Appurtenance – Definition

Cite this article as:"Appurtenance – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated October 22, 2019, last accessed August 5, 2020,

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Appurtenance Definition

Appurtenance refers to an item that forms an accessory to a piece of land or building. In law, an appurtenance is the allocation or attachment of a right or property to a principal that deserves it.  A piece of construction or a building that is subordinate to a larger one is called an attachment, if such attachment becomes a part of the property and now passed to a new owner (the owner of the property), appurtenance has occurred.

In the legal context, appurtenance is also described as a privileged attached to a major stats or title, such as a furnace space being attached to a property or title.

A Little More on What is an Appurtenance

Appurtenance is often used in the context of land or real estate, it describes an item attached to a principal property. This means that once the property is sold, it is sold alongside all items or rights attached to the property since they are permanent. In real estate transactions, the buyer of a property has the legal rights to the property rights or items that are attached to the property. If a former house owner fixes an air conditioner in an apartment, such an object has become an appurtenance because it is treated as part of the apartment and passed down to the new owner.

An improvement done to  a real estate property or land such as construction of fences, swimming pool and furnace will become an appurtenance to the property. An appurtenance thereby refers to the legal right that a new owner has overall improvements that were made to the land or property. Appurtenance cannot stand alone or be treated in solitary, it accompanies a principal property. An appurtenance is an object or item attached or annexed to a more worthy item, for instance, a car park being an appurtenance to a building.

Other Meanings of Appurtenance

There are various means given to appurtenance, the major ones include the following; The Supreme Court of Minnesota in 1919 defined appurtenance as “That which belongs to something else. Something annexed to another thing more worthy.”

In lexis, an appurtenance is a “modifier” which is appended or attached to a main word to form a new word which relates “belongingness.” For example, In the Engilsh word ‘Israeli’, the ‘i’ is an appurtenance to the main word “Israel’, giving a new word that connotes a sense of belonging. Depending on the context, people make references to appurtenance in diverse ways but it generally connotes a privilege, improvement or status that accompanies a prinicial item.

Reference for “Appurtenance”

Academics research on “Appurtenance”

Problems of financing condominiums, King, T. B. (1968). Problems of financing condominiums. Bus. Law.24, 445.

What Is a Vessel: Implications for Marine Finance, Marine Insurance, and Admiralty Jurisdiction, Peck, S. F., & Sharpe, D. B. (2014). What Is a Vessel: Implications for Marine Finance, Marine Insurance, and Admiralty Jurisdiction. Tul. L. Rev.89, 1103.

Legal Difficulties in Secured Airline Equipment Financing, Hines, F. E. (1948). Legal Difficulties in Secured Airline Equipment Financing. J. Air L. & Com.15, 11.

Appurtenances: What Are They and Are Fishing Permits among Them, Zapf, R. J. (2004). Appurtenances: What Are They and Are Fishing Permits among Them. Tul. L. Rev.79, 1339.

Financing Corporate R&D in the United States Using a Special Purpose Entity and the Political Economy of Accounting Regulation, Szewczyk, S. H., Theodossiou, A. K., & Zantout, Z. Z. (2015). Financing Corporate R&D in the United States Using a Special Purpose Entity and the Political Economy of Accounting Regulation. International Research Journal of Applied Finance6(8), 530-557. Firms in the science- and technology-based industries in the United States have been abstaining,  since the year 1999, from using an evidently efficient special purpose entity (SPE) to finance R&D projects, known by SWORD. It comprises: (1) an options’ approach to investment which  preserves these firms’ other specific and tacit R&D capital from bankruptcy; and (2) an innovative financial structure which considers the information asymmetry, agency costs and high specificity that characterize R&D and, accordingly, improves its funding. The reason for this  abstention is FASB’s misinterpretation of its economic and legal reality. The SWORD case illustrates that the accounting regulatory environment over the past decade has been an impediment for the formation of at least one type of efficient SPEs, perhaps many more, but not an impediment for several infamous abusive types. Stimulating corporate R&D requires a larger  arsenal of efficient financing methods, not fewer.

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