DICTIONARY

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

ABANDONMENT: 1. The relinquishing of a right or interest with the intention of never reclaiming it. • In the context of contracts for the sale of land, courts sometimes use the term abandonment as if it were synonymous with rescission, but the two should be distinguished. An abandonment is merely one party’s acceptance of the situation that the nonperforming party has caused. But a rescission due to a material breach is a termination or discharge of the contract for all purposes. 2. Property. The relinquishing of or departing from a homestead, etc., with the present, definite, and permanent intention of never returning or regaining possession…5. Bankruptcy. A trustee’s court-approved release of property that is burdensome or of inconsequential value to the estate, or the trustee’s release of nonadministered property to the debtor when the case is closed. 6. Contracts. Rescission. 7. Insurance. An insured’s relinquishing of damaged or lost property to the insurer as a constructive total loss… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ABSTRACT OF JUDGMENT: A copy or summary of a judgment that, when filed with the appropriate public office, creates a lien on the judgment debtor’s nonexempt property. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ABSTRACT OF TITLE: A concise statement, usu. prepared for a mortgagee or purchaser of real property, summarizing the history of a piece of land, including all conveyances, interests, liens, and encumbrances that affect title to the property. — Also termed brief; brief of title. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ACCELERATION CLAUSE: A loan-agreement provision that requires the debtor to pay off the balance sooner than the due date if some specified event occurs, such as failure to pay an installment or to maintain insurance. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ACCEPTANCE: 1. An offeree’s assent, either by express act or by implication from conduct, to the terms of an offer in a manner authorized or requested by the offeror, so that a binding contract is formed. • If an acceptance modifies the terms or adds new ones, it generally operates as a counteroffer…5. An insurer’s agreement to issue a policy of insurance. 6. An heir’s agreement to take an inheritance. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ACCRUED EXPENSE: An expense incurred but not yet paid. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ACQUISITION: 1. The gaining of possession or control over something . 2. Something acquired . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ACRE: An area of land measuring 43, 560 square feet… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ACRE-FOOT: A volume measurement in irrigation, equal to the amount of water that will cover one acre of land in one foot of water (325,850 gallons). (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ACTION TO QUIET TITLE: A proceeding to establish a plaintiff’s title to land by compelling the adverse claimant to establish a claim or be forever estopped from asserting it. — Also termed quiet-title action. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ADJUSTABLE-RATE MORTGAGE: A mortgage in which the lender can periodically adjust the mortgage’s interest rate in accordance with fluctuations in some external market index. —Abbr. ARM. — Also termed variable-rate mortgage; flexible-rate mortgage. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ADMINISTRATOR: 1. A person who manages or heads a business, public office, or agency. 2. A person appointed by the court to manage the assets and liabilities of an intestate decedent. • This term once referred to males only (as opposed to administratrix), but legal writers now generally use administrator to refer to someone of either sex. In the Restatement of Property, the term administrator includes the term executor unless specifically stated otherwise. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ADMINISTRATOR CUM TESTAMENTO ANNEXO: An administrator appointed by the court to carry out the provisions of a will when the testator has named no executor, or the executors named refuse, are incompetent to act, or have died before performing their duties. — Also termed administrator c.t.a.; administrator with the will annexed. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

AFFIDAVIT: A voluntary declaration of facts written down and sworn to by the declarant before an officer authorized to administer oaths. • A great deal of evidence is submitted by affidavit, esp. in pretrial matters such as summary-judgment motions. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ALIENATION: 1. Withdrawal from former attachment; estrangement . 2. Conveyance or transfer of property to another . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ALIENATION CLAUSE: 1. A deed provision that either permits or prohibits the further conveyance of the property. 2. Insurance. A clause in an insurance policy voiding coverage if the policyholder alienates the insured property. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

AMORTIZATION: 1. The act or result of gradually extinguishing a debt, such as a mortgage, usu. by contributing payments of principal each time a periodic interest payment is due. 2. The act or result of apportioning the initial cost of a usu. intangible asset, such as a patent, over the asset’s useful life. — Sometimes also termed amortizement. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

APPORTIONMENT: 1. Division into proportionate shares; esp., the division of rights and liabilities between two or more persons or entities. 2. Tax. The act of allocating or attributing moneys or expenses in a given way, as when a taxpayer allocates part of profits to a particular tax year or part of the use of a personal asset to a business…4. The division (by statute or by the testator’s instruction) of an estate-tax liability among persons interested in an estate. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

APPRAISAL: 1. The determination of what constitutes a fair price; valuation; estimation of worth. 2. The report of such a determination. — Also termed appraisement. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

APPRAISER: An impartial person who estimates the value of something, such as real estate, jewelry, or rare books. — Also termed valuer. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

APPRECIATION: An increase in an asset’s value, usu. because of inflation. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

APPURTENANCE: Something that belongs or is attached to something else

. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

AS IS: In the existing condition without modification

. • Under UCC § 2-316(3)(a), a seller can disclaim all implied warranties by stating that the goods are being sold “as is” or “with all faults.” Generally, a sale of property “as is” means that the property is sold in its existing condition, and use of the phrase as is relieves the seller from liability for defects in that condition. — Also termed with all faults. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ASSESSED VALUATION: The value that a taxing authority gives to property and to which the tax rate is applied. (From Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ASSESSMENT: 1. Determination of the rate or amount of something, such as a tax or damages . 2. Imposition of something, such as a tax or fine, according to an established rate; the tax or fine so imposed . 3. Official valuation of property for purposes of taxation . — Also termed tax assessment. 4. An audit or review . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ASSESSOR: 1. An official who evaluates or makes assessments, esp. for purposes of taxation. — Also termed (specif.) tax assessor. 2. A person who advises a judge or magistrate about scientific or technical matters during a trial. 3. Adsessor. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ASSESSOR’S PARCEL NUMBER: An assessor’s parcel number, or APN, is a number assigned to parcels of real property by the tax assessor of a particular jurisdiction for purposes of identification and record-keeping. The assigned number is unique within the particular jurisdiction, and may conform to certain formatting standards that convey basic identifying information such as the property type or location within the plat map. In the United States, APNs are typically assigned by the local taxing authority, such as the city or county within which the property is located. Many taxing authorities will provide property tax information to the public, indexed by APN. (from Wikipedia)

ASSET: 1. An item that is owned and has value. 2. (pl.) The entries on a balance sheet showing the items of property owned, including cash, inventory, equipment, real estate, accounts receivable, and goodwill. 3. (pl.) All the property of a person (esp. a bankrupt or deceased person) available for paying debts or for distribution. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ASSIGNMENT: 1. The transfer of rights or property . 2. The rights or property so transferred

. 3. The instrument of transfer … (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ASSIGNMENT-OF-RENTS CLAUSE: A mortgage provision or separate agreement that entitles the lender to collect rents from the mortgaged premises if the borrower defaults. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ASSUMPTION: 1. A fact or statement taken as true or correct; a supposition . 2. The act of taking (esp. someone else’s debt or other obligation) for or on oneself; the agreement to so take . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ASSUMPTION OF MORTGAGE OR TRUST DEED: The acquisition of real property coupled with the assumption of personal liability for debt secured by that property. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ATTACHMENT: 1. The seizing of a person’s property to secure a judgment or to be sold in satisfaction of a judgment. — Also termed (in civil law) provisional seizure. 2. The arrest of a person who either is in contempt of court or is to be held as security for the payment of a judgment. 3. A writ ordering legal seizure of property (esp. to satisfy a creditor’s claim) or of a person. — Also termed writ of attachment. 4. The creation of a security interest in property, occurring when the debtor agrees to the security, receives value from the secured party, and obtains rights in the collateral. 5. The act of affixing or connecting; something (as a document) that is affixed or connected to something else. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ATTORNEY: 1. Strictly, one who is designated to transact business for another; a legal agent. — Also termed attorney-in-fact; private attorney. 2. A person who practices law; lawyer. — Also termed (in sense 2) attorney-at-law; public attorney. — Abbr. att’y. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

AUCTION: A public sale of property to the highest bidder. • Under UCC § 2-328, a sale at auction is ordinarily complete when the auctioneer so announces in a customary manner, as by pounding a hammer. — Also termed auction sale. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

AUTOMATIC STAY: Bankruptcy. A bar to all judicial and extrajudicial collection efforts against the debtor or the debtor’s property, subject to specific statutory exceptions. • The policy behind the automatic stay, which is effective upon the filing of the bankruptcy petition, is that all actions against the debtor should be halted pending the determination of creditors’ rights and the orderly administration of the debtor’s assets free from creditor interference. — Also termed automatic suspension. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

B

BALLOON PAYMENT: A final loan payment that is usu. much larger than the preceding regular payments and that discharges the principal balance of the loan. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

BANKRUPTCY: 1. A statutory procedure by which a (usu. insolvent) debtor obtains financial relief and undergoes a judicially supervised reorganization or liquidation of the debtor’s assets for the benefit of creditors; a case under the Bankruptcy Code (Title 11 of the United States Code). — Also termed bankruptcy proceeding; bankruptcy case. 2. The field of law dealing with the rights of debtors who are financially unable to pay their debts and the rights of their creditors. — Also termed bankruptcy law. 3. The status of a party who has declared bankruptcy under a bankruptcy statute. — Also termed statutory insolvency. 4. Informally, the fact of being financially unable to pay one’s debts and obligations as they become due; insolvency. • The roots of bankruptcy are the Latin bancus (table) and ruptus (broken). The English word bankruptcy derives from the Italian banca rotta, referring to the medieval Italian custom of breaking the counter of a financially failed merchant. — Also termed (in sense 4) failure to meet obligations. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

BASE FEE: A fee that has some qualification connected to it and that terminates whenever the qualification terminates. • An example of the words creating a base fee are “to A and his heirs, tenants of the manor of Tinsleydale,” which would terminate when A or his heirs are no longer tenants of the manor of Tinsleydale. Among the base fees at common law are the fee simple subject to a condition subsequent and the conditional fee. — Also termed determinable fee; qualified fee; limited fee. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

BEARER: One who possesses a negotiable instrument marked “payable to bearer” or indorsed in blank. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

BENEFICIARY: 1. A person for whose benefit property is held in trust; esp., one designated to benefit from an appointment, disposition, or assignment (as in a will, insurance policy, etc.), or to receive something as a result of a legal arrangement or instrument. 2. A person to whom another is in a fiduciary relation, whether the relation is one of agency, guardianship, or trust. 3. A person who is initially entitled to enforce a promise, whether that person is the promisee or a third party. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

BEQUEST: 1. The act of giving property (usu. personal property) by will. 2. Property (usu. personal property other than money) disposed of in a will. — Also termed bequeathal. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

BILL OF COMPLAINT: An original bill that begins an action in a court of equity. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

BILL OF SALE: An instrument for conveying title to personal property, absolutely or by way of security. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

BINDER: 1. A document in which the buyer and the seller of real property declare their common intention to bring about a transfer of ownership, usu. accompanied by the buyer’s initial payment. 2. Loosely, the buyer’s initial payment in the sale of real property. 3. An insurer’s memorandum giving the insured temporary coverage while the application for an insurance policy is being processed or while the formal policy is being prepared. — Also termed binding receipt; binding slip. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

BLANKET MORTGAGE: A mortgage covering two or more properties that are pledged to support a debt. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

BOND: 1. An obligation; a promise. 2. A written promise to pay money or do some act if certain circumstances occur or a certain time elapses; a promise that is defeasible upon a condition subsequent; esp., an instrument under seal by which (1) a public officer undertakes to pay a sum of money if he or she does not faithfully discharge the responsibilities of office, or (2) a surety undertakes that if the public officer does not do so, the surety will be liable in a penal sum. 3. A long-term, interest-bearing debt instrument issued by a corporation or governmental entity, usu. to provide for a particular financial need; esp., such an instrument in which the debt is secured by a lien on the issuer’s property. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

BREACH OF CONTRACT: Violation of a contractual obligation by failing to perform one’s own promise, by repudiating it, or by interfering with another party’s performance. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

BROKER PRICE OPINION: A Broker’s Price Opinion is the process a hired sales agent utilizes to determine the selling price of a real estate property. BPOs are popularly used in situations where lenders and mortgage companies believe the expense and delay of an appraisal to determine the value of properties is unnecessary. A financial institution will order a BPO from a Real Estate Broker in which the broker will do a drive by BPO or an interior BPO. (from Wikipedia)

BUY-DOWN: Money paid by the buyer of a house to reduce the mortgage-interest payments. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

C

CAPITAL EXPENDITURE: An outlay of funds to acquire or improve a fixed asset. — Also termed capital improvement; capital outlay. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CAVEAT EMPTOR: [Latin “let the buyer beware”] A doctrine holding that purchasers buy at their own risk. • Modern statutes and cases have greatly limited the importance of this doctrine. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CERTIFICATE OF TITLE: A document indicating ownership of real or personal property. UCC § 9-102(a)(10). • This document usu. identifies any liens or other encumbrances. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CHAIN OF TITLE:  1. The ownership history of a piece of land, from its first owner to the present one. — Also termed line of title; string of title. 2. The ownership history of commercial paper, traceable through the indorsements. • For the holder to have good title, every prior negotiation must have been proper. If a necessary indorsement is missing or forged, the chain of title is broken and no later transferee can become a holder. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CHAPTER 7: 1. The chapter of the United States Bankruptcy Code allowing a trustee to collect and liquidate a debtor’s nonexempt property, either voluntarily or by court order, to satisfy creditors. 2. A bankruptcy case filed under this chapter. • An individual debtor who undergoes this type of liquidation usu. gets a fresh financial start by receiving a discharge of all debts. — Also termed (in sense 2) straight bankruptcy; liquidation bankruptcy. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CHAPTER 13: 1. The chapter of the United States Bankruptcy Code allowing a person’s earnings to be collected by a trustee and paid to creditors by means of a court-approved debt-repayment plan if the person has a regular income. • A plan filed under Chapter 13 is sometimes called a wage-earner’s plan, a wage-earner plan, or an income-based plan. Chapter 13 allows the debtor to propose a plan of rehabilitation to extend or reduce the balance of any obligations and to receive a discharge from unsecured debts upon completion of the payments under the plan. A plan made in good faith will be confirmed if the creditors receive what they would have received under Chapter 7, and if the plan pledges all of the debtor’s disposable income for three years. 2. A bankruptcy case filed under this chapter. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CHATTEL: (usu. pl.) Movable or transferable property; personal property; esp., a physical object capable of manual delivery and not the subject matter of real property. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CHATTEL MORTGAGE: A mortgage on goods purchased on installment, whereby the seller transfers title to the buyer but retains a lien securing the unpaid balance. • Chattel mortgages have generally been replaced by security agreements, which are governed by Article 9 of the UCC. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CLEAR TITLE: A title free from any encumbrances, burdens, or other limitations. — Also termed good title. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CLIENT: A person or entity that employs a professional for advice or help in that professional’s line of work. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CLOSING: The final meeting between the parties to a transaction, at which the transaction is consummated; esp., in real estate, the final transaction between the buyer and seller, whereby the conveyancing documents are concluded and the money and property transferred. — Also termed settlement. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CLOSING STATEMENT: 1. Closing argument. 2. A written breakdown of the costs involved in a particular real-estate transaction, usu. prepared by a lender or an escrow agent. — Also termed settlement sheet; settlement statement. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CLOUD ON TITLE: A defect or potential defect in the owner’s title to a piece of land arising from some claim or encumbrance, such as a lien, an easement, or a court order. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CODICIL: A supplement or addition to a will, not necessarily disposing of the entire estate but modifying, explaining, or otherwise qualifying the will in some way. • When admitted to probate, the codicil becomes a part of the will. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

COLLATERAL: 1. A person collaterally related to a decedent. 2. Property that is pledged as security against a debt; the property subject to a security interest or agricultural lien. — Also termed collateral security. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

COLOR OF TITLE: A written instrument or other evidence that appears to establish title but does not in fact do so. — Also termed apparent title. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

COMPARABLE: A piece of property used as a comparison to determine the value of a similar piece of property. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

COMPOUND INTEREST: Interest paid on both the principal and the previously accumulated interest. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CONCESSION: 1. A government grant for specific privileges. 2. The voluntary yielding to a demand for the sake of a settlement. 3. A rebate or abatement… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CONDEMNATION: 1. The act of judicially pronouncing someone guilty; conviction. 2. The determination and declaration that certain property (esp. land) is assigned to public use, subject to reasonable compensation; the exercise of eminent domain by a governmental entity. 3. An official pronouncement that a building is unfit for habitation; the act of making such a pronouncement… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CONDOMINIUM: 1. Ownership in common with others. 2. A single real-estate unit in a multi-unit development in which a person has both separate ownership of a unit and a common interest, along with the development’s other owners, in the common areas… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CONFORMING LOAN: In the United States, a conforming loan is a mortgage loan that conforms to GSE (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) guidelines. The most well-known guideline is the size of the loan, which as of 2013 was generally limited to $417,000 for single family homes in the continental US. Other guidelines include borrower’s loan-to-value ratio (i.e. the size of down payment), debt-to-income ratio, credit score and history, documentation requirements, etc. In general, any loan which does not meet guidelines is a non-conforming loan. A loan which does not meet guidelines specifically because the loan amount exceeds the guideline limits is known as a jumbo loan. (from Wikipedia)

CONSERVATOR: A guardian, protector, or preserver. • Conservator is the modern equivalent of the common-law guardian. Judicial appointment and supervision are still required, but a conservator has far more flexible authority than a guardian, including the same investment powers that a trustee enjoys. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CONSIDERATION: 1. Something (such as an act, a forbearance, or a return promise) bargained for and received by a promisor from a promise; that which motivates a person to do something, esp. to engage in a legal act. • Consideration, or a substitute such as promissory estoppel, is necessary for an agreement to be enforceable. 2. Loosely, valuable consideration; consideration that is adequate to support the bargained-for exchange between the parties … (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE: Notice arising by presumption of law from the existence of facts and circumstances that a party had a duty to take notice of, such as a registered deed or a pending lawsuit; notice presumed by law to have been acquired by a person and thus imputed to that person. — Also termed legal notice. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CONSUMER CREDIT PROTECTION ACT: A federal statute that safeguards consumers in the use of credit by (1) requiring full disclosure of the terms of loan agreements, including finance charges, (2) restricting the garnishment of wages, and (3) regulating the use of credit cards. • Many states have also adopted consumer-credit-protection acts. — Abbr. CCPA. — Also termed Truth in Lending Act (abbr. TILA). (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CONTINGENT FEE: A fee charged for a lawyer’s services only if the lawsuit is successful or is favorably settled out of court. • Contingent fees are usu. calculated as a percentage of the client’s net recovery (such as 25% of the recovery if the case is settled, and 33% if the case is won at trial). — Also termed contingency fee; contingency; conditional fee. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CONTRACT: 1. An agreement between two or more parties creating obligations that are enforceable or otherwise recognizable at law . 2. The writing that sets forth such an agreement . 3. A promise or set of promises by a party to a transaction, enforceable or otherwise recognizable at law; the writing expressing that promise or set of promises . 4. Broadly, any legal duty or set of duties not imposed by the law of tort; esp., a duty created by a decree or declaration of a court . 5. The body of law dealing with agreements and exchange

. 6. The terms of an agreement, or any particular term . 7. Loosely, a sale or conveyance. 8. Loosely, an enforceable agreement between two or more parties to do or not to do a thing or set of things; a compact . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CONTRACT FOR DEED: A conditional sales contract for the sale of real property. — Also termed installment land contract; land sales contract; land contract. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CONVENTIONAL LOAN: A type of mortgage loan that is customarily made by a bank or savings and loan association or other financial institution that is without governmental underwriting such as FHA insurance or a VA guarantee. (from realestatewords.com)

CONVENTIONAL MORTGAGE: A mortgage, not backed by government insurance, by which the borrower transfers a lien or title to the lending bank or other financial institution. • These mortgages, which feature a fixed periodic payment of principal and interest throughout the mortgage term, are typically used for home financing. — Also termed conventional loan. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CONVEYANCE: 1. The voluntary transfer of a right or of property. 2. The transfer of a property right that does not pass by delivery of a thing or merely by agreement. 3. The transfer of an interest in real property from one living person to another, by means of an instrument such as a deed. 4. The document (usu. a deed) by which such a transfer occurs. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

COOPERATIVE: 1. An organization or enterprise (as a store) owned by those who use its services. 2. A dwelling (as an apartment building) owned by its residents, to whom the apartments are leased. — Often shortened to coop; co-op. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

COVENANT: A formal agreement or promise, usu. in a contract or deed, to do or not do a particular act. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

COVERAGE: Inclusion of a risk under an insurance policy; the risks within the scope of an insurance policy. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CRAMDOWN: Court confirmation of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan despite the opposition of certain creditors. • Under the Bankruptcy Code, a court may confirm a plan — even if it has not been accepted by all classes of creditors — if the plan (1) has been accepted by at least one impaired class, (2) does not discriminate unfairly, and (3) is fair and equitable. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CREDIT: 1. Belief; trust

. 2. One’s ability to borrow money; the faith in one’s ability to pay debts . 3. The time that a seller gives the buyer to make the payment that is due <30 days’ credit>. 4. The availability of funds either from a financial institution or under a letter of credit . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

CURTESY: At common law, a husband’s right, upon his wife’s death, to a life estate in the land that his wife owned during their marriage, assuming that a child was born alive to the couple. • This right has been largely abolished. Traditionally, the full phrase was estate by the curtesy of England (or Scotland). (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

D

DAMAGES: Money claimed by, or ordered to be paid to, a person as compensation for loss or injury

. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DEBT SERVICE: 1. The funds needed to meet a long-term debt’s annual interest expenses, principal payments, and sinking-fund contributions. 2. Payments due on a debt, including interest and principal. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DECEDENT: A dead person, esp. one who has died recently. • This term is little used outside law. It typically appears in legal proceedings or administrative inquiries. — Also termed deceased. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DECREE: 1. Traditionally, a judicial decision in a court of equity, admiralty, divorce, or probate — similar to a judgment of a court of law

. 2. A court’s final judgment. 3. Any court order, but esp. one in a matrimonial case . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DEDICATION: The donation of land or creation of an easement for public use. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DEED: 1. Something that is done or carried out; an act or action. 2. A written instrument by which land is conveyed. 3. At common law, any written instrument that is signed, sealed, and delivered and that conveys some interest in property. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DEED IN LIEU OF FORECLOSURE: A deed by which a borrower conveys fee-simple title to a lender in satisfaction of a mortgage debt and as a substitute for foreclosure. • This deed is often referred to simply as “deed in lieu.” (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DEED OF RECONVEYANCE: A deed conveying title to real property from a trustee to a grantor when a loan is repaid. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DEED OF TRUST: A deed conveying title to real property to a trustee as security until the grantor repays a loan. • This type of deed resembles a mortgage. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DEFAULT: The omission or failure to perform a legal or contractual duty; esp., the failure to pay a debt when due. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DEFEASANCE CLAUSE: A mortgage provision stating that the conveyance to the mortgagee will be ineffective if the mortgagor pays the debt on time. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DEFECTIVE TITLE: A title that cannot legally convey the property to which it applies, usu. because of some conflicting claim to that property. — Also termed bad title. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DEFERRED MAINTENANCE: An existing need for maintenance repairs and rehabilitation that has been postponed, unfulfilled or delayed causing a decline in a building’s physical condition and thus value. (from realestatewords.com)

DEFICIENCY: 1. A lack, shortage, or insufficiency. 2. A shortfall in paying taxes; the amount by which the tax properly due exceeds the sum of the amount of tax shown on a taxpayer’s return. — Also termed tax deficiency; income-tax deficiency; deficiency in tax. 3. The amount still owed when the property secured by a mortgage is sold at a foreclosure sale for less than the outstanding debt; esp., the shortfall between the proceeds from a foreclosure sale and an amount consisting of the principal debt plus interest plus the foreclosure costs. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DEFICIENCY JUDGMENT: A judgment against a debtor for the unpaid balance of the debt if a foreclosure sale or a sale of repossessed personal property fails to yield the full amount of the debt due. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DELINQUENCY: 1. A failure or omission; a violation of a law or duty. 2. A debt that is overdue in payment. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DEMAND NOTE: A note payable whenever the creditor wants to be paid. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: The cabinet-level department of the federal government responsible for overseeing programs that are concerned with housing needs and fair-housing opportunities, and with improving and developing the nation’s communities. • It was established in 1965 by the

Department of Housing and Urban Development Act. 42 USCA §§ 3532-37. It is headed by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. — Abbr. HUD. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: The cabinet-level department of the federal government responsible for operating programs that benefit veterans of military service and their families. • It is headed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DEPRECIATION: A decline in an asset’s value because of use, wear, obsolescence, or age. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DESCENT: 1. The acquisition of real property by laws, as by inheritance; the passing of intestate real property to heirs. 2. The fact or process of originating from a common ancestor. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DEVISE: 1. The act of giving property by will. • Although this term traditionally referred to gifts of real property — and in British usage the term is still confined to real property — in American usage the term has been considerably broadened. In both the Restatement of Property and the Uniform Probate Code, a disposition of any property by will is a devise. In the United States today, it is pedantry to insist that the noun devise be restricted to real property. 2. The provision in a will containing such a gift. 3. Property disposed of in a will. 4. A will disposing of property. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DISCHARGE: 1. Any method by which a legal duty is extinguished; esp., the payment of a debt or satisfaction of some other obligation. 2. Bankruptcy. The release of a debtor from monetary obligations upon adjudication of bankruptcy; discharge in bankruptcy. 3. The dismissal of a case. 4. The canceling or vacating of a court order… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DISCOUNT: 1. A reduction from the full amount or value of something, esp. a price. 2. An advance deduction of interest when a person lends money on a note, bill of exchange, or other commercial paper, resulting in the present value. 3. The amount by which a security’s market value is below its face value. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DISCOVERY: 1. The act or process of finding or learning something that was previously unknown . 2. Compulsory disclosure, at a party’s request, of information that relates to the litigation

. • The primary discovery devices are interrogatories, depositions, requests for admissions, and requests for production. Although discovery typically comes from parties, courts also allow limited discovery from nonparties. 3. The facts or documents disclosed . 4. The pretrial phase of a lawsuit during which depositions, interrogatories, and other forms of discovery are conducted. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DISPOSSESS: To oust or evict (someone) from property. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DOCUMENTARY TRANSFER TAX: A tax that applies on all transfers of real property located in a county. A Notice of Payment is entered on face of the deed or on a separate paper filed with the deed. (from realestatewords.com)

DOWER: At common law, a wife’s right, upon her husband’s death, to a life estate in one-third of the land that he owned in fee. • With few exceptions, the wife could not be deprived of dower by any transfer made by her husband during his lifetime. Although most states have abolished dower, many states retaining the concept have expanded the wife’s share to a life estate in all the land that her husband owned in fee. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DOWN PAYMENT: The portion of a purchase price paid in cash (or its equivalent) at the time the sale agreement is executed. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DUE-ON-ENCUMBRANCE CLAUSE: A mortgage provision giving the lender the option to accelerate the debt if the borrower further mortgages the real estate without the lender’s consent. • All state laws on the enforcement of due-on-sale clauses have been preempted, and the subject is now governed exclusively by the Garn Act. 12 USCA § 1701j-3. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DUE-ON-SALE CLAUSE: A mortgage provision that gives the lender the option to accelerate the debt if the borrower transfers or conveys any part of the mortgaged real estate without the lender’s consent. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

DURESS: 1. Strictly, the physical confinement of a person or the detention of a contracting party’s property. • In the field of torts, duress is considered a species of fraud in which compulsion takes the place of deceit in causing injury. 2. Broadly, a threat of harm made to compel a person to do something against his or her will or judgment; esp., a wrongful threat made by one person to compel a manifestation of seeming assent by another person to a transaction without real volition. • A marriage that is induced by duress is generally voidable. 3. The use or threatened use of unlawful force — usu. that a reasonable person cannot resist — to compel someone to commit an unlawful act. • Duress is a recognized defense to a crime, contractual breach, or tort. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

E

EARNEST MONEY: A deposit paid (often in escrow) by a prospective buyer (esp. of real estate) to show a good-faith intention to complete the transaction, and ordinarily forfeited if the buyer defaults. • Although earnest money has traditionally been a nominal sum (such as a nickel or a dollar) used in the sale of goods, it is not a mere token in the real-estate context: it is generally a percentage of the purchase price and may be a substantial sum. — Also termed earnest; bargain money; caution money; hand money. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

EASEMENT: An interest in land owned by another person, consisting in the right to use or control the land, or an area above or below it, for a specified limited purpose (such as to cross it for access to a public road). • The land benefiting from an easement is called the dominant estate; the land burdened by an easement is called the servient estate. Unlike a lease or license, an easement may last forever, but it does not give the holder the right to possess, take from, improve, or sell the land. The primary recognized easements are (1) a right-of-way, (2) a right of entry for any purpose relating to the dominant estate, (3) a right to the support of land and buildings, (4) a right of light and air, (5) a right to water, (6) a right to do some act that would otherwise amount to a nuisance, and (7) a right to place or keep something on the servient estate. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

EASEMENT APPURTENANT: An easement created to benefit another tract of land, the use of easement being incident to the ownership of that other tract. — Also termed appurtenant easement; appendant easement; pure easement, easement proper. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ECONOMIC LIFE: The duration of an asset’s profitability, usu. shorter than its physical life. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ECONOMIC OBSOLESCENCE: Obsolescence that results from external economic factors, such as decreased demand or changed governmental regulations. — Also termed external obsolescence. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

EFFECTIVE AGE: The number of years of age that is indicated from the condition of the improvement rather than from its actual chronological age. (from realestatewords.com)

EJECTMENT: 1. The ejection of an owner or occupier from property. 2. A legal action by which a person wrongfully ejected from property seeks to recover possession, damages, and costs. 3. The writ by which such an action is begun. • The essential allegations in an action for ejectment are that (1) the plaintiff has title to the land, (2) the plaintiff has been wrongfully dispossessed or ousted, and (3) the plaintiff has suffered damages. — Also termed action of ejectment; action for the recovery of land; ejection. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ELEVATION: A drawing showing the exterior sides of a building including the type and placement of windows and other openings such as doors, dormers, vents and skylights as the building will appear when completed. (from realestatewords.com) [also] …8. Surveying. a. Also called angle of elevation. [T]he angle between the line from an observer or instrument and a horizontal line. b. [T]he distance above a datum level… (from dictionary.reference.com)

EMBLEMENTS: 1. The growing crop annually produced by labor, as opposed to a crop occurring naturally. • Emblements are considered personal property that the executor or administrator of a deceased tenant may harvest and take regardless of who may have since occupied the land. — Also termed fructus industrials. 2. The tenant’s right to harvest and take away such crops after the tenancy has ended. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

EMINENT DOMAIN: The inherent power of a government entity to take privately owned property, esp. land, and convert it to public use, subject to reasonable compensation for the taking. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ENCROACHMENT: 1. An infringement of another’s rights. 2. An interference with or intrusion onto another’s property

. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ENCUMBRANCE: A claim or liability that is attached to property or some other right and that may lessen its value, such as a lien or mortgage; any property right that is not an ownership interest. • An encumbrance cannot defeat the transfer of possession, but it remains after the property or right is transferred. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ENDANGERED SPECIES: A species in danger of becoming extinct; esp., under federal law, a species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant part of its range. • Federal law excludes from the definition a species of the class Insecta if the Environmental Protection Agency determines that it constitutes a pest whose protection would present a significant risk to the human population. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT: An [Environmental Assessment] as described in Section 1508.9 of CEQ’s NEPA Regulations is a concise public document which has three defined functions: 1. it briefly provides sufficient evidence and analysis for determining whether to prepare an [Environmental-Impact Statement]; 2. it aids an agency’s compliance with NEPA when no EIS is necessary, i.e., it helps to identify better alternatives and mitigation measures; and 3. it facilitates preparation of an EIS when one is necessary – Section 1508.9(a). Since the EA is a concise document, it should not contain long descriptions or detailed data which the agency may have gathered. Rather, it should contain a brief discussion of the need for the proposal, alternatives to the proposal, the environmental impacts of the proposed action and alternatives, and a list of agencies and persons consulted – Section 1508.9(b). Agencies should make the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and EA available for 30 days of public comment before taking action – Section 1501.4(e)(2). (from EPA.gov)

ENVIRONMENTAL-IMPACT STATEMENT: 1. A document that the National Environmental Policy Act (42 USCA § 4332(2)(c)) requires a federal agency to produce for a major project or legislative proposal so that better decisions can be made about the positive and negative environmental effects of an undertaking. 2. In some states, a public document used by a government agency to analyze the significant environmental effects of a proposed project, to identify alternatives, and to disclose possible ways to reduce or avoid possible environmental damage. — Abbr. EIS. — Also termed environmental impact report (EIR). (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

EQUITY: 1. A stock or any other security representing an ownership interest…4. In the context of real estate, the difference between the current market value of the property and the amount the owner still owes on the mortgage. It is the amount that the owner would receive after selling a property and paying off the mortgage… (from investopedia.com)

EQUITY CUSHION: [T]he amount of equity required by a lender before they will make a loan. (from ENCYCLO.co.uk)

EQUITY OF REDEMPTION: The right of a mortgagor in default to recover property before a foreclosure sale by paying the principal, interest, and other costs that are due. • A defaulting mortgagor with an equity of redemption has the right, until the foreclosure sale, to reimburse the mortgagee and cure the default. In many jurisdictions, the mortgagor also has a statutory right to redeem within six months after the foreclosure sale, and the mortgagor becomes entitled to any surplus from the sale proceeds above the amount of the outstanding mortgage. — Also termed right of redemption. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

EROSION: The wearing away of something by action of the elements; esp., the gradual eating away of soil by the operation of currents or tides. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ESCHEAT: 1. Hist. The reversion of land ownership back to the lord when the immediate tenant dies without heirs. 2. Reversion of property (esp. real property) to the state upon the death of an owner who has neither a will nor any legal heirs. 3. Property that has so reverted. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ESCROW: 1. A legal document or property delivered by a promisor to a third party to be held by the third party for a given amount of time or until the occurrence of a condition, at which time the third party is to hand over the document or property to the promisee

. 2. An account held in trust or as security . — Also termed escrow account; impound account; reserve account. 3. The holder of such a document, property, or deposit . — Also termed escrow agent. 4. The general arrangement under which a legal document or property is delivered to a third person until the occurrence of a condition . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ESCROW AGREEMENT: The instructions given to the third-party depositary of an escrow. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ESTATE: 1. The amount, degree, nature, and quality of a person’s interest in land or other property; esp., a real-estate interest that may become possessory, the ownership being measured in terms of duration. 2. All that a person or entity owns, including both real and personal property. 3. The property that one leaves after death; the collective assets and liabilities of a dead person. 4. A tract of land, esp. one affected by an easement. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ESTATE AT SUFFERANCE: A tenancy arising when a person who has been in lawful possession of property wrongfully remains as a holdover after his or her interest has expired. • A tenancy at sufferance takes the form of either a tenancy at will or a periodic tenancy. — Also termed holdover tenancy; estate at sufferance. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ESTATE BY ENTIRETY: A common-law estate in which each spouse is seised of the whole of the property. • An estate by entirety is based on the legal fiction that a husband and wife are a single unit. The estate consists of five unities: time, title, interest, possession, and marriage. The last of these unities distinguishes the estate by entirety from the joint tenancy. A joint tenancy can exist with any number of persons, while an estate by entirety can be held only by a husband and wife and is not available to any other persons. And it can be acquired only during the marriage. This estate has a right of survivorship, but upon the death of one spouse, the surviving spouse retains the entire interest rather than acquiring the decedent’s interest. Most jurisdictions have abolished this estate. — Also termed estate by the entirety; estate by entireties; estate by the entireties; tenancy by the entirety; tenancy by the entireties. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ESTATE IN SEVERALTY: An estate held by a tenant separately, without any other person being joined or connected in interest. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ESTOPPEL: 1. A bar that prevents one from asserting a claim or right that contradicts what one has said or done before or what has been legally established as true. 2. A bar that prevents the relitigation of issues. 3. An affirmative defense alleging good-faith reliance on a misleading representation and an injury or detrimental change in position resulting from that reliance. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ESTOPPEL CERTIFICATE: 1. A signed statement by a party (such as a tenant or a mortgagee) certifying for another’s benefit that certain facts are correct, such as that a lease exists, that there are no defaults, and that rent is paid to a certain date. • A party’s delivery of this statement estops that party from later claiming a different state of facts. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ESTOVER: (usu. pl.) 1. Wood that a tenant is allowed to take for fuel, the manufacture or repair of agricultural instruments, and the erection and maintenance of fences and hedges; necessary supplies. — Also termed botes. 2. The tenant’s right to obtain that wood… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ET AL.: abbr. 1. [Latin et alii or et alia] And other persons

. 2. [Latin et alibi] And elsewhere. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ET UXOR: [Latin] Archaic. And wife. • This phrase was formerly common in case names and legal documents (esp. abstracts of title) involving a husband and wife jointly. It usu. appears in its abbreviated form, et ux. . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ET VIR: [Latin] Archaic. And husband. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

EVICTION: The act or process of legally dispossessing a person of land or rental property. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

EXCLUSIVE AGENCY: The right to represent a principal — esp. either to sell the principal’s products or to act as the seller’s real-estate agent — within a particular market free from competition. • Strictly speaking, an exclusive agency merely excludes all other brokers, but not the owner, from selling the products or property. — Also termed exclusive agency to sell; exclusive franchise; sole selling agency. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

EXCLUSIVE RIGHT OF SALE: The right to sell a principal’s products or to act as the seller’s real-estate agent to the exclusion of all others, including the owner. — Also termed exclusive right to sell. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

EXECUTION: 1. The act of carrying out or putting into effect (as a court order or a securities transaction) . 2. Validation of a written instrument, such as a contract or will, by fulfilling the necessary legal requirements . 3. Judicial enforcement of a money judgment, usu. by seizing and selling the judgment debtor’s property . — Also termed (in Scots law) diligence. 4. A court order directing a sheriff or other officer to enforce a judgment, usu. by seizing and selling the judgment debtor’s property

. — Also termed writ of execution; judgment execution; general execution… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

EXECUTION SALE: A forced sale of a debtor’s property by a government official carrying out a writ of execution. — Also termed forced sale; judgment sale; sheriff’s sale. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

EXECUTOR: 1. One who performs or carries out some act. 2. A person named by a testator to carry out the provisions in the testator’s will. — Abbr. exor. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

EXPERT WITNESS: A witness qualified by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education to provide a scientific, technical, or other specialized opinion about the evidence or a fact issue. — Also termed skilled witness. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

EXTENSION AGREEMENT: An agreement providing additional time for the basic agreement to be performed. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

F

FAIR-CREDIT-REPORTING ACT: A federal or state law that regulates disclosure and use of consumer-credit information and ensures the right of consumers to have access to and to correct their credit reports. • The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act was enacted in 1970. 15 USCA §§ 1681-1681u. — Abbr. FCRA. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FAIR MARKET VALUE: The price that a seller is willing to accept and a buyer is willing to pay on the open market and in an arm’s length transaction; the point at which supply and demand intersect. — Abbr. FMV. — Also termed actual value; actual cash value; actual market value; cash value; clear market value; fair and reasonable value; fair cash market value; fair cash value; fair market price; fair value; full value; just value; market value; salable value; true value. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FEASIBILITY STUDY: [A]n evaluation and analysis of the potential of a proposed project which is based on extensive investigation and research to support the process of decision making. • Feasibility studies aim to objectively and rationally uncover the strengths and weaknesses of an existing business or proposed venture, opportunities and threats present in the environment, the resources required to carry through, and ultimately the prospects for success. In its simplest terms, the two criteria to judge feasibility are cost required and value to be attained. A well-designed feasibility study should provide a historical background of the business or project, a description of the product or service, accounting statements, details of the operations and management, marketing research and policies, financial data, legal requirements and tax obligations. Generally, feasibility studies precede technical development and project implementation. A feasibility study evaluates the project’s potential for success; therefore, perceived objectivity is an important factor in the credibility of the study for potential investors and lending institutions. It must be conducted with an objective, unbiased approach to provide information upon which decisions can be based. (from Wikipedia)

FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION: A federal corporation that protects bank and thrift deposits by insuring accounts up to $100,000, examining banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve System, and liquidating failed institutions. • It was established in 1933 and began insuring banks in 1934. — Abbr. FDIC. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FEDERAL HOME LOAN MORTGAGE CORPORATION: A corporation that purchases both conventional and federally insured first mortgages from members of the Federal Reserve System and other approved banks. — Abbr. FHLMC. — Also termed Freddie Mac. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION: The HUD division that encourages mortgage lending by insuring mortgage loans on homes meeting the agency’s standards. — Abbr. FHA. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE BOARD: A five-member independent federal board that supervises the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks. • Formerly known as the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, it was established by the Federal Home Loan Bank Act of 1932. That Act was amended by the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989. 12 USCA §§ 1421 et seq. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FEDERAL NATIONAL MORTGAGE ASSOCIATION: A privately owned and managed corporation chartered by the U.S. government that provides a secondary mortgage market for the purchase and sale of mortgages guaranteed by the Veterans Administration and those insured under the Federal Housing Administration. — Abbr. FNMA. — Also termed Fannie Mae. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FEDERAL SAVINGS AND LOAN INSURANCE CORPORATION: A federal agency created in 1934 to insure deposits in savings-and-loan associations and savings banks. • When this agency became insolvent in 1989, its assets and liabilities were transferred to an insurance fund managed by the FDIC. — Abbr. FSLIC. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FEE: 1. A charge of labor or services, esp. professional services. 2. A heritable interest in land; esp., a fee simple absolute. — Also termed fee estate; feod; feodum; feud; feudum; fief. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FEE SIMPLE: An interest in land that, being the broadest property interest allowed by law, endures until the current holder dies without heirs; esp., a fee simple absolute. — Often shortened to fee. — Also termed estate in fee simple; tenancy in fee; fee-simple title; exclusive ownership; feundum simplex. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FEE SIMPLE ABSOLUTE: An estate of indefinite or potentially infinite duration (e.g., “to Albert and his heirs”). — Often shortened to fee simple or fee. — Also termed fee simple absolute in possession. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FEE SIMPLE DEFEASIBLE: An estate that ends either because there are no more heirs of the person to whom it is granted or because a special limitation, condition subsequent, or executory limitation takes effect before the line of heirs runs out. — Also termed defeasible fee simple; qualified fee. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FEE SIMPLE DETERMINABLE: An estate that will automatically end and revert to the grantor if some specified event occurs (e.g., “to Albert and his heirs while the property is used for charitable purposes”); an estate in fee simple subject to a special limitation. • The future interest retained by the grantor is called a possibility of reverter. — Also termed determinable fee; qualified fee; fee simple subject to common-law limitation; fee simple subject to special limitation; fee simple subject to special interest; base fee; estate on limitation. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FEE TAIL: An estate that is heritable only by specified descendants of the original grantee, and that endures until its current holder dies without issue (e.g., “to Albert and the heirs of his body”). • Most jurisdictions — except Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island — have abolished the fee tail. — Also termed entailed estate; estate tail; estate in tail; estate in fee tail; tenancy in tail; entail; feodum talliatum. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FHA MORTGAGE: A mortgage that is insured fully or partially by the Federal Housing Administration. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FIDUCIARY: 1. A person who is required to act for the benefit of another person on all matters within the scope of their relationship; one who owes to another the duties of good faith, trust, confidence, and candor

. 2. One who must exercise a high standard of care in managing another’s money or property . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FIRST LIEN: A lien that takes priority over all other charges or encumbrances on the same property and that must be satisfied before other charges may share in proceeds from the property’s sale. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FIRST MORTGAGE: A mortgage that is senior to all other mortgages on the same property. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FIXTURE: Personal property that is attached to land or a building and that is regarded as an irremovable part of the real property, such as a fireplace built into a home. • Historically, personal property becomes a fixture when it is physically fastened to or connected with the land or building and the fastening or connection was done to enhance the utility of the land or building. If personal property has been attached to the land or building and enhances only the chattel’s utility, it is not a fixture. For example, if bricks are purposely stacked to form a wall, a fixture results. But if the bricks are merely stacked for convenience until used for some purpose, they do not form a fixture. — Also termed permanent fixture; immovable fixture. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FORBEARANCE: 1. The act of refraining from enforcing a right, obligation, or debt. • Strictly speaking, forbearance denotes an intentional negative act, while omission or neglect is an unintentional negative act. 2. The act of tolerating or abstaining. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FORECLOSURE: A legal proceeding to terminate a mortgagor’s interest in property, instituted by the lender (the mortgagee) either to gain title or to force a sale in order to satisfy the unpaid debt secured by the property. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FORFEITURE: 1. The divestiture of property without compensation. 2. The loss of a right, privilege, or property because of a crime, breach of obligation, or neglect of duty. • Title is instantaneously transferred to another, such as the government, a corporation, or a private person. 3. Something (esp. money or property) lost or confiscated by this process; a penalty. 4. A destruction or deprivation of some estate or right because of the failure to perform some contractual obligation or condition. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FRAUD: 1. A knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment. • Fraud is usu. a tort, but in some cases (esp. when the conduct is willful) it may be a crime. — Also termed intentional fraud. 2. A misrepresentation made recklessly without belief in its truth to induce another person to act. 3. A tort arising from a knowing misrepresentation, concealment of material fact, or reckless misrepresentation made to induce another to act to his or her detriment. 4. Unconscionable dealing; esp., in contract law, the unfair use of the power arising out of the parties’ relative positions and resulting in an unconscionable bargain. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FREEHOLD: 1. An estate in land held in fee simple, in fee tail, or for term of life; any real-property interest that is or may become possessory. • At common law, these estates were all created by enfeoffment with livery of seisin. 2. The tenure by which such an estate is held. — Also termed freehold estate; estate in freehold; freehold interest; franktenement; liberum tenementum. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FRONT FOOT: A measurement used to calculate a frontage assessment. — Also termed abutting foot. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FRONTAGE: 1. The part of land abutting a street or highway or lying between a building’s front and a street or highway

. 2. The linear distance of a frontage . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

FUNCTIONAL OBSOLESCENCE: Obsolescence that results either from inherent deficiencies in the property, such as inadequate equipment or design, or from technological improvements available after the use began. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

G

GARNISHMENT: 1. A judicial proceeding in which a creditor (or potential creditor) asks the court to order a third party who is indebted to or is bailee for the debtor to turn over to the creditor any of the debtor’s property (such as wages or bank accounts) held by that third party. • A plaintiff initiates a garnishment action as a means of either prejudgment seizure or postjudgment collection. 2. The judicial order by which such a turnover is effected. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

GENERAL LIEN: A possessory lien by which the lienholder may retain any of the debtor’s goods in the lienholder’s possession until any debt due from the debtor, whether in connection with the retained goods or otherwise, has been paid. • Factors, insurance brokers, packers, stockbrokers, and bankers have a general lien over the property of their clients or customers. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

GENERAL WARRANTY: A warranty against the claims of all persons. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

GOOD REPAIR: Good repair in landlord-tenant law isn’t subject to a precise definition, but is generally a state of repair that will satisfy a respectable occupant using the premises for ordinary uses, but not necessarily a state of repair desired by the tenant. A tenant may expect as satisfactory a condition as another tenant would expect of the same property, but not better. The standard of repair depends upon the age and class of building, the duration of the lease, the type of property and other considerations. (from uslegal.com)

GOVERNMENT NATIONAL MORTGAGE ASSOCIATION: A federally owned corporation in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development responsible for guaranteeing mortgage-backed securities composed of FHA-insured or VA-guaranteed mortgage loans. • The Association purchases, on the secondary market, residential mortgages originated by local lenders; it then issues federally insured securities backed by these mortgages. — Abbr. GNMA. — Also termed Ginnie Mae. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

GRACE PERIOD: 1. A period of extra time allowed for taking some required action (such as making payment) without incurring the usual penalty for being late. • Insurance policies typically provide for a grace period of 30 days beyond the premium’s due date, during which the premium may be paid without the policy being canceled. And Article 9 of the UCC provides for a 10-day grace period, after the collateral is received, during which a purchase-money security interest must be perfected to have priority over any conflicting security interests. — Also termed days of grace; grace days. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

GRADUATED LEASE:  A lease in which rent varies depending on future contingencies, such as operating expenses or gross income. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

GRANT: 1. An agreement that creates a right or interest in favor of a person or that effects a transfer of a right or interest from one person to another. • Examples include leases, easements, charges, patents, franchises, powers, and licenses. 2. The formal transfer of real property. 3. The document by which a transfer is effected; esp., deed. 4. The property or property right so transferred. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

GRANT DEED: A deed containing, or having implied by law, some but not all of the usual covenants of title; esp., a deed in which the grantor warrants that he or she (1) has not previously conveyed the estate being granted, (2) has not encumbered the property except as noted in the deed, and (3) will convey to the grantee any title to the property acquired after the date of the deed. (From Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

GRANTEE: One to whom property is conveyed. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

GRANTOR: 1. One who conveys property to another. 2. Settlor. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

GROSS-RENT MULTIPLIER: The ratio between the market value of rent-producing property and its annual gross rental income. • The gross-rent multiplier is used as a method to estimate a property’s market value. — Abbr. GRM. — Also termed gross-income multiplier. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

GROUND LEASE: A long-term (usu. 99-year) lease of land only. • Such a lease typically involves commercial property, and any improvements built by the lessee usu. revert to the lessor. — Also termed ground-rent lease; land lease. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

GUARANTEE: 1. The assurance that a contract or legal act will be duly carried out. 2. Guaranty. 3. Something given or existing as security, such as to fulfill a future engagement or a condition subsequent. — Also spelled guaranty. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

GUARDIAN: 1. One who has the legal authority and duty to care for another’s person or property, esp. because of the other’s infancy, incapacity, or disability. • A guardian may be appointed either for all purposes or for a specific purpose. — Abbr. gdn. — Also termed custodian… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

H

HABENDUM CLAUSE: 1. The part of an instrument, such as a deed or will, that defines the extent of the interest being granted and any conditions affecting the grant. • The introductory words to the clause are ordinarily to have and to hold. — Also termed to-have-and-to-hold clause. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

HABITABILITY: The condition of a building in which inhabitants can live free of serious defects that might harm health and safety . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

HEARING: 1. A judicial session, usu. open to the public, held for the purpose of deciding issues of fact or of law, sometimes with witnesses testifying

. 2. Administrative law. Any setting in which an affected person presents arguments to a decision-maker … (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

HEIR: 1. A person who, under the laws of intestacy, is entitled to receive an intestate decedent’s property. — Also termed legal heir; heir at law; lawful heir; heir general; legitimate heir. 2. Loosely (in common-law jurisdictions), a person who inherits real or personal property, whether by will or by intestate succession. 3. Popularly, a person who has inherited or is in line to inherit great wealth. 4. Civil law. A person who succeeds to the rights and occupies the place of, or is entitled to succeed to the estate of, a decedent, whether by an act of the decedent or by operation of law. • The term heir under the civil law has a more expansive meaning than under the common law. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

HEREDITAMENT: 1. Any property that can be inherited; anything that passes by intestacy. 2. Real property; land. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

HIGH-WATER MARK: 1. The shoreline of a sea reached by the water at high tide. • The high-water mark is usu. computed as a mean or average high tide and not as the extreme height of the water. 2. In a freshwater lake created by a dam in an unnavigable stream, the highest point on the shore to which the dam can raise the water in ordinary circumstances. 3. In a river not subject to tides, the line that the river impresses on the soil by covering it long enough to deprive it of agricultural value. — Also termed high-water line. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

HOLDER IN DUE COURSE: A person who in good faith has given value for a negotiable instrument that is complete and regular on its face, is not overdue, and, to the possessor’s knowledge, has not been dishonored. • Under UCC § 3-305, a holder in due course takes the instrument free of all claims and personal defenses, but subject to real defenses. — Abbr. HDC; HIDC. — Also termed due-course holder. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

HOLDOVER TENANT: A person who remains in possession of real property after a previous tenancy (esp. one under a lease) expires, thus giving rise to a tenancy at sufferance. — Sometimes shortened to holdover. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

HOLOGRAPHIC WILL: A will that is handwritten by the testator. • Such a will is typically unattested. Holographic wills are rooted in the civil-law tradition, having originated in Roman law and having been authorized under the Napoleonic Code. French and Spanish settlers introduced holographic wills in America, primarily in the South and West. Today they are recognized in about half the states. — Also termed olographic will. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

HOME-EQUITY LOAN: A consumer loan secured by a second mortgage, allowing home owners to borrow against their equity in the home. The loan is based on the difference between the homeowner’s equity and the home’s current market value. The mortgage also provides collateral for an asset-backed security issued by the lender and sometimes tax deductible interest payments for the borrower. • Also known as “equity loan” or “second mortgage.” • A home-equity loan is basically a line of credit secured by your home. When the line of credit is drawn down, the financial institution providing it places a second mortgage loan on your home until the loan is paid off, after which you can use the loan to finance other purchases. However, if the loan is not paid off, your home could be sold to pay off the remaining debt. Interest rates on such loans are usually adjustable rather than fixed and lower than standard second mortgages or credit cards. (from investopedia.com)

HOMESTEAD: 1. The house, outbuildings, and adjoining land owned and occupied by a person or family as a residence. • As long as the homestead does not exceed in area or value the limits fixed by law, in most states it is exempt from forced sale for collection of a debt. — Also termed homestead estate. 2. A surviving spouse’s right of occupying the family home for life. • In some states, the right is extended to other dependents of a decedent. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

HYPOTHECATE: To pledge (property) as security or collateral for a debt, without delivery of title or possession. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

I

IMPOUND ACCOUNT: An account of accumulated funds held by a lender for payment of taxes, insurance, or other periodic debts against real property. — Also termed escrow; escrow account; reserve account. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

IMPROVEMENT: An addition to real property, whether permanent or not; esp., one that increases its value or utility or that enhances its appearance. — Also termed land improvement. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

INCOME PROPERTY: Property that produces income, such as rental property. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

INDEMNIFY: 1. To reimburse (another) for a loss suffered because of a third party’s or one’s own act or default; hold harmless. 2. To promise to reimburse (another) for such a loss. 3. To give (another) security against such a los. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

INSTALLMENT: A periodic partial payment of a debt. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

INSTRUMENT: 1. A written legal document that defines rights, duties, entitlements, or liabilities, such as a contract, will, promissory note, or share certificate. — Also termed legal instrument. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

INTER VIVOS TRUST: A trust that is created and takes effect during the settlor’s lifetime. — Also termed living trust. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

INTEREST RATE: The percentage that a borrower of money must pay to the lender in return for the use of the money, usu. expressed as a percentage of the principal payable for a one-year period. — Often shortened to rate. — Also termed rate of interest. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE: A unit in the U.S. Department of the Treasury responsible for enforcing and administering the internal-revenue laws and other tax laws except those relating to alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives. — Abbr. IRS. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

INTESTATE: 1. Of or relating to a person who has died without a valid will . 2. Of or relating to the property owned by a person who died without a valid will . 3. Of or relating to intestacy . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

INVOLUNTARY LIEN: A lien arising without the debtor’s consent. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

IRREVOCABLE TRUST: A trust that cannot be terminated by the settlor once it is created. • In most states, a trust will be deemed irrevocable unless the settlor specifies otherwise. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

J

JOINT AND SEVERAL: (Of liability, responsibility, etc.) apportionable at an adversary’s discretion either among two or more parties or to only one or a few select members of the group; together and in separation. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

JOINT TENANCY: A tenancy with two or more coowners who take identical interests simultaneously by the same instrument and with the same right of possession. • A joint tenancy differs from a tenancy in common because each joint tenant has a right of survivorship to the other’s share (in some states, this right must be clearly expressed in the conveyance — otherwise, the tenancy will be presumed to be a tenancy in common). (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

JUDGMENT: 1. A court’s final determination of the rights and obligations of the parties in a case. • The term judgment includes an equitable decree and any order from which an appeal lies. — Also spelled (esp. in BrE) judgement. — Abbr. J. — Also termed (historically) judgment ex cathedra… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

JUDICIAL FORECLOSURE: A costly and time-consuming foreclosure method by which the mortgaged property is sold through a court proceeding requiring many standard legal steps such as the filing of a complaint, service of process, notice, and a hearing. • Judicial foreclosure is available in all jurisdictions and is the exclusive or most common method of foreclosure in at least 20 states. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

JUNIOR LIEN: A lien that is subordinate to one or more other liens on the same property. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

JUNIOR MORTGAGE: A mortgage that is subordinate to another mortgage on the same property. — Also termed puisne mortgage. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

JURISDICTION: 1. A government’s general power to exercise authority over all persons and things within its territory; esp., a state’s power to create interests that will be recognized under common-law principles as valid in other states . 2. A court’s power to decide a case or issue a decree

. — Also termed (in sense 2) competent jurisdiction.; (in both senses) coram judice. 3. A geographic area within which political or judicial authority may be exercised . 4. A political or judicial subdivision within such an area . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

JUST COMPENSATION: Under the Fifth Amendment, a payment by the government for property it has taken under eminent domain — usu. the property’s fair market value, so that the owner is theoretically no worse off after the taking. — Also termed adequate compensation; due compensation; land damages. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

K

L

LAND PATENT: An instrument by which the government conveys a grant of public land to a private person. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LANDLORD: 1. At common law, the feudal lord who retained the fee of the land. — Sometimes shortened to lord. 2. One who leases real property to another. — Also termed (in sense 2) lessor. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LEASE: n. 1. A contract by which a rightful possessor of real property conveys the right to use and occupy the property in exchange for consideration, usu. rent. • The lease term can be for life, for a fixed period, or for a period terminable at will. 2. Such a conveyance plus all covenants attached to it. 3. The written instrument memorializing such a conveyance and its covenants. — Also termed lease agreement; lease contract. 4. The piece of real property so conveyed. 5. A contract by which the rightful possessor of personal property conveys the right to use that property in exchange for consideration.

vb. 1. To grant the possession and use of (land, buildings, rooms, movable property, etc.) to another in return for rent or other consideration

. 2. To take a lease of; to hold by a lease . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LEASE OPTION: In a contract for rental property, a clause that gives the renter the right to buy the property at a fixed price, usu. at or after a fixed time. — Also termed lease with an option to purchase. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LEASEBACK: The sale of property on the understanding, or with the express option, that the seller may lease the property from the buyer immediately upon the sale. — Also termed sale and leaseback; sale-leaseback. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LEASEHOLD: A tenant’s possessory estate in land or premises, the four types being the tenancy for years, the periodic tenancy, the tenancy at will, and the tenancy at sufferance. • Although a leasehold has some of the characteristics or real property, it has historically been classified as a chattel real. — Also termed leasehold estate; leasehold interest. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LEGAL DESCRIPTION: A formal description of real property, including a description of any part subject to an easement or reservation, complete enough that a particular piece of land can be located and identified. • The description can be made by reference to a government survey, metes and bounds, or lot numbers of a recorded plat. — Also termed land description. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LEGISLATIVE JURISDICTION: A legislature’s general sphere of authority to enact laws and conduct all business related to that authority, such as holding hearings. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LESSEE: One who has a possessory interest in real or personal property under a lease; tenant. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LESSOR: One who conveys real or personal property by lease; esp., landlord. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LETTERS: Wills & estates. A court order giving official authority to a fiduciary to conduct appointed tasks. • Examples are letters of administration, letters of conservatorship, letters of guardianship, and letters testamentary. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LIABILITY: 1. The quality or state of being legally obligated or accountable; legal responsibility to another or to society, enforceable by civil remedy or criminal punishment . — Also termed legal liability; subjection. 2. (often pl.) A financial or pecuniary obligation; debt . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LICENSE: 1. A permission, usu. revocable, to commit some act what would otherwise be unlawful; esp., an agreement (not amounting to a lease or profit à prendre) that it is lawful for the licensee to enter the licensor’s land to do some act that would otherwise be illegal, such as hunting game. 2. The certificate or document evidencing such permission. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LIEN: A legal right or interest that a creditor has in another’s property, lasting usu. until a debt or duty that it secures is satisfied. • Typically, the creditor does not take possession of the property on which the lien has been obtained. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LIENHOLDER: A person having or owning a lien. — Also termed lienor; lienee. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LIFE ESTATE: An estate held only for the duration of a specified person’s life, usu. the possessor’s. • Most life estates — created, for example, by a grant “to Jane for life” — are beneficial interests under trusts, the corpus often being personal property, not real property. — Also termed estate for life; legal life estate; life tenancy. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LIFE TENANT: A person who, until death, is beneficially entitled to property; the holder of a life estate. — Also termed tenant for life; life-owner. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LINK: 1. A unit in a connected series; something that binds separate things . 2. A unit of land measurement . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LIS PENDENS: 1. A pending lawsuit. 2. The jurisdiction, power, or control acquired by a court over property while a legal action is pending. 3. A notice, recorded in the chain of title to real property, required or permitted in some jurisdictions to warn all persons that certain property is the subject matter of litigation, and that any interests acquired during the pendency of the suit are subject to its outcome. — Also termed (in sense 3) notice of lis pendens; notice of pendency. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LISTING: 1. Real Estate. An agreement between a property owner and an agent, whereby the agent agrees to try to secure a buyer or tenant for a specific property at a certain price and terms in return for a fee or commission. — Also termed listing agreement; authorization to sell…3. Tax. The creation of a schedule or inventory of a person’s taxable property; the list of a person’s taxable property. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LITTORAL: Of or relating to the coast or shore of an ocean, sea, or lake

. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

LOCUS: [Latin “place”] The place or position where something is done or exists. — Abbr. L. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

M

MANAGING CONSERVATOR: 1. A person appointed by a court to manage the estate or affairs of someone who is legally incapable of doing so; guardian… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

MARKET PRICE: The prevailing price at which something is sold in a specific market. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

MARKETABLE TITLE: A title that a reasonable buyer would accept because it appears to lack any defect and to cover the entire property that the seller has purported to sell; a title that enables a purchaser to hold property in peace during the period of ownership and to have it accepted by a later purchaser who employs the same standards of acceptability. — Also termed good title; merchantable title; clear title. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

MECHANIC’S LIEN: A statutory lien that secures payment for labor or materials supplied in improving, repairing, or maintaining real or personal property, such as a building, an automobile, or the like. — Also termed artisan’s lien; chattel lien (for personal property); construction lien (for labor); garageman’s lien (for repaired vehicles); laborer’s lien (for labor); materialman’s lien (for materials). (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

MEETING OF THE MINDS: Contracts. Actual assent by both parties to the formation of a contract, meaning that they agree on the same terms, conditions, and subject matter. • This was required under the traditional subjective theory of assent, but modern contract doctrine requires only objective manifestations of assent. — Also termed mutuality of assent; aggregation mentium; assensio mentium. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

METES AND BOUNDS: (meets). The territorial limits of real property as measured by distances and angles from designated landmarks and in relation to adjoining properties. • Metes and bounds are usu. described in deeds and surveys to establish the boundary lines of land. — Also termed running description; butts and bounds; lines and corners. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

MINERAL INTEREST: Oil & gas. The right to search for, develop, and remove minerals from land or to receive a royalty based on the production of minerals. • Mineral interests are granted by an oil-and-gas lease. — Also termed mineral right. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

MISREPRESENTATION: 1. The act of making a false or misleading assertion about something, usu. with the intent to deceive. • The word denotes not just written or spoken words but also any other conduct that amounts to a false assertion. 2. The assertion so made; an assertion that does not accord with the facts. — Also termed false representation; (redundantly) false misrepresentation. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

MODIFICATION: 1. A change to something; an alteration . 2. A qualification or a limitation of something … (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

MONUMENT: 1. A written document or record, esp. a legal one. 2. Any natural or artificial object that is fixed permanently in land and referred to in a legal description of the land. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

MORTGAGE: 1. A conveyance of title to property that is given as security for the payment of a debt or the performance of a duty and that will become void upon payment or performance according to the stipulated terms. — Also termed (archaically) dead pledge. 2. A lien against property that is granted to secure an obligation (such as a debt) and that is extinguished upon payment or performance according to stipulated terms. 3. An instrument (such as a deed or contract) specifying the terms of such a transaction. 4. Loosely, the loan on which such a transaction is based. 5. The mortgagee’s rights conferred by such a transaction. 6. Loosely, any real-property security transaction, including a deed of trust. — Abbr. M. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

MORTGAGE BROKER: An individual or organization that markets mortgage loans and brings lenders and borrowers together. • A mortgage broker does not originate or service mortgage loans. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

MORTGAGE COMMITMENT: A lender’s written agreement with a borrower stating the terms on which it will lend money for the purchase of specified real property, usu. with a time limitation. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

MORTGAGE COMPANY: A company that makes mortgage loans and then sells or assigns them to investors. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

MORTGAGE INSURANCE: 1. An agreement to pay off a mortgage if the insured dies or becomes disabled. 2. An agreement to provide money to the lender if the mortgagor defaults on the mortgage payments. — Also termed private mortgage insurance (abbr. PMI). (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

MORTGAGE LIEN: A lien on the mortgagor’s property securing the mortgage. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

MORTGAGE SERVICING: The administration of a mortgage loan, including the collection of payments, release of liens, and payment of property insurance and taxes. • Servicing is usu. performed by the lender or the lender’s agent, for a fee. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

MORTGAGEE: One to whom property is mortgaged; the mortgage creditor, or lender. — Also termed mortgage-holder. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

MORTGAGOR: One who mortgages property; the mortgage-debtor, or borrower. — Also spelled mortgager; mortgageor. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

MOTION TO LIFT THE STAY: Bankruptcy. A party’s request that the bankruptcy court alter the automatic bankruptcy stay to allow the movant to act against the debtor or the debtor’s property, as when a creditor seeks permission to foreclose on a lien because its security interest is not adequately protected. — Also termed motion for relief from stay; motion to modify the stay. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

N

NATURAL RESOURCE: 1. Any material from nature having potential economic value or providing for the sustenance of life, such as timber, minerals, oil, water, and wildlife. 2. Environmental features that serve a community’s well-being or recreational interests, such as parks. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

NAVIGATION SERVITUDE: 1. An easement allowing the federal government to regulate commerce on navigable water without having to pay compensation for interfering with private ownership rights. 2. An easement, based on the state police power or public-trust doctrine, that allows a state to regulate commerce on navigable water and provide limited compensation for interference with private ownership rights. • A state servitude is inferior to the federal servitude. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

NEGATIVE EQUITY: The difference between the value of an asset and the outstanding amount of the loan secured by the asset when the asset’s current value is less than the loan’s balance. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

NEGOTIABLE: 1. (Of a written instrument) capable of being transferred by delivery or indorsement when the transferee takes the instrument for value, in good faith, and without notice of conflicting title claims or defenses. 2. (Of a deal, agreement, etc.) capable of being accomplished. 3. (Of a price or deal) subject to further bargaining and possible change. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

NET INCOME: Total income from all sources minus deductions, exemptions, and other tax reductions. • Income tax is computed on net income. — Also termed net earnings. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

NET LEASE: A lease in which the lessee pays rent plus property expenses (such as taxes and insurance). (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

NOTARY PUBLIC: A person authorized by a state to administer oaths, certify documents, attest to the authenticity of signatures, and perform official acts in commercial matters, such as protesting negotiable instruments. — Often shortened to notary. — Abbr. n.p. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

NOTE: n. 1. A written promise by one party (the maker) to pay money to another party (the payee) or to bearer. • A note is a two-party negotiable instrument, unlike a draft (which is a three-party instrument). — Also termed promissory note… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

NOTICE TO QUIT: 1. A landlord’s written notice demanding that a tenant surrender and vacate the leased property, thereby terminating the tenancy. 2. A landlord’s notice to a tenant to pay any back rent within a specified period (often seven days) or else vacate the leased premises. — Also termed notice to pay rent or quit. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

O

OBLIGATION: 1. A legal or moral duty to do or not do something. • The word has many wide and varied meanings. It may refer to anything that a person is bound to do or forbear from doing, whether the duty is imposed by law, contract, promise, social relations, courtesy, kindness, or morality. 2. A formal, binding agreement or acknowledgment of a liability to pay a certain amount or to do a certain thing for a particular person or set of persons; esp., a duty arising by contract. — Also termed (in sense 2) civil obligation. 3. Civil law. A legal relationship in which one person, the obligor, is bound to render a performance in favor of another, the obligee. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

OBLIGEE: 1. One to whom an obligation is owed; a promise, creditor, or donor beneficiary. 2. Under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, any person to whom a duty of support is owed. 3. Archaic. One who is obliged to do something; obligor. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

OBLIGOR: 1. One who has undertaken an obligation; a promisor or debtor. 2. Under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, any person who owes a duty of support. 3. Archaic. One who obliges another to do something; oblige. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

OBSOLESCENCE: 1. The process or state of falling into disuse or becoming obsolete. 2. A diminution in the value or usefulness of property, esp. as a result of technological advances. • For tax purposes, obsolescence is usu. distinguished from physical deterioration. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

OF THE ESSENCE: (Of a contractual requirement) so important that if the requirement is not met, the promisor will be held to have breached the contract and a rescission by the promisee will be justified

OFFER: 1. The act or an instance of presenting something for acceptance

. 2. A promise to do or refrain from doing some specified thing in the future, conditioned on an act, forbearance, or return promise being given in exchange for the promise or its performance; a display of willingness to enter into a contract on specified terms, made in a way that would lead a reasonable person to understand that an acceptance, having been sought, will result in a binding contract . 3. A price at which one is ready to buy or sell; bid . 4. Attempt . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

ONE-ACTION RULE: In debtor-creditor law, the principle that when a debt is secured by real property, the creditor must foreclose on the collateral before proceeding against the debtor’s unsecured assets. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

OPTION: 1. The right or power to choose; something that may be chosen

. 2. An offer that is included in a formal or informal contract; esp., a contractual obligation to keep an offer open for a specified period, so that the offeror cannot revoke the offer during that period . — Also termed option contract; (redundantly) time option. 3. The right conveyed by such a contract … (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

P

PARTITION: 1. Something that separates one part of a space from another. 2. The act of dividing; esp., the division of real property held jointly or in common by two or more persons into individually owned interests. — Also termed partition in kind. 3. Oil & gas. The division of an undivided mineral interest by voluntary agreement or judicial action. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PERCENTAGE LEASE: A lease in which the rent is based on a percentage of gross (or net) sales or profits, typically with a set minimum rent. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PERCOLATING WATER: Water that oozes or seeps through the soil without a defined channel (such as rainwater or other water that has lost its status as part of a stream). • Percolating water usu. constitutes part of the land on which it is found. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PERFORMANCE BOND: 1. A bond given by a surety to ensure the timely performance of a contract. • In major international agreements, performance bonds are typically issued by banks, but sometimes also by insurance companies. The face amount of the bond is typically 2% of the value of performance, but occasionally as much as 5%. 2. A third party’s agreement to guarantee the completion of a construction contract upon the default of the general contractor. — Also termed completion bond; surety bond; contract bond. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PERIODIC TENANCY: A tenancy that automatically continues for successive periods — usu. month to month or year to year — unless terminated at the end of a period by notice. • A typical example is a month-to-month apartment lease. This type of tenancy originated through court rulings that, when the lessor received a periodic rent, the lease could not be terminated without reasonable notice. — Also termed tenancy from period to period; periodic estate; estate from period to period; (more specif.) month-to-month tenancy (or estate); year-to-year tenancy (or estate). (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PERMIT: A certificate evidencing permission; a license . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PERSONAL PROPERTY: 1. Any movable or intangible thing that is subject to ownership and not classified as real property. — Also termed personalty; personal estate; movable estate; (in plural) things personal. 2. Tax. Property not used in a taxpayer’s trade or business or held for income production or collection. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE: A person who manages the legal affairs of another because of incapacity or death, such as the executor of an estate. • Technically, an executor is a personal representative named in a will, while an administrator is a personal representative not named in a will. — Also termed independent personal representative; legal representative. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PETITION: 1. A formal written request presented to a court or other official body… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PETITION FOR PROBATE: A written application by which a party requests that a court admit a will to probate. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PLAT: 1. A small piece of land; plot. 2. A map describing a piece of land and its features, such as boundaries, lots, roads, and easements. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PLOT: 1. A measured piece of land; lot… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

POINT: …3. One percent of the face value of a loan (esp. a mortgage loan), paid up front to the lender as a service charge or placement fee

. — Also termed mortgage point…5. A payment to secure a loan, stated as a percentage of the loan’s face amount. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

POLICE POWER: 1. The inherent and plenary power of a sovereign to make all laws necessary and proper to preserve the public security, order, health, morality, and justice. • It is a fundamental power essential to government, and it cannot be surrendered by the legislature or irrevocably transferred away from government. 2. A state’s Tenth Amendment right, subject to due-process and other limitations, to establish and enforce laws protecting the public’s health, safety, and general welfare, or to delegate this right to local governments. 3. Loosely, the power of the government to intervene in the use of privately owned property, as by subjecting it to eminent domain. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

POSSESSORY INTEREST: 1. The present right to control property, including the right to exclude others, by a person who is not necessarily the owner. 2. A present or future right to the exclusive use and possession of property. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

POST: 1. To publicize or announce by affixing a notice in a public place . 2. To transfer (accounting entries) from an original record to a ledger . 3. To place in the mail . 4. To make a payment or deposit; to put up . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

POWER OF ATTORNEY: 1. An instrument granting someone authority to act as agent or attorney-in-fact for the grantor. • An ordinary power of attorney is revocable and automatically terminates upon the death or incapacity of the principal. — Also termed letter of attorney; warrant of attorney. 2. The authority so granted; specif., the legal ability to produce a change in legal relations by doing whatever acts are authorized. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

POWER OF SALE CLAUSE: A provision in a mortgage or deed of trust permitting the mortgagee or trustee to sell the property without court authority if the payments are not made. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

POWER-OF-SALE FORECLOSURE: A foreclosure process by which, according to the mortgage instrument and a state statute, the mortgaged property is sold at a nonjudicial public sale by a public official, the mortgagee, or a trustee, without the stringent notice requirements, procedural burdens, or delays of a judicial foreclosure. • Power-of-sale foreclosure is authorized and used in more than half the states. — Also termed nonjudicial foreclosure; statutory foreclosure. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION: A temporary injunction issued before or during a trial to prevent an irreparable injury from occurring before the court has a chance to decide the case. • A preliminary injunction will be issued only after the defendant receives notice and an opportunity to be heard. — Also termed interlocutory injunction; temporary injunction; provisional injunction; injunction pendente lite. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PREPAYMENT CLAUSE: A loan-document provision that permits a borrower to satisfy a debt before its due date. • Although any interest not yet due is waived, the lender may impose a penalty for prepayment. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PREPAYMENT PENALTY: A charge assessed against a borrower who elects to pay off a loan before it is due. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PRESCRIPTION: …3. The effect of the lapse of time in creating and destroying rights. 4. The extinction of a title or right by failure to claim or exercise it over a long period. — Also termed negative prescription; extinctive prescription. 5. The acquisition of title to a thing (esp. an intangible thing such as the use of real property) by open and continuous possession over a statutory period. — Also termed positive prescription; acquisitive prescription…7. Oil & gas. A Louisiana doctrine that extinguishes unused mineral servitudes after ten years if there is no effort to discover or produce on the land or the land pooled with it. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PRICE: The amount of money or other consideration asked for or given in exchange for something else; the cost at which something is bought or sold. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PRINCIPAL: 1. One who authorizes another to act on his or her behalf as an agent. 2. One who commits or participates in a crime. 3. One who has primary responsibility on an obligation, as opposed to a surety or indorser. 4. The corpus of an estate or trust. 5. The amount of a debt, investment, or other fund, not including interest, earnings, or profits. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PROBATE: 1. The judicial procedure by which a testamentary document is established to be a valid will; the proving of a will to the satisfaction of the court. • Unless set aside, the probate of a will is conclusive upon the parties to the proceedings (and others who had notice of them) on all questions of testamentary capacity, the absence of fraud or undue influence, and due execution of the will. But probate does not preclude inquiry into the validity of the will’s provisions or on their proper construction or legal effect. — Also termed proof of will. 2. Loosely, a personal representative’s actions in handling a decedent’s estate. 3. Loosely, all the subjects over which probate courts have jurisdiction… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PROBATE COURT: A court with the power to declare wills valid or invalid, to oversee the administration of estates and (in some states) to appoint guardians and approve the adoption of minors. — Also termed surrogate’s court; surrogate court; court of ordinary; ordinary’s court; county court; orphan’s court (abbr. o.c.). (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PROMISSORY NOTE: An unconditional written promise, signed by the maker, to pay absolutely and in any event a certain sum of money either to, or to the order of, the bearer or a designated person. — Also termed note of hand. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PROPERTY: 1. The right to possess, use, and enjoy a determinate thing (either a tract of land or a chattel); the right of ownership

. — Also termed bundle of rights. 2. Any external thing over which the rights of possession, use, and enjoyment are exercised . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PROPRIETARY INTEREST: A property right; specif., the interest held by a property owner together with all appurtenant rights, such as a stockholder’s right to vote the shares. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PUBLIC DOMAIN: 1. Government-owned land. 2. Hist. Government lands that are open to entry and settlement. • Today virtually all federal lands are off-limits to traditional entry and settlement… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

PURCHASE-MONEY MORTGAGE: A mortgage that a buyer gives the seller, when the property is conveyed, to secure the unpaid balance of the purchase price. — Abbr. PMM. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

Q

QUIET ENJOYMENT: The possession of land with the assurance that the possession will not be disturbed by a superior title. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

QUITCLAIM DEED: A deed that conveys a grantor’s complete interest or claim in certain real property but that neither warrants nor professes that the title is valid. — Often shortened to quitclaim. — Also termed deed without covenants. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

R

RANGE: Land law. In U.S. government surveys, a strip of public land running due north to south, consisting of a row of townships, at six-mile intervals. — Abbr. R. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

REAL ESTATE OWNED: Property acquired by a lender, usu. through foreclosure, in satisfaction of a debt. — Abbr. REO. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

REAL PROPERTY: Land and anything growing on, attached to, or erected on it, excluding anything that may be severed without injury to the land. • Real property can be either corporeal (soil and buildings) or incorporeal (easements). — Also termed realty; real estate. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RECAPTURE CLAUSE: …2. A commercial-lease provision that grants the landlord both a percentage of the tenant’s profits above a fixed amount of rent and the right to terminate the lease — and thus recapture the property — if those profits are too low. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RECEIVER: 1. A disinterested person appointed by a court, or by a corporation or other person, for the protection or collection of property that is the subject of diverse claims (for example, because it belongs to a bankrupt or is otherwise being litigated)… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RECEIVERSHIP: 1. The state or condition of being in the control of a receiver. 2. The position or function of being a receiver appointed by a court or under a statute. 3. A proceeding in which a court appoints a receiver. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RESCISSION: 1. A party’s unilateral unmaking of a contract for a legally sufficient reason, such as the other party’s material breach, or a judgment rescinding the contract; voidance. • Rescission is generally available as a remedy or defense for a nondefaulting party and is accompanied by restitution of any partial performance, thus restoring the parties to their precontractual positions. — Also termed avoidance. 2. An agreement by contracting parties to discharge all remaining duties of performance and terminate the contract. — Also spelled recision; recission. — Also termed (in sense 2) agreement of rescission; mutual rescission; abandonment. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RECORD: To deposit (an original or authentic official copy of a document) with an authority . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RECOURSE: …3. The right of a holder of a negotiable instrument to demand payment from the drawer or indorser if the instrument is dishonored. 4. The right to repayment of a loan from the borrower’s personal assets, not just from the collateral that secured the loan. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

REDEMPTION: 1. The act or an instance of reclaiming or regaining possession by paying a specific price. 2. Bankruptcy. A debtor’s right to repurchase property from a buyer who obtained the property at a forced sale initiated by a creditor…4. Property. The payment of a defaulted mortgage debt by a borrower who does not want to lose the property. — Also termed dismortgage. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

REFINANCING: An exchange of an old debt for a new debt, as by negotiating a different interest rate or term or by repaying the existing loan with money acquired from a new loan. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RELEASE: 1. Liberation from an obligation, duty, or demand; the act of giving up a right or claim to the person against whom it could have been enforced

. — Also termed discharge; surrender. 2. The relinquishment or concession of a right, title, or claim …• Beneficiaries of an estate are routinely required to sign a release discharging the estate from further liability before the executor or administrator distributes the property…5. The act of conveying an estate or right to another, or of legally disposing of it . 6. A deed or document effecting a conveyance … (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RELEASE CLAUSE: Real estate. 1. A blanket-mortgage provision that enables the mortgagor to obtain a release from the mortgage of a specific portion of the property upon paying a specific (usu. more than pro rata) portion of the loan. • Mortgagees commonly include a clause that disallows a partial release if the mortgagor is in default on any part of the mortgage. 2. A purchase-agreement provision that allows a seller who has accepted an offer containing a contingency to continue to market the property and accept other offers. • If the seller accepts another buyer’s offer, the original buyer typically has a specified time (such as 72 hours) to waive the contingency (such as the sale of the buyer’s present house) or to release the seller from the agreement. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RELEASE OF MORTGAGE: A written document that discharges a mortgage upon full payment by the borrower and that is publicly recorded to show that the borrower has full equity in the property. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RELICTION: 1. A process by which a river or stream shifts its location, causing the recession of water from its bank. 2. The alteration of a boundary line because of the gradual removal of land by a river or stream. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RELIEF: …2. Aid or assistance given to those in need, esp., financial aid provided by the state. 3. The redress or benefit, esp. equitable in nature (such as an injunction or specific performance), that a party asks of a court. — Also termed remedy. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

REMAINDER: Property. 1. A future interest arising in a third person — that is, someone other than the estate’s creator, its initial holder, or the heirs of either — who is intended to take after the natural termination of the preceding estate. • For example, if a grant is “to A for life, and then to B,” B’s future interest is a remainder. If there is only one preceding estate and the remainder vests on that estate’s expiration, the remainder is also termed an executed estate. — Also termed remainder estate; estate in remainder. 2. The property in a decedent’s estate that is not otherwise specifically devised or bequeathed in a will. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

REMOVAL: 1. The transfer or moving of a person or thing from one location, position, or residence to another. 2. The transfer of an action from state to federal court. • In removing a case to federal court, a litigant must timely file the removal papers and must show a valid basis for federal-court jurisdiction. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RENT: 1. Consideration paid, usu. periodically, for the use or occupancy of property (esp. real property). Hist. 2. A compensation or return made periodically by a tenant or occupant for the possession and use of lands or corporeal hereditaments; money, chattels, or services issuing usu. annually out of lands and tenements as payment for use… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

REPLACEMENT COST: The cost of a substitute asset that is equivalent to an asset currently held. • The new asset has the same utility but may or may not be identical to the one replaced. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RESERVATION: 1. The creation of a new right or interest (such as an easement), by and for the grantor, in real property being granted to another…3. A tract of public land that is not open to settlers but is set aside for a special purpose; esp., a tract of land set aside for use by indigenous peoples. — Also termed (in sense 3) reserve; reserved land; withdrawn land. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RESIDUARY ESTATE: The part of a decedent’s estate remaining after payment of all debts, expenses, statutory claims, taxes, and testamentary gifts (special, general, and demonstrative) have been made. — Also termed residual estate; residue; residuary; residuum. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RESOLUTION TRUST CORPORATION: A federal agency established to act as a receiver for insolvent federal savings-and-loan associations and to transfer or liquidate those associations’ assets. • The agency was created when the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation was abolished in 1989. — Abbr. RTC. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RESTRICTION: 1. A limitation or qualification. 2. A limitation (esp. in a deed) placed on the use or enjoyment of property… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RESTRICTIVE COVENANT: 1. A private agreement, usu. in a deed or lease, that restricts the use or occupancy of real property, esp. by specifying lot sizes, building lines, architectural styles, and the uses to which the property may be put. • Some restrictive covenants, such as race-based restrictions on transfers, are unenforceable but do not necessarily void the deed. — Also termed restrictive covenant in equity; equitable easement; equitable servitude. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RETAIL INSTALLMENT CONTRACT: A contract for the sale of goods under which the buyer makes periodic payments and the seller retains title to or a security interest in the goods. — Also termed retail installment contract and security agreement; conditional sales contract. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

REVERSION: 1. The interest that is left after subtracting what the transferor has parted with from what the transferor originally had; specif., a future interest in land arising by operation of law whenever an estate owner grants to another a particular estate, such as a life estate or a term of years, but does not dispose of the entire interest. • A reversion occurs automatically upon termination of the prior estate, as when a life tenant dies. — Also termed reversionary estate; estate in reversion; equitable reversion. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

REVERSIONARY INTEREST: A future interest left in the transferor or successor in interest. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

REVOCABLE TRUST: A trust in which the settlor reserves the right to terminate the trust and recover the trust property and any undistributed income. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

REVOCATION: 1. An annulment, cancellation, or reversal, usu. of an act or power. 2. Contracts. Withdrawal of an offer by the offeror. 3. Wills & estates. Invalidation of a will by the testator, either by destroying the will or by executing a new one. • A will, or parts of a will, may be revoked by operation of law. For example, most states have a statute providing for the revocation, upon divorce, of all provisions relating to the testator’s former spouse. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RIGHT OF ENTRY: 1. The right of taking or resuming possession of land or other real property in a peaceable manner. 2. Power of termination. 3. The right to go into another’s real property for a special purpose without committing trespass. • An example is a landlord’s right to enter a tenant’s property to make repairs… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RIGHT OF SURVIVORSHIP: A joint tenant’s right to succeed to the whole estate upon the death of the other joint tenant. — Also termed jus accrescendi. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RIGHT-OF-WAY: 1. The right to pass through property owned by another. • A right-of-way may be established by contract, by longstanding usage, or by public authority (as with a highway)…4. The strip of land subject to a nonowner’s right to pass through. — Also written right of way. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RIPARIAN RIGHT: The right of a landowner whose property borders on a body of water or watercourse. • Such a landowner traditionally has the right to make reasonable use of the water. — Also termed water right. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

RIPARIAN-RIGHTS DOCTRINE: The rule that owners of land bordering on a waterway have equal rights to use the water passing through or by their property. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

S

SATISFACTION OF MORTGAGE: 1. The complete payment of a mortgage. 2. A discharge signed by the mortgagee or mortgage holder indicating that the property subject to the mortgage is released of that the mortgage debt has been paid and the mortgage conditions have been fully satisfied. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SATISFACTION PIECE: A written statement that one party (esp. a debtor) has discharged its obligation to another party, who accepts the discharge. — Also termed certificate of discharge; satisfaction. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SAVINGS-AND-LOAN ASSOCIATION: A financial institution — often organized and chartered like a bank — that primarily makes home-mortgage loans but also usu. maintains checking accounts and provides other banking services. — Often shortened to S & L. — Also termed savings-and-loan bank; loan association; thrift institution; thrift. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SCIRE FACIAS: [Law Latin “you are to make known, show cause”] A writ requiring the person against whom it is issued to appear and show cause why some matter of record should not be annulled or vacated, or why a dormant judgment against that person should not be revived. — Abbr. sci. fa. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SEAL: 1. A fastening that must be broken before access can be obtained; esp., a device or substance that joins two things, usu. making the seam impervious. — Also termed common-law seal. 2. A piece of wax, a wafer, or some other substance affixed to the paper or other material on which a promise, release, or conveyance is written, together with a recital or expression of intention by which the promisor, releaser, or grantor manifests that a piece of wax, wafer, or other substance is a seal. • The purpose of a seal is to secure or prove authenticity. 3. A design embossed or stamped on paper to authenticate, confirm, or attest; an impression or sign that has legal consequence when applied to an instrument. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SECOND LIEN: A lien that is next in rank after a first lien on the same property and therefore is next entitled to satisfaction out of the proceeds from the property’s sale. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SECOND MORTGAGE: A mortgage that is junior to a first mortgage on the same property, but that is senior to any later mortgage. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SECTION: …2. Real estate. A piece of land containing 640 acres, or one square mile. • Traditionally, public lands in the United States were divided into 640-acre squares, each one called a “section.” — Also termed section of land. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SECURITY INTEREST: A property interest created by agreement or by operation of law to secure performance of an obligation (esp. repayment of a debt). •Although the UCC limits the creation of a security interest to personal property, the Bankruptcy Code defines the term to mean “a lien created by an agreement.” 11 USCA § 101(51). (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SEISIN: 1. Hist. Completion of the ceremony of feudal investiture, by which the tenant was admitted into freehold. 2. Possession of a freehold estate in land; ownership…— Also spelled seizin. — Also termed vesture; seisina; (in Scots law) sasine. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SEPARATE PROPERTY: 1. Property that a spouse owned before marriage or acquired during marriage by inheritance or by gift from a third party, and in some states property acquired during marriage but after the spouses have entered into a separation agreement and have begun living apart or after one spouse has commenced a divorce action. — Also termed individual property. 2. In some common-law states, property titled to one spouse or acquired by one spouse individually during marriage. 3. Property acquired during the marriage in exchange for separate property (in sense 1 or sense 2). (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SERVITUDE: 1. An encumbrance consisting in a right to the limited use of a piece of land or other immovable property without the possession of it; a charge or burden on an estate for another’s benefit

. • Servitudes include easements, irrevocable licenses, profits, and real covenants. 2. Roman & civil law. The right exercised by a dominant tenement over a servient tenement, either adjoining or neighboring. • This right was perpetual except for personal servitudes; the land, rather than its owner, enjoyed the right. Although a servitude could not be possessed because it was incorporeal, it could be protected by interdict. Generally, a servitude had to be exercised civiliter, with as little inconvenience as possible. There was never a closed list of what constituted a servitude; for example, Justinian classed personal rights in re aliena as personal servitude… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SETTLOR: 1. A person who makes a settlement of property; esp., one who sets up a trust. — Also termed creator; donor; trustor; grantor; founder. 2. A party to an instrument. — Also spelled (in both senses) settler. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SEVERANCE DAMAGES: In a condemnation case, damages awarded to a property owner for diminution in the fair market value of land as a result of severance from the land of the property actually condemned; compensation awarded to a landowner for the loss in value of the tract that remains after a partial taking of the land. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SINKING FUND: A fund consisting of regular deposits that are accumulated with interest to pay off a long-term corporate or public debt. — Abbr. SF. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SMALL-ESTATE PROBATE: An informal procedure for administering small estates, less structured than the normal process and usu. not requiring the assistance of an attorney. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SPECIAL ASSESSMENT: The assessment of a tax on property that benefits in some important way from a public improvement. — Also termed assessment for benefits. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SPECIAL WARRANTY DEED: 1. A deed in which the grantor covenants to defend the title against only those claims and demands of the grantor and those claiming by and under the grantor. 2. In a few jurisdictions, a quitclaim deed. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE: The rendering, as nearly as practicable, of a promised performance through a judgment or decree; specif., a court-ordered remedy that requires precise fulfillment of a legal or contractual obligation when monetary damages are inappropriate or inadequate, as when the sale of real estate or a rare article is involved. • Specific performance is an equitable remedy that lies within the court’s discretion to award whenever the common-law remedy is insufficient, either because damages would be inadequate or because the damages could not possibly be established. — Also termed specific relief. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

STATUTE OF FRAUDS: 1. Hist. (cap.) A 1677 English statute that declared certain contracts judicially unenforceable (but not void) if they were not committed to writing and signed by the party to be charged. • The statute was entitled “An Act for the Prevention of Frauds and Perjuries” (29 Car. 2, ch. 3). — Also termed Statute of Frauds and Perjuries. 2. A statute (based on the English Statute of Frauds) designed to prevent fraud and perjury by requiring certain contracts to be in writing and signed by the party to be charged. • Statutes of frauds traditionally apply to the following types of contracts: (1) a contract for the sale or transfer of an interest in land, (2) a contract that cannot be performed within one year of its making, (3) a contract for the sale of goods valued at $500 or more, (4) a contract of an executor or administrator to answer for a decedent’s debt, (5) a contract to guarantee the debt or duty of another, and (6) a contract made in consideration of marriage. — Abbr. S/F; SOF. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

STATUTORY RIGHT OF REDEMPTION: The right of a mortgagor in default to recover property after a foreclosure sale by paying the principal, interest, and other costs that are owed, together with any other measure required to cure the default. • This statutory right exists in many states but is not uniform. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

STAY: 1. The postponing or halting of a proceeding, judgment, or the like. 2. An order to suspend all or part of a judicial proceeding or a judgment resulting from that proceeding. — Also termed stay of execution; suspension of judgment. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

STRICT FORECLOSURE: A rare procedure that gives the mortgagee title to the mortgaged property — without first conducting a sale — after a defaulting mortgagor fails to pay the mortgage debt within a court-specified period. • The use of strict foreclosure is limited to special situations except in those few states that permit this remedy generally. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SUBDIVISION: 1. The division of a thing into smaller parts. 2. A parcel of land in a larger development. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SUBLEASE: A lease by a lessee to a third party, conveying some or all of the leased property for a term shorter than or equal to that of the lessee, who retains a reversion in the lease. — Also termed subtenancy; derivative lease; and (esp. in England) underlease. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SUBORDINATE: To place in a lower rank, class, or position; to assign a lower priority to . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SUBORDINATION CLAUSE: 1. In a legal instrument, a clause that explicitly acknowledges the one party’s claim of interest is inferior to that of another party. 2. A covenant in a junior mortgage enabling the first lien to keep its priority in case of renewal or refinancing. 3. In a legal instrument, a clause that explicitly subjects its provisions to those in a higher-ranking document. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SUBROGATION: 1. The substitution of one party for another whose debt the party pays, entitling the paying party to rights, remedies, or securities that would otherwise belong to the debtor. • For example, a surety who has paid a debt is, by subrogation, entitled to any security for the debt held by the creditor and the benefit of any judgment the creditor has against the debtor, and may proceed against the debtor as the creditor would. Subrogation most commonly arises in relation to insurance policies. 2. The equitable remedy by which such a substitution takes place. 3. The principle under which an insurer that has paid a loss under an insurance policy is entitled to all the rights and remedies belonging to the insured against a third party with respect to any loss covered by the policy. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SUBSURFACE INTEREST: 1. A landowner’s right to the minerals and water below the property. 2. A similar right held by another through grant by, or purchase from, a landowner. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SUCCESSOR FIDUCIARY: A fiduciary who is appointed to succeed or replace a prior one. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SUMMARY JUDGMENT: A judgment granted on a claim or defense about which there is no genuine issue of material fact and upon which the movant is entitled to prevail as a matter of law. • The court considers the contents of the pleadings, the motions, and additional evidence adduced by the parties to determine whether there is a genuine issue of material fact rather than one of law. This procedural device allows the speedy disposition of a controversy without the need for trial. — Also termed summary disposition; judgment on the pleadings. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SURETY: 1. A person who is primarily liable for paying another’s debt or performing another’s obligation. • Although a surety is similar to an insurer, one important difference is that a surety often receives no compensation for assuming liability. A surety differs from a guarantor, who is liable to the creditor only if the debtor does not meet the duties owed to the creditor; the surety is directly liable. 2. A formal assurance; esp., a pledge, bond, guarantee, or security given for the fulfillment of an undertaking. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SURFACE INTEREST: Oil & gas. Every right in real property other than the mineral interest. • The surface-interest owner has the right to the surface subject to the right of the mineral-interest owner to use the surface. The surface-interest owner is entitled to all whatever nonmineral substances are found in or under the soil. — Also termed surface right. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SURRENDER: 1. The act of yielding to another’s power or control. 2. The giving up of a right or claim; release. 3. The return of an estate to the person who has a reversion or remainder, so as to merge the estate into a larger estate…5. A tenant’s relinquishment of possession before the lease has expired, allowing the landlord to take possession and treat the lease as terminated. — Also termed (in sense 5) surrender of term. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

SURVEY: 1. A general consideration of something; appraisal . 2. The measuring of a tract of land and its boundaries and contents; a map indicating the results of such measurements

. 3. A governmental department that carries out such measurements … (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

T

TACKING: 1. The joining of consecutive periods of possession by different persons to treat the periods as one continuous period; esp., the adding of one’s own period of land possession to that of a prior possessor to establish continuous adverse possession for the statutory period. 2. The joining of a junior lien with the first lien in order to acquire priority over an intermediate lien. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TAX DEED: A deed showing the transfer of title to real property sold for the nonpayment of taxes. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TAX LIEN: 1. A lien on property, and all rights to property, imposed by the federal government for unpaid federal taxes. 2. A lien on real estate in favor of a state or local government that may be foreclosed for nonpayment of taxes. • A majority of states have adopted the Uniform Federal Tax Lien Registration Act. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TAX SALE: A sale of property because of nonpayment of taxes. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER: 1. A court order preserving the status quo until a litigant’s application for a preliminary or permanent injunction can be heard. • A temporary restraining order may sometimes be granted without notifying the opposing party in advance. — Often shortened to restraining order. — Abbr. TRO. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TENANCY AT WILL: A tenancy in which the tenant holds possession with the landlord’s consent but without fixed terms (as for duration or rent); specif., a tenancy that is terminable at the will of either the transferor or the transferee and that has no designated period of duration. • Such a tenancy may be terminated by either party upon fair notice. — Also termed at-will tenancy; estate at will. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TENANCY FOR A TERM: A tenancy whose duration is known in years, weeks, or days from the moment of its creation. — Also termed tenancy for a period; tenancy for years; term for years; term of years; estate for a term; estate for years; lease for years. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TENANCY IN COMMON: A tenancy by two or more persons, in equal or unequal undivided shares, each person having an equal right to possess the whole property but no right of survivorship. — Also termed common tenancy; estate in common. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TENANT: 1. One who holds or possesses lands or tenements by any kind of right or title. 2. One who pays rent for the temporary use or occupation of another’s land under a lease or similar arrangement… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TENANT AT SUFFERANCE: A tenant who has been in lawful possession of property and wrongfully remains as a holdover after the tenant’s interest has expired. • The tenant may become either a tenant at will or a periodic tenant. — Also termed permissive tenant. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TENURE: 1. A right, term, or mode of holding lands or tenements in subordination to a superior. • In feudal times, real property was held predominantly as part of a tenure system… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TERM: 1. A word or phrase; esp., an expression that has a fixed meaning in some field . 2. A contractual stipulation

. 3. (pl.) Provisions that define an agreement’s scope; conditions or stipulations . 4. A fixed period of time; esp., the period for which an estate is granted … (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TERMINATION: 1. The act of ending something; extinguishment . 2. The end of something in time or existence; conclusion or discontinuance

. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TESTATE: Having left a will at death . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TESTATOR: A person who has made a will; esp., a person who dies leaving a will. • Because this term is usu. interpreted as applying to both sexes, testatrix has become archaic. — Also termed testate. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

THREATENED SPECIES: A species that, within the foreseeable future, is likely to become an endangered species throughout all or a significant part of its range. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TIME-IS-OF-THE-ESSENCE CLAUSE: Contracts. A contractual provision making timely performance a condition. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TITLE: 1. The union of all elements (as ownership, possession, and custody) constituting the legal right to control and dispose of property; the legal link between a person who owns property and the property itself . 2. Legal evidence of a person’s ownership rights in property; an instrument (such as a deed) that constitutes such evidence … (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TITLE INSURANCE: An agreement to indemnify against loss arising from a defect in title to real property, usu. issued to the buyer of the property by the title company that conducted the title search. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TITLE SEARCH: An examination of the public records to determine whether any defects or encumbrances exist in a given property’s chain of title. • A title search is typically conducted by a title company or a real-estate lawyer at a prospective buyer’s or mortgagee’s request. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TOWNSHIP: 1. In a government survey, a square tract six miles on each side, containing thirty-six square miles of land. 2. In some states, a civil and political subdivision of a county. — Abbr. tp. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TRACT: A specified parcel of land . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TRADE FIXTURE: Removable personal property that a tenant attaches to leased land for business purposes, such as a display counter. • Despite its name, a trade fixture is not usu. treated as a fixture — that is, as irremovable. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TRANSFER: 1. Any mode of disposing of or parting with an asset or an interest in an asset, including a gift, the payment of money, release, lease, or creation of a lien or other encumbrance. • The term embraces every method — direct or indirect, absolute or conditional, voluntary or involuntary — of disposing of or parting with property or with an interest in property, including retention of title as a security interest and foreclosure of the debtor’s equity of redemption. 2. Negotiation of an instrument according to the forms of law. • The four methods of transfer are by indorsement, by delivery, by assignment, and by operation of law. 3. A conveyance of property or title from one person to another. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TRUST: 1. The right, enforceable solely in equity, to the beneficial enjoyment of property to which another person holds the legal title; a property interest held by one person (the trustee) at the request of another (the settlor) for the benefit of a third party (the beneficiary). • For a trust to be valid, it must involve specific property, reflect the settlor’s intent, and be created for a lawful purpose. The two primary types of trusts are private trusts and charitable trusts. 2. A fiduciary relationship regarding property and charging the person with title to the property with equitable duties to deal with it for another’s benefit; the confidence placed in a trustee, together with the trustee’s obligations toward the property and the beneficiary. • A trust arises as a result of a manifestation of an intention to create it. 3. The property so held; corpus… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TRUSTEE: 1. One who stands in a fiduciary or confidential relation to another; esp., one who, having legal title to property, holds it in trust for the benefit of another and owes a fiduciary duty to that beneficiary. • Generally, a trustee’s duties are to convert to cash all debts and securities that are not qualified legal investments, to reinvest the cash in proper securities, to protect and preserve the trust property, and to ensure that it is employed solely for the beneficiary, in accordance with the directions contained in the trust instrument. 2. Bankruptcy. A person appointed by the U.S. Trustee or elected by creditors or appointed by a judge to administer the bankruptcy estate during a bankruptcy case. • The trustee’s duties include (1) collecting and reducing to cash the assets of the estate, (2) operating the debtor’s business with court approval if appropriate to preserve the value of business assets, (3) examining the debtor at a meeting of creditors, (4) filing inventories and making periodic reports to the court on the financial condition of the estate, (5) investigating the debtor’s financial affairs, (6) examining proofs of claims and objecting to improper claims, (7) furnishing information relating to the bankruptcy to interested parties, and (8) opposing discharge through bankruptcy, if advisable. A trustee is appointed or elected in every Chapter 7 case, and is appointed in every Chapter 12 and Chapter 13 case under the Bankruptcy Code. A trustee is not appointed or elected in a Chapter 11 case unless the court finds that a trustee is needed and appoints one. In most Chapter 11 cases, the bankruptcy estate is administered by the debtor in possession, rather than by a trustee. The role of a bankruptcy trustee varies depending on the type of bankruptcy case. — Also termed (in sense 2) bankruptcy trustee; trustee in bankruptcy. 3. Director… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

TURNOVER ORDER: An order by which the court commands a judgment debtor to surrender certain property to a judgment creditor, or to the sheriff or constable on the creditor’s behalf. • Such an order is usu. directed to property that is difficult to acquire by the ordinary judgment-collection process, such as share certificates and accounts receivable. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

U

UNDIVIDED INTEREST: An interest held under the same title by two or more persons, whether their rights are equal or unequal in value or quantity. — Also termed undivided right; undivided title; fractional interest. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

UNDUE INFLUENCE: 1. The improper use of power or trust in a way that deprives a person of free will and substitutes another’s objective. • Consent to a contract, transaction, or relationship or to conduct is voidable if the consent is obtained through undue influence. — Also termed implied coercion; moral coercion. 2. Wills & estates. Coercion that destroys a testator’s free will and substitutes another’s objectives in its place. • When a beneficiary actively procures the execution of a will, a presumption of undue influence may be raised, based on the confidential relationship between the influencer and the person influenced. — Also termed improper influence; (formerly, in both senses) suggestion. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

USURY: 1. Historically, the lending of money with interest. 2. Today, the charging of an illegal rate of interest as a condition to lending money. 3. An illegally high rate of interest. — Also termed illegal interest; unlawful interest. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

UTILITY: 1. The quality of serving some function that benefits society; meritoriousness… (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

V

VACATE: 1. To nullify or cancel; make void; invalidate

. 2. To surrender occupancy or possession; to move out or leave . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

VALID: 1. Legally sufficient; binding . 2. Meritorious

. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

VALUATION: 1. The process of determining the value of a thing or entity. 2. The estimated worth of a thing or entity. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

VALUE: 1. The significance, desirability, or utility of something. 2. The monetary worth or price of something; the amount of goods, services, or money that something commands in an exchange. 3. Sufficient contractual consideration. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

VARA: Spanish-Am. Law. A measure of length equal to about 33 inches. • Local usage varies, so that a vara may sometimes be more and sometimes less than 33 inches. In Mexican land grants, the measure is equal to 32.9927 inches. The term is often found in old land grants in states that were from land governed by Spain or Mexico. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

VENDEE: A purchaser, usu. of real property; a buyer. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

VENDEE’S LIEN: Real estate. A buyer’s lien on the purchased land as security for repayment of purchase money paid in, enforceable if the seller does not or cannot convey good title. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

VENDOR: A seller, usu. of real property. — Also termed venditor. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

VOID: 1. Of no legal effect; null. • The distinction between void and voidable is often of great practical importance. Whenever technical accuracy is required, void can be properly applied only to those provisions that are of no effect whatsoever — those that are an absolute nullity. 2. Voidable. • Although sense 1 above is the strict meaning of void, the word is often used and construed as bearing the more liberal meaning of “voidable.” (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

VOIDABLE: Valid until annulled; esp., (of a contract) capable of being affirmed or rejected at the option of one of the parties. • This term describes a valid act that may be voided rather than an invalid act that may be ratified. — Also termed avoidable. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

VOLUNTARY LIEN: A lien created with the debtor’s consent. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

W

WAIVER: 1. The voluntary relinquishment or abandonment — express or implied — of a legal right or advantage; forfeiture . • The party alleged to have waived a right must have had both knowledge of the existing right and the intention of forgoing it. 2. The instrument by which a person relinquishes or abandons a legal right or advantage

. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

WARRANTY DEED: A deed containing one or more covenants of title; esp., a deed that expressly guarantees the grantor’s good, clear title and that contains covenants concerning the quality of title, including warranties of seisin, quiet enjoyment, right to convey, freedom from encumbrances, and defense of title against all claims. — Also termed general warranty deed; full-covenant-and-warranty deed. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

WASTE: 1. Permanent harm to real property committed by a tenant (for life or for years) to the prejudice of the heir, the reversioner, or the remainderman. • In the law of mortgages, any of the following acts by the mortgagor may constitute waste: (1) physical damage, whether intentional or negligent, (2) failure to maintain and repair, except for repair of casualty damage or damage caused by third-party acts, (3) failure to pay property taxes or governmental assessments secured by a lien having priority over the mortgage, so that the payments become delinquent, (4) the material failure to comply with mortgage covenants concerning physical care, maintenance, construction, demolition, or casualty insurance, or (5) keeping the rents to which the mortgagee has the right of possession. — Also termed devastation; vastum. 2. Refuse or superfluous material, esp. that remaining after a manufacturing or chemical process . (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

WILL: 1. Wish; desire; choice . 2. The legal expression of an individual’s wishes about the disposition of his or her property after death; esp., a document by which a person directs his or her estate to be distributed upon death

. — Also termed testament; will and testament; (archaically) testamentary instrument. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

WITHOUT RECOURSE: (In an indorsement) without liability to subsequent holders. • With this stipulation, one who indorses an instrument indicates that he or she has no further liability to any subsequent holder for payment. — Also termed sans recours. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

WORKOUT: 1. The act of restructuring or refinancing overdue loans. 2. Bankruptcy. A debtor’s agreement, usu. negotiated with a creditor or creditors out of court, to reduce or discharge the debt. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

WRAPAROUND MORTGAGE: A second mortgage issued when a lender assumes the payments on the borrower’s low-interest first mortgage (usu. issued through a different lender) and lends additional funds. • Such a mortgage covers both the outstanding balance of the first mortgage and the additional funds loaned. — Also termed extended first mortgage; all-inclusive mortgage. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

WRIT OF POSSESSION:  A writ issued to recover the possession of land. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)

X

Y

Z

ZONING: The legislative division of a region, esp. a municipality, into separate districts with different regulations within the districts for land use, building size, and the like. (from Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition)