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LEGAL TERMS

CONSIDERATION

The basis of a contract. Consideration is a benefit or right for which the parties to a contract must bargain; the contract is founded on an exchange of one for... (more...)
The basis of a contract. Consideration is a benefit or right for which the parties to a contract must bargain; the contract is founded on an exchange of one form of consideration for another. Consideration may be a promise to perform a certain act -- for example, a promise to fix a leaky roof -- or a promise not to do something, such as build a second story on a house that will block the neighbor's view. Whatever its particulars, consideration must be something of value to the people who are making the contract.

AUTHOR

In terms of copyright protection, either the person who creates the work, the person or business that pays another to create the work in an employment context o... (more...)
In terms of copyright protection, either the person who creates the work, the person or business that pays another to create the work in an employment context or the person or business that commissions the work under a valid work for hire contract. For example, a songwriter may write a song, but if he is employed by a company to do so, the company is the author of that song for copyright purposes.

IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE (INS)

Formerly, the federal agency in the Department of Justice that administered and enforced immigration and naturalization laws. In 2003, however, the INS official... (more...)
Formerly, the federal agency in the Department of Justice that administered and enforced immigration and naturalization laws. In 2003, however, the INS officially ceased to exist, and its functions were taken over by various branches of the Department of Homeland Security, as follows:The new Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) handles immigration benefits, such as applications for asylum, work permits, green cards, and citizenship. The new Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE) handles enforcement of the immigration laws within the U.S. borders. The new Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP) handles U.S. border enforcement (including the land borders, airports, and seaports).

EXCULPATORY CLAUSE

A provision in a lease that absolves the landlord from responsibility for all damages, injuries or losses occurring on the property, including those caused by t... (more...)
A provision in a lease that absolves the landlord from responsibility for all damages, injuries or losses occurring on the property, including those caused by the landlord's actions. Most states have laws that void exculpatory clauses in rental agreements, which means that a court will not enforce them.

RENT CONTROL

Laws that limit the amount of rent landlords may charge, and that state when and by how much the rent can be raised. Most rent control laws also require a landl... (more...)
Laws that limit the amount of rent landlords may charge, and that state when and by how much the rent can be raised. Most rent control laws also require a landlord to provide a good reason, such as repeatedly late rent, for evicting a tenant. Rent control exists in some cities and counties in California, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C.

DEMURRER

A request made to a court, asking it to dismiss a lawsuit on the grounds that no legal claim is asserted. For example, you might file a demurrer if your neighbo... (more...)
A request made to a court, asking it to dismiss a lawsuit on the grounds that no legal claim is asserted. For example, you might file a demurrer if your neighbor sued you for parking on the street in front of her house. Your parking habits may annoy your neighbor, but the curb is public property and parking there doesn't cause any harm recognized by the law. After a demurrer is filed, the judge holds a hearing at which both sides can make their arguments about the matter. The judge may dismiss all or part of the lawsuit, or may allow the party who filed the lawsuit to amend its complaint. In some states and in federal court, the term demurrer has been replaced by 'motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim' (called a '12(b)(6) motion' in federal court) or similar term.

SUBLEASE

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. The subl... (more...)
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. The sublessee pays rent directly to the tenant. The tenant is still completely responsible to the landlord for the rent and for any damage, including that caused by the sublessee. Most landlords prohibit subleases unless they have given prior written consent. Compare assignment.

SHORT SALE (OF HOUSE)

A sale of a house in which the proceeds fall short of what the owner still owes on the mortgage. Many lenders will agree to accept the proceeds of a short sale ... (more...)
A sale of a house in which the proceeds fall short of what the owner still owes on the mortgage. Many lenders will agree to accept the proceeds of a short sale and forgive the rest of what is owed on the mortgage when the owner cannot make the mortgage payments. By accepting a short sale, the lender can avoid a lengthy and costly foreclosure, and the owner is able to pay off the loan for less than what he owes. See also deed in lieu (or foreclosure).

MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE (MLS)

A computer-based service that provides real estate professionals with detailed listings of most homes currently on the market. Much of the information can now b... (more...)
A computer-based service that provides real estate professionals with detailed listings of most homes currently on the market. Much of the information can now be obtained by the public through websites like www.realtor.com.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Rios v. Carrillo

... In 2000 the plaintiff landlord leased a residential apartment to the defendant tenant for a term of two years. ... Not long thereafter, some courts extended this 113 reasoning to the issue of landlord's [sic] duty to mitigate, concluding that a landlord should indeed have such a duty ... ...

MATTER OF YITZHAK" JAMES" PASTREICH v. NEW YORK STATE DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL

... The August 1991 rent stabilized lease entered into by tenant and landlord recited a monthly rent of $5,747.52, but included a rider, denominated "Rider to Preferential Lease Agreement," providing for a "preferential rent" of $3,000 on condition that tenant accept the apartment in ...

MATTER OF 508 REALTY ASSOCIATES, LLC v. New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal

... The Rent Stabilization Law (Administrative Code of City of NY § 26-501 et seq.) provides that if the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (hereinafter the DHCR) finds that a landlord, after a reasonable opportunity to be heard, has collected an ...