What Are Emblements in Real Estate Properties?

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Written By Tommy

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If you’re a farmer, then you know all about emblements. But for the uninitiated, what are emblements in real estate?

Emblements are crops that are grown by tenants who lease the land. The planted and harvested crops belong to the tenant and not the landlord. If for some reason, the landowner decides to evict the tenants, the farmers can still harvest their produce.

If the farmland is inherited by someone else because of the death of a tenant, the crops that grew on the land will be passed to the tenant’s heirs. However, if the farm was growing annual crops that did not require any manual labor, then they are not considered emblements.

Read on to learn more about what are emblements in real estate.

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What Are Emblements in Real Estate?

The ownership of crops is generally held by the landowner unless the crop has been leased to a tenant farmer. This is the concept of emblements.

Crops planted by tenants with the intent to harvest them are regarded as the personal property of the tenant, even if the land does not belong to them.

The emblement system protects farmers from financial harm when a change in property occurs. This could include changes in ownership of the land or foreclosure.

If the property goes to someone else because of the death of the tenant, the crops pass to the tenant’s heirs.

There are a variety of circumstances in which emblements rights apply.

For example, a farmer is renting a plot of land for several years to grow corn and soybeans. The annual lease is automatically renewed every July.

In May, the landowner ends the lease as they intend to sell the property. The farmer will continue to retain the right to work on the land when the crops are harvested.

The emblement principle also applies to buying and selling homes. Buyers may be unaware that the crop grown on a property they are purchasing belongs to another person.

Fructus Industriales vs. Fructus Naturales

Emblements can be classified into fructus industriales (crops grown by manual labor or “fruit of the work”) and fructus naturales (crops that grow naturally). 

Crops that do not require labor are not considered emblements.

In real estate, emblements are any crop that is produced through labor and is not naturally occurring. For example, wheat and corn would be considered emblements while trees and wild mushrooms are not. The farmer is entitled to receive all proceeds from these emblements, whether he owns the land or not.

Apples and other fruit trees are annual products of perennial plants. Therefore, they are considered emblements only until the first harvest after the end of the lease.

Emblements are lost if a grower’s lease is terminated due to their own actions.

When there is no lease in place, emblements are the rules and expectations that the property owner and tenant have for each other.


How Do Emblements Affect Real Estate Law?

Emblements are a type of personal property that allows someone to harvest fruits or crops that have been planted on the land of someone else. These rights are typically held by farmers or other agricultural workers.

The landowner usually retains ownership of the land itself but the farmer has the right to use the land for the purpose of harvesting the crops. Emblements can be transferred to another party, but they typically expire when the crops are harvested.

Emblements in Real Estate Disputes

If you’re a farmer or rancher, your livelihood depends on your emblements, so it’s no surprise that there have been many court cases involving emblements in real estate disputes.

One of the most famous emblements cases is Musick v. Musick, which was decided by the Supreme Court of California in 1873. In that case, a husband and wife owned a ranch together, and the wife wanted to sell her share of the property.

However, the husband refused to sell, and the wife sued. The court ultimately ruled in favor of the wife, holding that she was entitled to sell her share of the property, even though it included the emblements.

More recently, in 2012, the Supreme Court of Ohio heard a case involving emblements and real estate contracts. In that case, a couple had signed a contract to sell their farm, but the sale fell through. The couple then sued the buyers, claiming that they were entitled to keep the earnest money that had been paid, as well as the value of the emblements that had been planted on the property.

The court ruled in favor of the couple, holding that the earnest money was indeed theirs to keep.

As you can see, emblements can be a contentious issue in real estate disputes. If you’re involved in a dispute that involves emblements, it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you protect your rights.

Tips for Handling Emblements on Your Property

If you’re a property owner, you know that emblements can come with the territory. Here are some tips for handling them.

1. Be Proactive

If you see something growing on your property that you don’t want there, take action to remove it.

2. Be Patient

Some emblements can take a while to grow, so don’t expect them to disappear overnight.

3. Be Careful

Some emblements, like poison ivy, can be harmful if not handled properly. Wear gloves and long sleeves when removing them.

4. Be Persistent

If you have trouble getting rid of an emblement, don’t give up. Try different methods until you find one that works.

5. Be Prepared

Have a plan in place for dealing with emblements before they become a problem. This will save you time and hassle in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are emblements in real estate?

Annual, cultivated plants such as wheat, corn, rye, potatoes, and garden vegetables are considered emblems. Wild, naturally occurring plants like trees and grass that grow without human interference are not emblements.

Are emblements fixtures?

Emblements are not fixtures.

Are crops real property or personal property?

When crops are separated from the dirt in which they grew, they are considered personal property. If the crop is still in the ground, it is considered real property owned by the person who owns the land.

When crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat, and other vegetables are still growing in the ground they are considered real property of the landowner. However, when they are harvested, or taken out of the ground, they become personal property.


What are emblements in real estate? The doctrine of emblement protects the farmers that grow and take care of their own crops on a plot of land that they do not own. If they lose their lease on the land, they can still enter and harvest the crop that grew from their efforts.

This is a commonly held belief between land owners and tenant farmers that lease property in order to grow their crops. Farmers often use real estate agents to help them find suitable land for their needs.