chattel (chătˈəl) [key], in law, any property other than a freehold estate in land (see tenure). A chattel is treated as personal property rather than real property regardless of whether it is movable or immovable (see property). Certain uses of the term (e.g., chattel mortgage) refer only to movable property. Otherwise the term also includes chattels real, i.e., those estates in land that do not constitute a freehold.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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