usufruct

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usufruct

the right of use of another's property without destroying or consuming that property. The concept derives from ROMAN LAW, and is in general use in the social sciences to designate property relations whereby either property ownership, particularly in land, is not established within a society, or where use rather than ownership may be the most important aspect of property relations.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Usufruct

 

in ancient Rome, the right held by one person to use property belonging to another and to enjoy the benefits and profits derived therefrom, without, however, changing the substance of such property. Usufruct was a type of personal servitude established for the use of an individual, either for life or for a designated period, without the right of alienation or transfer through inheritance. Widely practiced during the Middle Ages, usufruct became common in bourgeois law, as in France; it was usually regarded as an independent real right.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.