Claims demarcate an area as being owned. People who are not granted permissions to the claim are blocked from most actions. Keep in mind that they have the option to commit crimes. Secondarily, but quite importantly, they also prevent decay on buildings, objects, and pavement.
Types of claims
Personal Claim is owned and maintained by a single player (they are the only one who can grant permissions to it.)
Village Claim helps facilitate maintaining and managing usually a much larger area that is usually owned by a group of players. Villages have their own "Privilege" system, accessed through Kith & Kin -menu.
Any character that walks through a visitor gate (as indicated by the red flags) on a village claim (or personal claim), unless they are a member/owner, receives the Visitor buff. Characters with this buff are unable to perform Criminal Acts, even with the toggle switched on. Essentially this means the visitor gates of walled claims can be left open to anyone to show off your beautifully cultivated lands without having to worry about Theft, Vandalism, Battery or Murder. Assuming the entire are inside walls has been claimed as walking off the claim removes the Visitor buff.
- WARNING: Visitor buff does not prevent looting from knocked out characters. This issue might also extend towards all objects that have their own built-in claims, such as hearth fires, leantos and tents. 
Claims have power level ranging from 0% to 100% and this level will multiply the base time that Battering Ram needs to "dry" before being able to damage walls. (24 hours for Palisade and 32 hours for Brickwall) Fresh claims are therefore extremely vulnerable to siege, this is unfortunate side effect of nerfing claims created next to other claims for purposes of griefing or siege.
- Simple item drops should now, much like objects, remember their Last Owner, meaning that if you drop something on claimed land, you should be able to pick it back up again." >"
- Fixed a bug by which it was possible to cross a claim border without a trespassing check when following a ridge." >"
- You can now place stockpiles with "Rummaging" permissions, rather than requiring "Vandalism", as was previously the case. Report any problems." >"
- Personal Claims now have the same building restrictions as walls do, i.e. must be built more than three tiles away from water." >"
- Claim Bonds now retain their names when inherited." >"
- Fairly invasive overhaul of claim checks during player movement, especially as relates to mounts, aiming at correcting the problem of mounts entering claims without notification, trespassing and theft requirements, village name presentation, &c. This can potentially cause unintended consequences, so keep an eye out for that. Fixing this and this." >"
|Claims, Villages, and Realms|
|Personal Claims: Personal Claim - Yeomanry - A Bond of Blood & Soil|
Village Claims: Village Claim - Lawspeaking - Lawspeaker - Authority - Field Cairn - Statue of the Chieftain - Village Banner - Charter Stone