The absolute dominion of land is affected by four important limitations imposed and enforced by the state: (1) police power; (2) original and ultimate ownership of the state; (3) eminent domain; (4) power of taxation.
17. Police power of the community has the right to keep property from being used in such a manner as will endanger the life, health or morals of the community members. The owner of land cannot maintain On it a tenement house or any other building that is insanitary or that is in any other way danger ous to the occupants. He cannot erect a tenement house unless it conforms to certain standards of light and ventilation. The right to erect and maintain buildings is limited strictly by laws designed to guard the public safety and health. This right of regula tion comes within what is known as the police power of the state.
18. Original and ultimate ownership of the state.— The title to all land can be traced back to some form of grant from a sovereign power—the people of the state or their predecessors, the colonies or the king. The state is therefore said to be the original owner of the land. The land may be assumed to belong to the owner, his heirs and assigns forever; yet if the owner dies leaving no heirs capable of inheriting, the land escheats to the state or sovereign power. From these
conditions the principle develops that the state is not only the original, but also the ultimate owner of the land.
19. Right of eminent right of emi nent domain is the right possessed by the state to ap propriate land for public use whenever necessity arises. No matter how much an owner may want to keep his land, if it is needed for public use the state has the right to take it. This power is called the right of expropriation. There is the constitutional limita tion, however, that this right shall be exercised only upon the condition that a just compensation be made to the owner for the property taken.
20. Power of taxation.—The state has the right to levy taxes to raise money for its support. It is right that those who enjoy the benefits of the govern ment should bear its expenses. Real property, being permanent and within easy reach of the tax gatherer, is frequently the basis of state and local taxation. Taxes levied upon real property are enforced against it, and the state's power of taxation is therefore a very real limitation upon the ownership of the land.