Latin, in ancient Roman law and conserved in modern civil law, the jus utendi is the right for private and rented property - inclusive of both land and residence itself - to be used for its apparent intended purpose (namely, inhabiting it), but not including the right to handle that property destructively.

The opposite concept is the jus abutendi, the right to abuse or altogether destroy something which one holds in exclusive ownership, or to destroy it in a specific way.

Though these rules in Rome mainly governed the ways in which the rights of homeowners differed from those of renters, they also accounted for ways in which use and abuse of property could constitute other forms of social disruption. A homeowner may have a right to tear down their own house, but if they share a party wall with an adjacent house, they do not have the right to damage that house. If their roof overhangs another roof, they do not have the right to use fire to destroy their property, since the burning roof could ignite neighbouring roofs. Slaves and livestock, regarded also as property, had certain minimum standards of treatment which, if broken, could result in penalties for their owner. Plots of land within a city, suitable for small-scale subsistence gardening, were not to be malignantly destroyed by their owners during times of food scarcity, because it would increase total citizen dependence on welfare assistance.

Other rights relating to these include the jus fruendi, the jus disponendi, the jus vindicandi, the jus possidendi, and the jus accessionis. These collectively were considered the seven cardinal rights of ownership under Roman law. Briefly: the jus fruendi is the right to the fruits of something one owns, like the offspring of one's livestock and the yield of one's crops. Jus disponendi is the right to completely dispose of one's property, with the expectation of not being required to take continual responsibility for it (which included no longer being responsible for the life of a slave one has freed, and not being held liable for later illness in livestock one has previously sold). Jus vindicandi is the right to recover one's property that has departed one's custody without intentional disposal, such as lost and found items or stolen property. The jus possidendi is the right to have possession of one's property in the first place, and not having it held as hostage or collateral against one's later actions; this included having property not being seized by the state even if the owner is convicted of crime, but remaining with the owner's kin. The jus accessiones is the right to the "accessories" of anything which one owns; this law governed whether a person merely passing through another's land has a right to game hunted on that land, wild food foraged there, or valuables discovered there: these are all accessory possessions to the possession of the land itself, and the would-be poacher is legally liable for failing to find the true owner and obtain permission.

These laws existed long before the emperor Hadrian was in power, but he was chiefly responsible for both codifying them in their extensive detail, inclusive of exceptional cases and actual case studies, and for documenting them with the help of jurist Salvius Julianus in the Edictum perpetuum.

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