dwellings
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In law, a dwelling (also known as a residence or an abode) is a self-contained unit of accommodation used by one or more
households A household consists of one or several persons who live in the same dwelling and share meals. It may also consist of a single family or another group of people. The household is the basic unit of analysis in many social, microeconomic and governm ...
as a home - such as a house, apartment,
mobile home A mobile home (also known as a park home, trailer, trailer home, house trailer, static caravan, RV, residential caravan, motorhome or simply caravan) is a prefabricated structure, built in a factory on a permanently attached chassis before be ...

mobile home
,
houseboat A houseboat is a boat A boat is a watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles used in water, including boats, ship A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and oth ...

houseboat
, vehicle, or other "substantial" structure. The concept of a dwelling has significance in relation to
search and seizure Search and seizure is a procedure used in many civil law and common law legal systems by which police The police are a Law enforcement organization, constituted body of Law enforcement officer, persons empowered by a State (polity), state, ...
,
conveyancing In law, conveyancing is the transfer of legal Title (property), title to (of) real property from one person to another, or the granting of an encumbrance such as a mortgage law, mortgage or a lien. A typical conveyancing transaction has two majo ...
of
real property In England, English common law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is land which is the property of some person and all structures (also called Land improvement, improvements or Fixture (property law), fixtures) integra ...
, burglary,
trespass Trespass is an area of criminal law Criminal law is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, ...

trespass
, and
land-use planning Land use planning is the process of regulating the use of land by a central authority. Usually, this is done to promote more desirable social and environmental outcomes as well as a more efficient use of resources. More specifically, the goals o ...
.


Legal definitions

Legal definitions vary by
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
.


'Dwelling' (England and Wales)

Under
English law English law is the common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black' ...
, a dwelling is defined as a self-contained 'substantial' unit of accommodation, such as a building, part of a building, caravan, houseboat or other mobile home. A tent is not normally considered substantial.


'Dwelling' (North Carolina)

According to
North Carolina North Carolina () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. North Carolina is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 28th largest and List of states and territories of the Un ...

North Carolina
General Statute § 160A-442, "Dwelling" means any building, structure, manufactured home or mobile home, or part thereof, used and occupied for human habitation, or intended to be so used, and includes any outhouses and appurtenances belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith, except that it does not include any manufactured home or mobile home, which is used solely for a seasonal vacation purpose." According to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 53-244.030, "Dwelling" means a residential structure that contains one to four units, whether or not that structure is attached to real property. The term includes an individual condominium unit, cooperative unit, manufactured home, mobile home, or trailer if it is used as a residence. Under the Oregon law, a "dwelling" is defined as a "building which regularly or intermittently is occupied by a person lodging therein at night, whether or not a person is actually present." The United States v. Adams, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 25866 (9th Cir. Or. 25 November 2009)


'Habitual residence' (international law)

In international conventions, a person can have only one
habitual residence In conflict of laws, habitual residence is the standard used to determine the law which should be applied to determine a given legal dispute or legal entitlement. It can be contrasted with the law on domicile (law), domicile, traditionally used in c ...
, being the place where the individual ordinarily resides and routinely returns to after visiting other places for a reasonably significant period of time. It is used to determine the law which should be applied to determine a given legal dispute. The
Hague Conference on Private International Law The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) is an Intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organisation in the area of private international law (also known as ''conflict of laws''), that administers several international c ...
has deliberately refrained from offering a definition so that the concept may be flexible and adaptable to practical requirements.


'Inhabited dwelling' (Various US states)

In California,
California Penal CodeImage:Californiapenalcode.jpg, 250px, Volumes of the Thomson West annotated version of the California Penal Code; the other popular annotated version is Deering's, which is published by LexisNexis The Penal Code of California forms the basis for th ...
§ 246 refers to the discharging of a firearm at an inhabited dwelling house. This
statute A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislature, legislative authority that governs the legal entities of a city, State (polity), state, or country by way of consent. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare Public po ...

statute
specifies that a "dwelling" (more commonly referred to as a house) is "inhabited" if a person lives in it; it is irrelevant whether anyone is present. A house, building, or structure is not considered "inhabited" or "occupied" if the occupants have moved out or vacated and do not intend to return, even if the personal property was left behind. Therefore, it would no longer be considered a dwelling for legal purposes, which from a defense standpoint, would negate a conviction under this code. For
prosecutor A prosecutor is a legal representative of the prosecution in states with either the common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tr ...
s, it is advantageous to construe these terms loosely in order to secure as many convictions as possible for violation of this code. Examples of loose interpretation exist not only in California but also in other states such as
Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. It encompasses most of the Southern Rocky Mountains, as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the wester ...

Colorado
where a similar statute (Colorado Code § 18-1-901(3)(g)) applies in cases even when a shooting at a detached garage that does not traditionally constitute a dwelling or house. However, per
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionary'' is the most-use ...
, courts in both of these states and others have held that it does qualify as an occupied building for purposes of a criminal conviction.


The 'curtilage' (boundary) of a dwelling

In law, the
curtilage In common law, the curtilage of a house A house is a single-unit residential building, which may range in complexity from a rudimentary hut to a complex structure of wood, masonry, concrete or other material, outfitted with plumbing, electric ...
of a dwelling is the land immediately surrounding it, including any closely associated buildings and structures. It delineates the boundary within which a homeowner can have a reasonable expectation of privacy with particular relevance to
search and seizure Search and seizure is a procedure used in many civil law and common law legal systems by which police The police are a Law enforcement organization, constituted body of Law enforcement officer, persons empowered by a State (polity), state, ...
,
conveyancing In law, conveyancing is the transfer of legal Title (property), title to (of) real property from one person to another, or the granting of an encumbrance such as a mortgage law, mortgage or a lien. A typical conveyancing transaction has two majo ...
of
real property In England, English common law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is land which is the property of some person and all structures (also called Land improvement, improvements or Fixture (property law), fixtures) integra ...
, burglary,
trespass Trespass is an area of criminal law Criminal law is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, ...

trespass
, and land use planning. In urban properties, the location of the curtilage may be evident from the position of fences, wall,s and similar; within larger properties, it may be a matter of some legal debate as to where the private area ends and any "open fields doctrine, open fields beyond".


See also

* Housing * List of human habitation forms * Residence in English family law, pertaining to where children should live in the case of disputes * Vandwelling


References


External links

{{Authority control Legal terminology Human habitats