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LEGAL TERMS

EASEMENT BY PRESCRIPTION

A right to use property, acquired by a long tradition of open and obvious use. For example, if hikers have been using a trail through your backyard for ten year... (more...)
A right to use property, acquired by a long tradition of open and obvious use. For example, if hikers have been using a trail through your backyard for ten years and you've never complained, they probably have an easement by prescription through your yard to the trail.

DEVISE

An old legal term that is generally used to refer to real estate left to someone under the terms of a will, or to the act of leaving such real estate. In some s... (more...)
An old legal term that is generally used to refer to real estate left to someone under the terms of a will, or to the act of leaving such real estate. In some states, 'devise' now applies to any kind of property left by will, making it identical to the term bequest. Compare legacy.

HEIR

One who receives property from someone who has died. While the traditional meaning includes only those who had a legal right to the deceased person's property, ... (more...)
One who receives property from someone who has died. While the traditional meaning includes only those who had a legal right to the deceased person's property, modern usage includes anyone who receives property from the estate of a deceased person.

COOLING-OFF RULE

A rule that allows you to cancel a contract within a specified time period (typically three days) after signing it. Federal cooling-off rules apply this three-d... (more...)
A rule that allows you to cancel a contract within a specified time period (typically three days) after signing it. Federal cooling-off rules apply this three-day grace period to sales made door-to-door and anywhere other than a seller's normal place of business, such as at a trade show. Another federal cooling-off rule lets you cancel a home improvement loan or second mortgage within three days of signing. Various states have cooling-off rules that sometimes apply even longer cancellation periods to specific types of sales, such as dancing lessons and timeshares.

FORECLOSURE

The forced sale of real estate to pay off a loan on which the owner of the property has defaulted.

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.

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.

ASSIGNEE

A person to whom a property right is transferred. For example, an assignee may take over a lease from a tenant who wants to permanently move out before the leas... (more...)
A person to whom a property right is transferred. For example, an assignee may take over a lease from a tenant who wants to permanently move out before the lease expires. The assignee takes control of the property and assumes all the legal rights and responsibilities of the tenant, including payment of rent. However, the original tenant remains legally responsible if the assignee fails to pay the rent.

GROSS LEASE

A commercial real estate lease in which the tenant pays a fixed amount of rent per month or year, regardless of the landlord's operating costs, such as maintena... (more...)
A commercial real estate lease in which the tenant pays a fixed amount of rent per month or year, regardless of the landlord's operating costs, such as maintenance, taxes and insurance. A gross lease closely resembles the typical residential lease. The tenant may agree to a 'gross lease with stops,' meaning that the tenant will pitch in if the landlord's operating costs rise above a certain level. In real estate lingo, the point when the tenant starts to contribute is called the 'stop level,' because that's where the landlord's share of the costs stops.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Citrus County v. Halls River Development

... the Halls River property classification from MXU to CL in the Plan and on the Generalized Future Land Use Map ("GFLUM"), the map that shows future land uses under the Plan, it unfortunately did not update the property's designation in the LDC or the LDC zoning maps. ...

Keene v. Zoning Bd. of Adjustment

We review a final judgment in favor of the Zoning Board of Adjustment of Putnam 666 County (the Zoning Board) and Ronald and Ossie Wilson (the Wilsons) rendered in the declaratory judgment suit filed by Harold Keene challenging the decision of the Zoning Board to grant the ...

RICHARD ROAD v. MIAMI-DADE BD. OF COM'RS

... Richard Road Estates, the owner of real property in southwest Miami-Dade County, seeks second tier certiorari review of a circuit court appellate division decision affirming the refusal of the Miami-Dade County Commission to grant a change in zoning of the petitioner's property ...