ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — If you’re a homeowner, maybe you’ve wondered how much of the air above and earth below your home you actually own.
In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration legally controls the airspace 500 feet and above your property, but if you wanted to build a 499-foot tower, you could — assuming you could get zoning permits to do so.
According to Zillow, you also own the land below your property as far down as you’d like, as property ownership is based on the Latin doctrine, “For whoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to heaven and down to hell.”
While a city does have the right to build subway tunnels or pipes without compensating you, a homeowner does retain mineral rights for anything found on their property, such as gold or oil. However, you may not be able to obtain the zoning permits required to mine it.
A property lot is defined by boundary lines shared with neighbors, but — does a homeowner own property all the way to the street?
Even though a person’s driveway is their own property, the sidewalk that crosses it is part of an “easement,” or a right to use someone else’s land for a specific purpose. This means that while residents are granted use for the entrance to and the rest of their driveway, the sidewalk is owned by the city or county.