Trespass to chattel is a tort that involves one person interfering with another person’s property right.

Legal Definition

Chattel is “an item of tangible, movable or immovable property except real estate and things (such as buildings) connected with real property.” The Restatement (Second) of Torts Section 217 defines “trespass to chattel” as intentionally taking someone else’s property or using or interfering with someone’s property rights.


Chattel, in other words, is tangible personal property such as furniture, equipment and jewelry. Chattel does not include real estate and buildings on a site. Trespass to chattel refers to taking chattel without consent or through fraud, blocking access to chattel and destroying chattel in someone else’s possession.


An individual who successfully asserts a trespass to chattel claim can seek economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include compensation for the diminished property value that occurred as a result of the trespass. If the trespass affected the individual’s use or possession of their personal property and resulted in loss of income, the individual can recoup the financial loss. Non-economic damages may include emotional distress.

Legal Basis

Trespass to chattel is a type of common law intentional tort. Tort law compensates individuals who have been injured by negligent or intentional acts and holds those who committed the acts liable. To establish a claim for trespass to chattel, an individual must show that their property was intentionally damaged or temporarily seized without permission.

Categorized in:

personal injury,

Last Update: June 14, 2024