What is an emblement in real estate?

What is an emblement in real estate?


In the realm of real estate, there are various legal terms and concepts that can be confusing for both buyers and sellers. One such term is “emblement.” Emblement refers to a specific type of property right that pertains to crops or plants cultivated on a piece of land. In this article, we will delve deeper into the concept of emblement in real estate, exploring its definition, significance, and legal implications.

What is an Emblement?

Definition: Emblement, in the context of real estate, refers to crops or plants that are considered personal property rather than part of the real property. These crops or plants are typically cultivated by a tenant or a farmer on a piece of land that they do not own.

Significance: The significance of emblement lies in the fact that it allows the tenant or farmer who cultivated the crops or plants to retain ownership and possession of them, even after their lease or tenancy agreement has ended. This is important because it provides a level of protection for the tenant’s investment of time, effort, and resources in cultivating the crops.

Doctrine of Emblements: The doctrine of emblements is a legal principle that recognizes the rights of a tenant or farmer to harvest and retain crops or plants that they have cultivated, even if their tenancy or lease has expired. This principle is based on the idea that it would be unfair to deprive the tenant or farmer of the fruits of their labor.

Termination of Tenancy: When a tenancy or lease agreement comes to an end, the general rule is that any improvements made to the property by the tenant become part of the real property and belong to the landlord. However, emblements are an exception to this rule. If the crops or plants are considered emblements, the tenant has the right to enter the property and harvest them, even after their tenancy has ended.

Conditions for Emblements: To qualify as emblements, certain conditions must be met. Firstly, the crops or plants must be annual or biennial, meaning that they have a natural life cycle of less than two years. Perennial crops, such as fruit trees, do not qualify as emblements. Secondly, the cultivation of the crops or plants must have been done in good faith, meaning that the tenant or farmer must have reasonably believed that they had the right to cultivate the land.


In conclusion, emblements are an important concept in real estate that relates to the rights of tenants or farmers to crops or plants they have cultivated on a property they do not own. The doctrine of emblements recognizes the tenant’s investment and allows them to retain ownership and possession of the crops, even after their tenancy has ended. This legal principle provides a level of protection and fairness for those who have put time and effort into cultivating the land.


– Cornell Law School. (n.d.). Emblements. Retrieved from law.cornell.edu.
– Legal Information Institute. (n.d.). Emblements. Retrieved from law.cornell.edu.