Tangible Property Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Tangible Property, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Tangible Property?

any asset or property which is felt and touched as in machinery, cars, furniture, jewellery etc, which has intrinsic value and is physical, thereby also having a value which makes it saleable too.

History and Meaning of Tangible Property

Tangible property refers to any physical item or property that has a physical existence and can be touched or felt. The term has been in use for centuries, with its roots in the English common law concept of chattels. Tangible property is considered different from intangible property, which refers to assets that do not have a physical presence, such as intellectual property rights or stocks and bonds.

In legal terms, tangible property has intrinsic or inherent value and is generally subject to ownership or transfer rights. For example, a piece of land can be owned as tangible property, and its value can be assessed based on factors such as location or the resources it contains. Furniture, cars, machinery, and jewelry are other examples of tangible property.

Examples of Tangible Property

  1. A homeowner's tangible property may include their house, furniture, appliances, and other physical possessions.

  2. A company may own tangible property such as land, inventory, buildings, and equipment.

  3. An individual may purchase tangible property such as artwork or collectibles as an investment opportunity, with the potential for the item to appreciate in value over time.

  4. A car dealership's inventory is considered tangible property and can be sold or traded based on market demand and value.

Legal Terms Similar to Tangible Property

  1. Personal Property: While tangible property refers specifically to physical objects, personal property is a broader term that includes both tangible and intangible assets.

  2. Real Property: In contrast to tangible property, real property refers to land and any buildings or other improvements attached to it.

  3. Movable Property: This legal term refers to tangible property that can be moved or transported, such as machinery or inventory.

  4. Fixtures: Fixtures are items that are attached to real property but are considered part of the real property, such as a built-in bookshelf.