Legal Glossary

If you know the definition you are looking for, click on the letter below to view the content and find the legal terms. If there is a term that we do not define, Contact Us and we will find out the meaning for you.

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The voluntary surrender of property, owned or leased, without naming a successor as owner or tenant. The property will generally revert to one holding a prior interest or, in cases where no owner is apparent, to the state. Abandonment does not relieve obligations associated with lease or ownership unless the abandonment is accepted by the entity to which the obligation is owed.

The act of agreeing or of coming to a mutual arrangement. Click to view our Documents Page

Addition, deletion, or change to a legal document. All parties to the agreement must formally consent to an amendment by signing it. Only then does the amendment become an integral part of the document, binding on all parties to the original agreement.

A room or suite of rooms designed as a residence and generally located in a building occupied by more than one household. To view our apartment lease/rental agreement, click here.

Autocracy is a form of government where the monarch is unlimited by law. The autocrat has uncontrolled and undisputed authority. Its power is maintained through military or police power.

Abatement generally refers to a lessening or reduction of something. It may refer to the removal of a problem which is contrary to public or private policy, or endangers others.

Abet means to criminally assist someone in committing a crime. Abetting may occur in planning a crime or escape from apprehension, as well as actually committing the crime. Abetting may occur through encouraging, counselling, or ordering another to commit a crime.

Acceleration Clause
An acceleration clause is a contractual provision which allows the holder to declare the remaining balance due and payable immediately upon the occurrence of a default in the obligation.

An addendum is a thing to be added; an addition. An addendum is often used to supply additional terms to standardized contracts, such as leases. Addendum is singular; the plural form is addenda.

Adequate Disclosure
Adequate disclosure refers to meeting the minimum essential data disclosure requirements of various laws, such as gift tax return disclosures in tax law. brokers' fees in securities law, and other disclosure requirements. In the corporate context, it is the concept that financial statements and their accompanying footnotes should contain all the pertinent data believed necessary to the reader's understanding of a business's financial status.

Advance Directive
An advance care directive is a document that specifies the care a person wishes to receive in case that they are unable to communicate their wishes, such as being in a coma. To be enforceable, the person making the directive must be of sound mind, meaning that they are still able to think rationally and communicate their wishes in a clear manner. The document must be signed and notarized according to the laws in your state. Laws governing advance care directives vary by state, so local laws should be consulted for specific requirements in your area.

Advisory Opinion
An advisory opinion is a formal opinion rendered by a judge, court, or law officer in response to a request for guidance from a legislative body, government official, or other party. It differs from a decision handed down in an adversarial proceeding in that is carries no binding effect under the law. An advisory opinion is given as a matter of courtesy, often by a state attorney general at the request of government officials.

An affidavit is statement of facts which is sworn to (or affirmed) before an officer who has authority to administer an oath (e.g. a notary public). The person making the signed statement (affiant) takes an oath that the contents are, to the best of their knowledge, true. It is also signed by a notary or some other judicial officer that can administer oaths, affirming that the person signing the affidavit was under oath when doing so.

Affix Law
Affix means to permanently attach something to real estate, such as planting trees and shrubs, constructing a building, or adding to existing improvements. Affixed items are permanent and cannot be picked up and moved away like a dishwasher. Affix may also be used to refer to the act of signing or sealing a document, as in affixing one's signature to a note.

Agreed Judgment
An agreed judgment is a judgment which is typically entered after a memorandum of understanding, which is a written agreement shared with counsel who then incorporate it into an agreed order signed by a magistrate, the parties, and their attorneys, if applicable. It is often entered into after mediation, arbitration, or another alternative method of settlement. By filing an agreed judgment, the parties are able to avoid trial.

Alimony is an order of a court for the support of one spouse by the other spouse. State law, which varies by state, governs the award of alimony to a spouse. On application of either party for spousal support, the court may decree an increase or decrease only upon a showing of a substantial and material change of circumstances. Alimony may terminate upon the death of either spouse, the marriage of the spouse receiving alimony or, if the Court finds that alimony should terminate in order to avoid a harsh and inequitable result.

Authorization Card
An authorization card is a form signed by an employee to designate a union as his or her bargaining agent. The union authorization card is legally binding on the employee, despite any claims the union may make to the contrary. Union authorization cards legally authorize a union to represent an employee for the purposes of collective bargaining with an employer.

Authentication is testimony by a proper party that a document is what it is purported to be and that the party attesting to it is qualified to do so.

An attorney at law is an officer in a court of justice, who is employed by a party in a cause to manage the same for him.

Arbitration is an alternative means of settling a dispute by impartial persons without proceeding to a court trial. It is sometimes preferred as a means of settling a matter in order to avoid the expense, delay, and acrimony of litigation. There is no discovery and there are simplified rules of evidence in arbitration.

The lowest habitable story of a building, usually below ground level.To view our basement suite lease/rental agreement, click here.

A room equipped with facilities for taking a bath or shower and usually also containing a sink and toilet.

A single room in a dwelling. It may or may not contain a bed. To view our room lease/rental agreement, click here.

Banks and bank accounts are regulated by both state and federal statutory law. Bank accounts may be established by national and state chartered banks and savings associations. All are regulated by the law under which they were established. Banks and banking may be regulated under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which is adopted at least in part by all states, regulations of the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation program.

Bench Warrant
A bench warrant is a court order authorizing the seizure of a person in order for them to appear in court. It is commonly found in the situation of a person who is required to answer a charge of contempt or a witness who has failed to appear in court after proper service of a subpoena. A civil bench warrant is issued for failure to comply with a court order in a civil case, such as an order to appear in court. A criminal bench warrant is issued for failure to comply with a court order in a criminal case, such as where an indictment has been handed down against a person who is at large, and that person does not appear or remain in attendance for his trial.

A bequest is a gift of personal property, as opposed to real property, made in a will. Personal property is generally any movable item. It is also referred to as a legacy. There are different types of bequests that may be made in the terms of a will. Bequests may be "conditional" upon the happening or non-happening of an event, or "executory" in which the gift is contingent upon a possible or certain future event. Bequest can be of specific assets or of the "residue" (what is left after specific gifts, general gifts, and payment of debts have been made).

Bill of Sale
A bill of sale is a document that transfers ownership of an asset from a seller to the buyer, a basic agreement for sale of goods, and a sales receipt.

Buyer's Remorse
Buyer's remorse is an emotional response on the part of a buyer in a sales transaction, which may involve feelings of regret, fear, depression or anxiety. The best way to cope with buyers' remorse, and minimize its destructiveness, is to make sure that you are as informed as possible. In some areas, cancellation clauses are placed in contracts.

Business Law
Business law encompasses the law governing contracts, sales, commercial paper, agency and employment law, business organizations, property, and bailments. Other popular areas include insurance, wills and estate planning, and consumer and creditor protection. Business law may include issues such as starting, selling ,or buying a small business, managing a business, dealing with employees, or dealing with contracts, among others.

Breach of Warranty Breach of Rental Agreement
A breach of warranty involves a broken promise about a product made by either a manufacturer or a seller. The term also covers a failure of a statement or agreement by a seller of property which is a part of the contract of sale, when the truth of the statement is necessary to the validity of the contract. Warranties are also express or implied. An express warranty is a particular stipulation introduced into the written contract, by the agreement of the parties; an implied warranty is a guarantee imposed by law in a sale.

Breach of Rental Agreement
Rent is a an agreed sum paid at fixed intervals by a tenant to the landlord for possession and use of property. Written rental agreements provide for a tenancy for a short period, usually 30 days. The tenancy is automatically renewed at the end of this period unless you or your landlord end it by giving written notice, usually required to be given 30 days in advance of when the period expires. For these month-to-month rentals, where he rent is paid monthly, the landlord can change terms of the agreement with proper written notice (subject to any rent control laws). This notice is usually 30 days, but can be shorter in some states if the rent is paid weekly or bi-weekly.

Breach of Contract
Breach of contract means failing to perform any term of a contract without a legitimate legal excuse. The contract may be either written or oral. A breach may include not finishing a job, failure to make payment in full or on time, failure to deliver all the goods, substituting inferior or significantly different goods, not insuring goods, among others.

Bona Fide
Bona fide is a Latin term meaning "good faith". In legal terms, it is often used to refer to a purchaser or holder who takes something without fraud, deceit, or knowledge of a lien or superior claim by another. Bona fide refers to a quality of genuineness.

A small, roughly built house.

A building or complex in which units of property, such as apartments, are owned by individuals and common parts of the property, such as the grounds and building structure, are owned jointly by the unit owners. To view our condominium lease/rental agreement, click here.

To permit, approve, or agree; comply or yield.

An agreement between two or more parties for the doing or not doing of something specified.

Case law is the law developed in the court system through the written opinions of judges. The U.S. courts follow precedent in order to develop consistency in the way law is applied and provide a predictable outcome to guide peoples' actions.

Cause of Action
A cause of action is a right to bring a lawsuit. A person or entity may have a cause of action limited by the time frame set forth by statute for bringing a lawsuit. A cause of action may exist under the common law (judge made law) or granted by statutes. In order to have a valid cause of action, all the legally defined elements of a claim must exist.

Character Witness
A character witness is a person who testifies in a trial on behalf of a person as to that person's reputation for honesty and morality both by the personal knowledge of the witness and the person's reputation in the community. A character witness usually is required to live in the same community as the person they testify about.

Circumstantial Evidence
Circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence which creates an inference from which a main fact may be inferred. For example, circumstantial evidenceof a murder is not based on first-hand eyewitness accounts, but may consist of threats made, fingerprints at the crime scene, or the presence of the accused in the vicinity of the crime.

Cohabitation is generally defined as two people living together as if a married couple. State laws vary in defining cohabitation. Some states have statutes which make cohabitation a criminal offense under adultery laws. Under one state's law, cohabitation means "regularly residing with an adult of the same or opposite sex, if the parties hold themselves out as a couple, and regardless of whether the relationship confers a financial benefit on the party receiving alimony. Proof of sexual relations is admissible but not required to prove cohabitation."

Commercial law governs the broad areas of business, trade, commerce, sales, and consumer transactions. Commercial law covers numerous issues of law, such as contracts, banking, bankruptcy, credit transactions, secured transactions, real estate and others. There are numerous laws at the state and federal level governing commercial law practices.

Common Law
Common law is the system of deciding cases that originated in England and which was latter adopted in the U.S.. Common law is based on precedent (legal principles developed in earlier case law) instead of statutory laws. It is the traditional law of an area or region created by judges when deciding individual disputes or cases. Common law changes over time.

Credit Cards
A credit card is any type of arrangement or agreement in which any domestic lender or credit card bank, whether directly or indirectly through any domestic lender acting as its agent, gives a debtor the privilege of using a credit card or other credit instrument of any type in transactions out of which debt arises. The debt may arise by the domestic lender or credit card bank honoring a draft or other order, whether written, verbal or electronic, for the payment of money and which is created, authorized, issued or accepted by the debtor or by the domestic lender or credit card bank paying or agreeing to pay the debtor's obligation.

Co-sign means to add an additional signature to that of the principal's to verify the authenticity of the principal's signature. Co-signing also refers to sharing the liability for payment of a promissory note or other obligation by adding one's signature to such note or obligation.

A conviction is the outcome of a trial in which a criminal defendant is found guilty. A defendant in a criminal trial may be convicted by a judge or jury if the prosecutor proves their case beyond a reasonable doubt. In a jury trial, the number of jurors required to convict varies by state.

Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure
Confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements are used to impose confidentiality obligations on parties receiving information on materials from disclosing parties which consider such information or material to be confidential. Drafting the appropriate contract requires consideration of some key issues. One important consideration is to identify, with particularity, the information which is confidential. There may be limitations on what information is deemed confidential, such as information already known to the signing party, or information made public, through government agency order, etc. Another issue is whether you are the party receiving or disclosing such information.

Contracts are agreements that are legally enforceable. A contract may involve a duty to do or refrain from doing something, and the failure to perform such duty is called a breach of contract. The law provides remedies if a promise is breached- aiming to restore the person wronged to the position they would occupy if the contract had not been breached, rather than punish the breaching party.

In a civil action, the complaint is the document that initiates a lawsuit. The complaint outlines the alleged facts of the case and the basis for which a legal remedy is sought. In a criminal action, a complaint is the preliminary charge filed by the complaining party, usually with the police or a court. The party filing the complaint is usually called the plaintiff and the party against whom the complaint is filed is called the defendant or defendants. Complaints are pleadings and must be drafted carefully to properly state the factual as well as legal basis for the claim, although some states have approved complaint forms which can be filled in by an individual.

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Disclosure is required in different contexts, such as real estate transactions and employment law, and is primarily governed by state laws, which vary by state. For example, persons applying for certain jobs, such as working with children or elderly persons, must disclose if they have criminal convictions. In many instances, the duty to disclose is a continuing one, so that a supplemental disclosure must be made to provide additional information when information originally disclosed is determined to be incomplete or inaccurate.

Having two apartments, divisions, or floors. To view our duplex lease/rental agreement, click here.

Employment Law
Employment law is a broad area encompassing all areas of the employer/employee relationship except the negotiation process covered by labor law and collective bargaining. Employment law is governed by thousands of federal and state statutes, administrative regulations, and judicial decisions.

To expel (a person, especially a tenant) from land, a building, etc., by legal process, as for nonpayment of rent or breaching of the contract. Click to view our Notice to Pay or Quit.

Rules of evidence are the rules by which a court determines what evidence is admissible at trial. At the federal level, federal courts follow the Federal Rules of Evidence, while state courts generally have their own rules of evidence, which vary by state and are created by the state legislatures. In deciding what evidence is admissible, the court will weigh the tendency of the evidence to prove or disprove a fact or issue in dispute against the potential prejudicial nature of the evidence to unfairly influence the trier (i.e., jury) of the case.

Failure to Comply
Failure to comply in general means a failure, refusal, or neglect to obey an official order. Failure to comply may be a criminal (punishable by incarceration) or civil offense (punishable by fine), depending on the type of order that was disobeyed. For example, failing to comply with a police order to pull your car off the road and fleeing is a generally a criminal offense.

Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act is a federal statute originally passed in 1938 setting minimum hourly wages, and maximum daily and weekly work hours after which overtime rates must be paid. The Act also restricts child labor in industries engaged in interstate commerce. Public employees were included in the Act in 1974.

Family Law
Family law encompasses marriage, adoption, divorce, custody, death, and estate planning. Laws on these topics vary from state to state. Most states define marriage as a civil contract between a man and a woman to become husband and wife. The traditional way to marry is to get a marriage license from a state-authorized official, then participate in a formal civil or religious wedding ceremony.

Foreclosure is the procedure by which a party who has loaned money secured by a mortgage or deed of trust on real property (or has an unpaid judgment), forces the sale of the real property to recover the money due, unpaid interest, plus the costs of foreclosure, after the debtor fails to make payment.

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A grant may generally refer to any gift, appropriation, donation, or advance by any donor, whether absolute or conditional, for any purpose. There are numerous grants available through state and federal agencies. Many grants are also available through private entites. The Code of Federal Regulations contains many requirements for obtaining grants from the federal agencies that administer them.

Grace Period
A grace period is a contractual term that allows for payment or performance past the due date of the debt or time for performance if made within a specified period after such date.

A guaranty is a contract under which one person agrees to pay a debt or perform a duty if the other person who is bound to pay the debt or perform the duty fails to do so. Usually, the party receiving the guaranty will first try to collect or obtain performance from the debtor before trying to collect from the one making the guaranty (guarantor).

Habeas Corpus
Habeas corpus is a Latin term meaning "you have the body". It is a writ (court order) which directs the law enforcement officials who have custody of a prisoner to appear in court with the prisoner in order to determine the legality of the prisoner's confinement. Habeas corpus petitions are commonly used when a prisoner claims illegal confinement, such as holding a person without charges, when due process obviously has been denied, bail is excessive, parole has been granted, an accused has been improperly surrendered by the bail bondsman or probation has been unjustly denied.

The term hearing has different meanings. In a legal sense, it can refer to a preliminary examination of an accused person, the trial of an equity case, or a session, as of an investigatory committee or a grand jury, at which testimony is taken from witnesses.

Illegal is a description for something that is in violation of statute, regulation or ordinance. Illegal does not necessarily mean criminal. Something may be illegal under a statute that doesn't require criminal intent, and is therefore a civil vilation subject to civil penalites such as a fine.

Impeachment may refer to different legal concepts. One meaning in the law refers to discrediting a witness by showing that he or she is not telling the truth or does not have a reliable basis for their testimony.

Indemnity Deed of Trust
An indemnity deed of trust is a real estate recordable document used in Maryland to avoid payment of recordation and transfer taxes in real estate transactions. The state and each local jurisdiction impose recordation taxes and transfer taxes on the recordation documents that transfer an interest in land.

Independent Contractor
An independent contractor is a person or business who performs services for another person under an express or implied agreement and who is not subject to the other's control, or right to control, the manner and means of performing the services. The person who hires an independent contractor is not liable to others for the acts or omissions of the independent contractor. An independent contractor is distinguished from an employee, who works regularly for an employer.

Informed Consent
Informed consent is generally agreement to do something or to allow something to happen only after all the relevant facts are disclosed. Informed consent often refers to consent to a medical procedure after the patient has been made aware of all the risks and consequences.

Intangible Asset
An intangible asset is one that has no physical being, other than a writing, to evidence its existence.

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Judicial Notice
Judicial notice involves a situation where a fact is either so well known or so readily verifiable that formal proof of the fact is unnecessary. A judicially noticed fact must be one not subject to reasonable dispute in that it is either (1) generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court or (2) capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.

Just Cause
Just cause, in the employment context, refers to the employer's right to discipline or terminate employees for misconduct or negligence. In many states employers must at least show just cause for terminating you. Just cause is legal jargon for a legitimate business reason, such as wrongdoing on the employee's part.

Jurisdiction generally means the power of a court to hear and render a decision in a given situation. There are different categories of jurisdiction; in rem jurisdiction, in personam or personal jurisdiction, subject matter jurisdiction, federal or state jurisdiction, original jurisdiction, and pendent jurisdiction are the most commonly discussed.
One who rents property to another, a lessor. A property owner who surrenders the right to use property for a specific time in exchange for the receipt of Rent. The landlord retains title to the property, but the rights of the tenant, or lessee, are spelled out in a Lease.

Land Contract
A land contract is essentially an instalment payment arrangement for purchasing land. It is also known as a contract for deed or instalment contract.

Landlord Tenant-Abandoned Property
Abandoned property is property left behind intentionally and permanently, often by a tenant, when it appears that the former owner or tenant has no intent to reclaim or use it.

Landlord Tenant-Amendment
Once a lease has been signed, you can usually change its terms only if the landlord and tenant agree and sign a written amendment.

Landlord Tenant-Breach
A landlord may legally terminate a lease if the tenant significantly violates the lease agreement contract terms and conditions. A lease termination for a long-term contract usually requires a 30 to 60 day written notice. Notice requirements very by state.

Landlord Tenant-Constructive Eviction
Constructive eviction is when the landlord does not go through a legal eviction of a tenant but takes actions which make the premises uninhabitable or prevents the tenant from continuing to live in the premises.

Landlord Tenant - Notices
In general, the landlord is required to give the tenant notice of a default in rent or other payments before bringing eviction proceedings. Also, a landlord typically may enter with or without notice and consent in an emergency only.

Landlord Tenant-Residential Leases
The relationship between a landlord and a tenant should be cooperative, not adversarial. Much like a shopkeeper and his customer, a landlord and his tenant want to establish a long term mutually beneficial relationship. It must be based on respect for each others property, privacy, and right to profit.

Landlord Tenant-Rules and Regulations
The relationship between a landlord and a tenant should be cooperative, not adversarial. Much like a shopkeeper and his customer, a landlord and his tenant want to establish a long term mutually beneficial relationship. It must be based on respect for each others property, privacy, and right to profit.

Late payment
Any payment that the Tenant fails to pay to the Landlord within the specified pay period. To download our Late Fee Notice, click here.

Lease Fee
Lease fee is defined as an ownership interest held by a landlord with the right of use and occupancy conveyed by lease to others; usually consists of the right to receive rent and the right to repossession at the termination of lease.

Lease Renewal
A landlord generally may refuse to not renew a lease without providing a reason. Except for rent regulated apartments, a tenant may only renew the lease with the consent of the landlord.

Lease-purchase an agreement to buy a particular piece of property within a certain time-frame, usually at a price determined beforehand. In some cases, the process for determining the future price is agreed to between the buyer and seller and will be implemented at some future date.

Leave of Absence
A leave of absence is an officially excused period of time off duty from work or duty. Definitions of what constitutes a leave of absence vary by employer, such as how many days off constitute a leave of absence. Employers also determine whether or not a leave of absence will be compensated for and what reasons justify such a leave period.

Lead-Based Paint
Housing built before 1978 may contain lead-based paint. Lead from paint, paint chips, and dust can pose health hazards if not taken care of properly. Lead exposure is especially harmful to young children and pregnant women.

An agreement in which one party gains a long-term rental agreement, and the other party receives a form of secured long-term debt. Click to view our Rental/ Lease Agreement.

The lessee is also known as the tenant.

The legal claim of one person upon the property of another person to secure the payment of a debt or the satisfaction of an obligation.

Living Will
A Living Will is a document that allows a person to explain in writing which medical treatment he or she does or does not want during a terminal illness. A terminal illness is a fatal illness that leads ultimately to death. A Living Will takes effect only when the patient is incapacitated and can no longer express his or her wishes.

Mediation is a non-adversarial method of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in which a neutral third party helps resolve a dispute. The mediator does not have the power to render a decision on the matter or order an outcome. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached, the parties can pursue a lawsuit.

Mobile Home
A large trailer, fitted with parts for connection to utilities, that can be installed on a relatively permanent site and that is used as a residence. To view our Mobile Home lease/rental agreement, click here.

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Note of Issue
A note of issue is used to have the court's clerk enter a case upon the court calendar for trial as of the date of the filing of the note of issue. In at least one jurisdiction, the court must first verify that discovery is complete before a note of issue may be filed.

Notices in a broad legal sense, are used to communicate rights and responsibilities to an interested party. Legal notices take a wide variety of forms.

Notary Public
A notary public is an officer authorized by the state in which the person resides to administer oaths, take acknowledgments, certify documents and to take depositions if the notary is also a court reporter. The signature and seal or stamp of a notary public is necessary to attest to the oath of truth of a person making an affidavit. The appointment, qualification, duties, powers, and liabilities of notaries are defined and regulated in detail by statute in the various jurisdictions.

Oral Contract
An oral contract an agreement made with spoken words and either no writing or only partially written. An oral contract may generally be enforced the same as a written agreement.

Ouster refers to the wrongful dispossession of a rightful owner or tenant of real property, which forces the dispossessed party to bring a lawsuit to regain possession. This often occurs between partners in an enterprise or roommates, when one co-owner or co-tenant forces out the other, changes locks or makes the premises inhabitable.

Output Contract
An output contract is an agreement in which a producer agrees to sell its entire production to the buyer, who agrees to purchase the entire output, regarardless of the amount.

A group of persons with common purposes or opinions who support one side of a dispute, question, debate, etc.

An animal kept for amusement or companionship.

Power of Attorney
What is a Power of Attorney? A power of attorney is an instrument containing an authorization for one to act as the agent of the principal that terminates at some point in the future either by its terms or by operation of law such as death of the principal or agent. These have also been called letters of attorney. The person appointed is usually called an Attorney-in-Fact. The person making the power of attorney appointment is called the principal.

A tract of land with its component parts (as buildings); also A building or part of a building usually with its appurtenances (as grounds or easements)

That which a person owns; the possession or possessions of a particular owner

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In law, periodic payment by a tenant for the use of another's property.

One who lives in a dwelling.

Real Estate-Commercial
The elements of a contract for the sale of commercial property, meaning property used or to be used for income-producing purposes, are essentially the same as those of contracts for real property sales in general.

Reasonable Wear and Tear
Reasonable wear and tear is a term often found in leases to limit the tenant's responsibility to repair or repaint the premises upon leaving. In general, the longer the time of tenancy, the more wear and tear can be expected. Litigation dealing with reasonable wear and tear between landlord and tenant occurs most often when there is a deposit for any damages "beyond reasonable wear and tear." Reasonable wear and tear is generally defined as unavoidable deterioration in the dwelling and its fixtures resulting from normal use.

Revocation is a broad sense, refers to the cancelling or annulling of something previously done, such a revoking a person's driving privileges because of excessive violations, or revoking an immigrant's citizenship for conviction of a crime.

An area within a building enclosed by walls and floor and ceiling.

Sale of Goods
A bill of sale is a document that transfers ownership of an asset from a seller to the buyer, a basic agreement for sale of goods, and a sales receipt.

Sale or Exchange
Sale or exchange ia a term used in tax law to refer to a transaction in which value is received, triggering a gain or loss for income tax purposes. A sale or exchange is distinguished from inheritance, gifts, or other transactions in property which do not result in a calculable gain or loss.

Security/Damage Deposit
Money provided by a tenant to a landlord to secure performance of a rental agreement or compensate for possible loss or damage.

A clause in a contract that allows for the terms of the contract to be independent of one another, so that if a term in the contract is deemed unenforceable by a court, the contract as a whole will not be deemed unenforceable. If there were no severability clause in a contract, a whole contract could be deemed unenforceable because of one unenforceable term.

Seizure is the act of law enforcement officials taking property, including cash, real estate, vehicles, etc., that has been used in connection with or acquired by illegal activities.

A slumlord is an unscrupulous landlord who milks a property without concern for tenants, neighborhoods or their own long term interests. Slumlords overcharge for property in poor neighborhoods that is kept in poor repair and allowed to deteriorate.

A subcontractor is a person who performs work under a contract with a general contractor, rather than the employer who hired the general contractor.

A summons is a paper issued by a court informing a person that a complaint has been filed against her. It may be served by a sheriff or other authorized person for service of process, called a process server.

A rental agreement or lease between a tenant and a new tenant (called a sublessee) who will either share the rental or take over from the first tenant. Click to view our Sublease Agreement

Tenancy Agreement
The tenancy agreement is a contract between a tenant and a landlord. It may be written or oral. The tenancy agreement gives certain rights to both tenant and landlord, for example, tenant's right to occupy the accommodation and the landlord's right to receive rent for letting the accommodation. Click to view our Rental/ Lease Agreement.

One who holds or possesses property by any kind of right One who holds a tenancy in property; specifically One who possesses property in exchange for payment of rent.

Tenancy at will
A rental agreement that may be terminated "at the will" of either landlord or tenant. Typically an unwritten agreement may require a brief period of notice of termination.

Tenancy at sufferance
A tenant who has no right to occupy the premises, but is tolorated by the landlord and may be terminated at the will of the landlord. Payment of rent by the tenant transforms the tenancy into an "at will" tenancy.

Tenancy for year to year
A written lease with a term of at least one year. If there is no expiration date, the lease may require a notice of termination of one to three months.

Tenancy from month to month
A written lease with a term of less than one year. Termination typically requires a one month notice.

Tenancy from week to week
A written or unwritten lease, characterized by payment of rent on a weekly basis, which typically requires a one week notice of termination if there is no designated expiration date.

The length of the agreement. This is usually set up in one of two ways; either as an automatically renewing term (monthly for example) or for a specified amount of time (January 1 2007 until January 1 2008 for example).

Tenants in Common
Tenants in common hold title to real or personal property so that each has an "undivided interest" in the property and all have an equal right to use the property. Tenants in common each own a portion of the property, which may be unequal, but have the right to possess the entire property.

Title Guaranty
Title guaranty is also referred to as title insurance. Title insurance is a policy issued by an insurance company guaranteeing that the title to a parcel of real property is clear of any claims or liens and properly in the name of the title owner and that the owner has the right to sell or otherwise transfer the property to another.

A house that is one of a row of identical houses situated side by side and sharing common walls.

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Unconscionable is a subjective term referring to something so dishonest, unfair, or immoral that it is appalling to a person's senses. Being taken advantage of in a transaction in a way that offends the conscience is known as unconscionable conduct. Unconscionability is a legal excuse to void a contract.

Unlawful Entry
Unlawful entry is illegal entry upon lands or structures without force but by means of fraud or other willful wrong. It is closely related to housebreaking. But unlike housebreaking, the intent to commit an offense within the place entered is not needed for this offense.

Vacancy means a place which is empty. In legal terminology, it usually refers to an office which is not filled.

Vacate is a term subject to different meanings. In the context of a court order or decision, vacate means to overrule or void. A decision may be vacated for error, however, the error must be significant enough that it affected the outcome.

Void refers to something which is null and of no effect, such as a a statute, contract, or ruling. A law or judgment found by an appeals court to be unconstitutional is void, a rescinded contract is void, and a marriage which has been annulled by court judgment is void.
The voluntary action of a person or party that removes that person's or party's right or particular ability in an agreement. The waiver can either be in written form or some form of action. A waiver essentially removes a real or potential liability for the other party in the agreement. Click to view our Release and Waiver Form

Warranty of Habitability
In landlord-tenant law, a warranty of habitability is implied in a residential lease. The law imposes certain duties on a landlord to maintain the premises in habitable condition.

A witness is a person who testifies under oath in a trial or a deposition in the lawsuit. The plaintiff or defendant may be a witness. Witnesses have first-hand knowledge about matters relevant to the case and their testimony is subject to the applicable rules of evidence.

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