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Recent Changes to MBE Real Property Law

mbe real property real property law changes 2017

Just when we thought the Bar Exam couldn’t get any more fun, the bar examiners decided to make some changes to the Real Property portion of the MBE and MEE for 2017. The following Real Property law changes went into effect starting with the February 2017 exam, and will also apply to the July 2017 bar exam.


New topics include:

(1) Conflicts of law (I.D.4.);

(2) Property owners’ associations and common interest ownership communities (II.A.6.);

(3) Drafting, review, and negotiation of closing documents (V.B.3.); and

(4) Persons authorized to execute real estate documents (V.B.4.).

The Quick Breakdown:

Fortunately, the addition of these four new topics do not mean a significant amount of additional material to review. The topics are pretty straightforward, and also cover practical law that will be useful if you are ever involved with purchasing, or assisting others in purchasing a home.


The NCBE lists “minor modifications” to the following areas of Real Property law: 

Future Interests – The scope of coverage now includes providing specific examples of rules affecting future interests such as survivorship, class gifts, waste and cy pres (I.A.2.e.);

Landlord/Tenant Law – Rules regarding security deposits are now fair game under the termination of tenancies (I.C.4.);

Zoning  – The subject area of Zoning now includes more detailed topics such as zoning laws, protection of pre-existing property rights, rezoning and other zoning changes (II.D.1.–3.);

Restrictive Covenants and Easements – There are now separate topics for the transfer of restrictive covenants, as well as the transfers of easements, profits and licenses (II.B.4.); and

Foreclosure – The subject area now covers acceleration of loans before foreclosure (IV.E.2.).

The Quick Breakdown:

These changes are indeed “minor,” so don’t panic.  You could say the bar examiners are actually doing everyone a favor. By providing a more detailed breakdown of these areas of law, exam takers now have a slightly better road map for their review.


Note that the Real Property topics will no longer include

(1) Application of Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code to fixtures (previously included in II.C.) or

(2) Abatement of devises (previously V.C.5.).

Warning! While these topics will no longer be tested on the MBE (multiple choice) portion of the exam, you will still be required to know them for the written essay portion. These are fundamental concepts in Wills and Estates.

Make Sure Your Materials Are Up to Date

Whether you use Lean Sheets or another resource for reviewing the black-letter law, make sure your materials are up to date with all of the changes for 2017.  All of our Lean Sheets and Flashcards have been updated to reflect the new Real Property changes. As there is limited information as to how these changes will be tested on the exam, we did our best to provide an overview of the newly added topics as well as the “minor modifications” announced by the bar examiners.

To view the NCBE’s official 2017 Real Property subject outline, Click HERE.