DEFINITION of 'Chattel'

Personal property that is movable. Chattel can be either animate or inanimate personal property and can be borrowed against using a chattel mortgage. It typically excludes freehold land and items such as fixtures or equipment permanently attached to a building or the ground.


In accounting, chattel property and other personal property is tracked separately from land or improvements made to land because it can be depreciated more quickly. Additionally, legal systems consider rights to chattel differently compared to rights afforded to real property, with rights to real property typically having longer statutes of limitations and being harder to overturn.

  1. Common Law Property

    A system used by most states to determine ownership of property ...
  2. Real Property

    Any property that is attached directly to land, as well as the ...
  3. Property Rights

    Laws created by governments in regards to how individuals can ...
  4. Personal Property

    A type of property which, in its most general definition, can ...
  5. Chattel Mortgage

    A term used to describe a loan arrangement in which an item of ...
  6. Encumbrance

    A claim against a property by a party that is not the owner. ...
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