Does a convicted felon while serving time in prison, have the same rights to real estate that he or she had prior to conviction?

UPDATED: Apr 28, 2012

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Does a convicted felon while serving time in prison, have the same rights to real estate that he or she had prior to conviction?

Asked on April 28, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, yes--a felon, even while imprisoned, has the same rights to own real estate as any other person. Of course, as a practical matter, getting financing, paying taxes and/or a mortgage, acting as landlord if the felon rents his/her property out, etc. will all be more difficult, and may in some cases be effectively impossible--but the felon still has the legal right to own the real estate.

The exception would be if the real estate:

1) Were the "fruit" of criminal activity--if the real estate was procured by fraud, or was purchased with stolen funds, with drug  money, etc., if the authorities find that out, they can confiscate it; or a victim of the crime could possibly sue to recover it.

2) If the real estate were used in the commission of a crime, it may also be possible for the authorities to confiscate it.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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