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LEGAL TERMS

APPRAISAL

A determination of the value of something, such as a house, jewelry or stock. A professional appraiser -- a qualified, disinterested expert -- makes an estimate... (more...)
A determination of the value of something, such as a house, jewelry or stock. A professional appraiser -- a qualified, disinterested expert -- makes an estimate by examining the property, and looking at the initial purchase price and comparing it with recent sales of similar property. Courts commonly order appraisals in probate, condemnation, bankruptcy or foreclosure proceedings in order to determine the fair market value of property. Banks and real estate companies use appraisals to ascertain the worth of real estate for lending purposes. And insurance companies require appraisals to determine the amount of damage done to covered property before settling insurance claims.

AGREEMENT

A meeting of the minds. An agreement is made when two people reach an understanding about a particular issue, including their obligations, duties and rights. Wh... (more...)
A meeting of the minds. An agreement is made when two people reach an understanding about a particular issue, including their obligations, duties and rights. While agreement is sometimes used to mean contract -- a legally binding oral or written agreement -- it is actually a broader term, including understandings that might not rise to the level of a legally binding contract.

TENANCY IN COMMON

A way two or more people can own property together. Each can leave his or her interest upon death to beneficiaries of his choosing instead of to the other owner... (more...)
A way two or more people can own property together. Each can leave his or her interest upon death to beneficiaries of his choosing instead of to the other owners, as is required with joint tenancy. In some states, two people are presumed to own property as tenants in common unless they've agreed otherwise in writing.

APPRECIATION

An increase in value. Appreciated property is property that has gone up in value since it was acquired.

BEQUEST

The legal term for personal property (anything but real estate) left in a will.

SHARED EQUITY MORTGAGE

A home loan in which the lender gets a share of the equity of the home in exchange for providing a portion of the down payment. When the home is later sold, the... (more...)
A home loan in which the lender gets a share of the equity of the home in exchange for providing a portion of the down payment. When the home is later sold, the lender is entitled to a portion of the proceeds.

CONTRACT

A legally binding agreement involving two or more people or businesses (called parties) that sets forth what the parties will or will not do. Most contracts tha... (more...)
A legally binding agreement involving two or more people or businesses (called parties) that sets forth what the parties will or will not do. Most contracts that can be carried out within one year can be either oral or written. Major exceptions include contracts involving the ownership of real estate and commercial contracts for goods worth $500 or more, which must be in writing to be enforceable. (See statute of frauds.) A contract is formed when competent parties -- usually adults of sound mind or business entities -- mutually agree to provide each other some benefit (called consideration), such as a promise to pay money in exchange for a promise to deliver specified goods or services or the actual delivery of those goods and services. A contract normally requires one party to make a reasonably detailed offer to do something -- including, typically, the price, time for performance and other essential terms and conditions -- and the other to accept without significant change. For example, if I offer to sell you ten roses for $5 to be delivered next Thursday and you say 'It's a deal,' we've made a valid contract. On the other hand, if one party fails to offer something of benefit to the other, there is no contract. For example, if Maria promises to fix Josh's car, there is no contract unless Josh promises something in return for Maria's services.

EVICTION

Removal of a tenant from rental property by a law enforcement officer. First, the landlord must file and win an eviction lawsuit, also known as an 'unlawful det... (more...)
Removal of a tenant from rental property by a law enforcement officer. First, the landlord must file and win an eviction lawsuit, also known as an 'unlawful detainer.'

DEBENTURE

A type of bond (an interest-bearing document that serves as evidence of a debt) that does not require security in the form of a mortgage or lien on a specific p... (more...)
A type of bond (an interest-bearing document that serves as evidence of a debt) that does not require security in the form of a mortgage or lien on a specific piece of property. Repayment of a debenture is guaranteed only by the general credit of the issuer. For example, a corporation may issue a secured bond that gives the bondholder a lien on the corporation's factory. But if it issues a debenture, the loan is not secured by any property at all. When a corporation issues debentures, the holders are considered creditors of the corporation and are entitled to payment before shareholders if the business folds.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Suburban Auto Rebuilders, Inc. v. Associated Tile Dealers Warehouse, Inc.

... The lease contained a right of first refusal, which provided that "Landlord [Associated] will give Tenant [Suburban] First Right of Refusal if Landlord intends to sell the property. Landlord will give Tenant 30 day[s] notice of intent ...

Dubey v. Public Storage, Inc.

... Dubey notes that the trial court's decision finding the limitation provision of the rental agreement to be an exculpatory clause and void for public policy reasons in violation of the Landlord and Tenant Act (765 ILCS 705/0.01 (West 1998)), was issued on May 8, 2007. ...

Landis v. Marc Realty, LLC

... More than four years after they vacated their apartment, plaintiffs Ken and Ana 302 Landis filed suit against defendants Marc Realty, LLC, and Elliott Weiner, for the damages provided for in subsection (f) of section 5-12-080 of the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant ...