Two hundred and twenty-five years ago, our Founding Fathers established the foundation of a new nation, born of a desire for independence and grounded on principles of Justice, domestic Tranquility, common Defense, general Welfare, and the Blessings of Liberty. The principles are the basis of our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
But what does that have to do with our home ownership rights? Let’s take a look at what the Constitution and Bill of Rights have to say about home ownership rights.
Does the Constitution give us the right to own a home? Well, actually, no it doesn’t. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that every citizen or resident has the right to own a home. So let’s be clear – Home Ownership itself is NOT a right; but if you do own property (a home, real estate, other property), then you have certain rights that are protected by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Let’s look at a few of those.
Prior to the Revolutionary War and our Declaration of Independence, the King of England could at his discretion require home owners to allow the King’s army – soldiers and mercenaries – to live in their homes. Home owners had no voice in the decision. The Third Amendment gave home owners the right to privacy in their homes; no longer could the government quarter troops in private homes. The Fourth Amendment went on to give people “the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
Most often associated with the right against self-incrimination, the Fifth Amendment also protects home owners from having their property seized “without due process of law, nor taken for public use without just compensation.”
The Constitution itself provides for other ownership rights protection by granting federal courts jurisdiction over interstate land disputes in order to provide an unbiased decision, by protecting the rights of individuals doing business and owning land in multiple states, and by requiring state courts to honor property records of other states. For more information on these and other home ownership rights protected by our Constitution, go to the Tenth Amendment Center.
And on this special day, July 4th, I hope you and your family has taken advantage of the opportunity to own a home, and have taken a moment to appreciate the freedoms and quiet enjoyment of those property rights protected by our Founding Fathers.