposes, for example, bamboo, oak, neem tree, etc. Growing crops and grass, harvested from the land after cultivation, comes under a moveable property.

Furthermore, fruits, juices, and others from the trees and bushes have moveable properties like rubber, wax, fruits, and many more. Things used in day-to-day life are moveable, regardless of it produced on an immovable property like land are called moveable property.

Law attributions with movable property

Section 2 (9) of the Registration Act, 1908   describes that “Movable property consists of  standing timber, cultivating harvests, orange fruits, and so many others.”

Section 3 (36) of  the General clauses Act asserts that “Movable property can be the possession of every portrayal, except immovable property.” 

Section 22 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 states, “The phrases “movable property” are implied to contain actual property under all justifications, with variables such as land and items implanted to the earth or permanently clamped to anything fixated to the ground.

Movable Property Examples

  • Motor Vehicles, devices (such as phones and laptops), jewelry ( Gold, silver), novels, and timber.
  • A tree once cut and sold for wood and other purposes also fall under the movable property section
  • Growing crops and grass
  • Royalty
  • amount of rent money or the money owed
  • Administration offices give affirmation
  • Any mechanism that has no connection to the earth’s surface 
  • Stake shares
  • Carefully controlled forces of nature

What is Immovable Property?

In common words, it is an asset that cannot be relocated from one place to another. As per its name, immovable property explains the properties that cannot be moved or remain fixed permanently on the earth’s surface. The definition of Immovable Property per the Indian Regulation Act includes everything from buildings, lands, fisheries rights of ways, hereditary allowances, and more. More importantly, these will be personal assets that are permanently attached to the ground and cannot move as per need.

Types of Immovable Property in the context of real estate:

1. Land

Land can outline a specific area of the earth’s surface. The immovable property also refers to all things constructed or buried by humans to permanently take possession of a place, such as barricaded buildings and fences.

2. Things attached to the earth

Section 3 of the Transfer of Property Act states that things connected to the earth, including bushes and trees, with the irregularity of standing wood, grasses, and crops, are all considered immovable property.

3. The other elements related to land

The advantage that comes from the land is that the land, regardless of how it manifests physically, is always viewed as immovable property. The Registration Act also covers the key benefits of movable property, congenital allowances, and ferries. Same as the above, the right to collect rent tax and profits gained from immovable property, as well as the right to collect fees from a market on a specific piece of land, are regarded as immovable property.

Examples of Immovable Property

  • Houses, apartments, buildings
  • Lands, natural water resources
  • Things embedded in the earth’s surface like fences, walls
  • Things rooted in the earth ( like walls, buildings, fences
  •  Things embedded in the earth (deep-rooted trees, shrubs)
  • Something connected to the item embedded in the earth. (Natural water bodies)
  • Goods attached to earth or buildings ( airports, stadiums)

Law attributions with Immovable Property 

(1) Transfer of Property Act, 1882: Section 3 of the Act defines immovable property as “immovable,” which does not include standing timber, growing crops, or grass. 

It also explains that timber, grass, and growing crops do not fall under the immovable property category. However, this definition, given according to the Transfer of Property Act of 1882, is not exhaustive and doesn’t give the whole meaning of the term “immovable property.”  

(2) According to the General Clause Act, 1897: The General Clause Act, 1897 is what you need to look at to figure out what “immovable property” means. According to the Act, an immovable property includes land with a ground interest and things attached to the ground or permanently bolted to something else. 

Similar to the definitions given under the Transfer of Property Act 1882 and the General Clause Act 1897, immovable property is permanently attached to the earth, like land and other substances, except for standing wood, crops, or grass. 

  • Things attached to the earth 
  • Things embedded in the earth are considered immovable property. 
  • Things like deep-rooted trees are considered immovable property. If the tree comes under the standing wood category, it can not differentiate as an immovable property.

For example, you cannot consider trees used for industrial purposes as immovable property. Fruit-bearing trees are a part of immovable property. 

The Deeds Registries Act and the Sectional Titles Act also have rules about who owns real property and how you can move it. In contrast, the movable property will fall under the jurisdiction of the common law.  A moveable property has a clause that allows you to transfer under contract and other common laws. Immovable property is a property whose ownership is transferred or exchanged by property laws. 

Difference between movable and immovable property

The term “property” falls under Clause (36) of Section 3 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, and Clause (9) of Section 2 of the Registration Act, 1908. Our legislation assigns the term “property” under various classifications: tangible, intangible, real, personal, corporeal, incorporeal, and movable and immovable property.

Now that we have the basic knowledge of immovable and movable property, let us talk about a few factors that differentiate these two from one another.

As the name suggests, the immovable property includes anything fixed permanently to the earth’s surface that cannot be moved, like a piece of land, a house, and so many others. In comparison, anything that can be transferred and used for commercial purposes is known as “movable property”—for example, tables, seats, and many more. 

The distinction between ownership of moveable and immovable property

The Deeds Registries Act and the Sectional Titles Act tell people how to own and transfer immobile property. So, to understand how to move an immobile property, you must have explicit knowledge of these two most common laws.

When you are about to initiate a property transfer process, you already know that you need a contract. In the contract of sale, you must mention a list of things that could be included or left out of the deal. This list makes it clear who will own each property after the transfer.

For example, Blinds, floating shelves, and satellite dishes fall under immovable property because they remain attached to a property. On the other hand, curtains fall under the movable item category because you can move these items from one place to another.

The parties can include certain movable items in the agreement to buy, which the buyer will take responsibility for, or they can make a separate deal where the buyer buys certain portable items from the seller.

The seller and the buyer must know what the sale agreement consists, as even the slightest miscommunication may lead to problems or a lawsuit. For clarity, the buyer can request a comprehensive list of all movable objects in the deal, and the seller must mention that list in the sales contract to maintain transparency.

What are the exceptions of movable property?

A few things seem to fall under immovable property, but in reality, they are categorized as movable. Here are a few exceptions:

Standing woods

Some of the most common examples of standing wood includes babool, shisham, neem, peepal, banyan trees, and many more. Since you can use these woods for commercial purposes, these items will fall under movable property.

However, it would help if you were now thinking that fruit-bearing trees like mango, mahira, jackfruit, Jamun, and many more also falls under movable property, then you are wrong. These trees can fall under movable and immovable property categories based on their usage.

For instance, if you are selling fruits from these trees, then it can be counted as immovable property. While if you choose to chop down the wood, it will fall under the category of movable property.

Producing Crops

Row crops such as pan and so on do not have their individualistic existence outside their final product.


They are only used as fodder and have no other uses. Therefore, it is considered movable property. But if there is some contract to cut the grass, there will be an interesting effect, and it will be considered an immovable property.

Necessary Parameters

Degree of Annexation

It means that taking away any property that has been added to or changed won’t hurt the land, and it is the part of the property where the item has been added to or attached.

If it does cause any harm to the land, then it will fall under the ambit of immovable property, and if it doesn’t cause any damage to the ground, it falls under the movable property.

In this case, for example, the chairs in the garden are immovable property because removing them would damage the land. 

The annexation issue

Let’s say that the reason for annexing the property is to use it for a long time. The purpose of the annexation is to connect the item to the property.

For example, in this case, the bolts are used to tighten any object in the house or anything else in particular; it will also fall under the category of immovable property because the intention is to use it in a given space.

Ready to go?

Now that you know these basic terminologies related to the law and real estate, you are ready to defend yourself in a crisis. Also, if you want to understand the basics of property transfer, you need to know about a movable and immovable property. We hope this article served that purpose.

If you read this article, we’re sure you’ll be able to tell the difference between an immovable and a movable property. However, it’s normal for you to have several doubts and questions in mind, especially when transferring property. Under such circumstances, it would be best to seek help from an experienced and professional lawyer who can guide you in the best possible way.