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San Antonio Land Use & Zoning Lawyer, Texas


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LEGAL TERMS

FORFEITURE

The loss of property or a privilege due to breaking a law. For example, a landlord may forfeit his or her property to the federal or state government if the lan... (more...)
The loss of property or a privilege due to breaking a law. For example, a landlord may forfeit his or her property to the federal or state government if the landlord knows it is a drug-dealing site but fails to stop the illegal activity. Or, you may have to forfeit your driver's license if you commit too many moving violations or are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

ACT OF GOD

An extraordinary and unexpected natural event, such as a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or even the sudden death of a person. An act of God may be a defense aga... (more...)
An extraordinary and unexpected natural event, such as a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or even the sudden death of a person. An act of God may be a defense against liability for injuries or damages. Under the law of contracts, an act of God often serves as a valid excuse if one of the parties to the contract is unable to fulfill his or her duties -- for instance, completing a construction project on time.

DEED IN LIEU (OF FORECLOSURE)

A means of escaping an overly burdenome mortgage. If a homeowner can't make the mortgage payments and can't find a buyer for the house, many lenders will accept... (more...)
A means of escaping an overly burdenome mortgage. If a homeowner can't make the mortgage payments and can't find a buyer for the house, many lenders will accept ownership of the property in place of the money owed on the mortgage. Even if the lender won't agree to accept the property, the homeowner can prepare a quitclaim deed that unilaterally transfers the homeowner's property rights to the lender.

PRECEDENT

A legal principle or rule created by one or more decisions of a state or federal appellate court. These rules provide a point of reference or authority for judg... (more...)
A legal principle or rule created by one or more decisions of a state or federal appellate court. These rules provide a point of reference or authority for judges deciding similar issues in later cases. Lower courts must apply these rules when faced with similar legal issues. For example, if the Montana Supreme Court decides that a certain type of employment contract overly restricts the right of the employee to quit and get another job, all other Montana courts must apply this same rule.

LICENSE (OF INVENTION, COPYRIGHT OR TRADEMARK)

A contract giving written permission to use an invention, creative work or trademark. A license provides a way to make money from your invention or creative wor... (more...)
A contract giving written permission to use an invention, creative work or trademark. A license provides a way to make money from your invention or creative work without having to manufacture and sell copies yourself. By licensing an invention or work to a company, you get money (often in the form of royalties) in return for allowing the company to use, produce and sell copies of your invention or work in the marketplace.

JOINT TENANCY

A way for two or more people to share ownership of real estate or other property. When two or more people own property as joint tenants and one owner dies, the ... (more...)
A way for two or more people to share ownership of real estate or other property. When two or more people own property as joint tenants and one owner dies, the other owners automatically own the deceased owner's share. For example, if a parent and child own a house as joint tenants and the parent dies, the child automatically becomes full owner. Because of this right of survivorship, no will is required to transfer the property; it goes directly to the surviving joint tenants without the delay and costs of probate.

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR

A legal category of worker defined by the Internal Revenue Service. The key to the definition is that, unlike employees, independent contractors retain control ... (more...)
A legal category of worker defined by the Internal Revenue Service. The key to the definition is that, unlike employees, independent contractors retain control over how the work they are hired to do gets done; the person or company paying the independent contractor controls only the outcome--the product or service.

INCIDENTS OF OWNERSHIP

Any control over property. If you give away property but keep an incident of ownership--for example, you give away an apartment building but retain the right to... (more...)
Any control over property. If you give away property but keep an incident of ownership--for example, you give away an apartment building but retain the right to receive rent--then legally, no gift has been made. This distinction can be important if you're making large gifts to reduce your eventual estate tax.

NONCOMPETITION AGREEMENT

An agreement, generally included in an employment contract or a contract for the sale of a business, where one party agrees not to compete with the other party ... (more...)
An agreement, generally included in an employment contract or a contract for the sale of a business, where one party agrees not to compete with the other party for a specific period of time and within a particular area. Salespeople, for example, often sign noncompetition agreements that prevent them from using the contacts gained by one employer to benefit another employer. Or a salesperson may sign what is known as a 'noncompete,' agreeing not to sell within a particular area, or even work in the same type of business. In some states, such as California, courts view noncompetition agreements with disfavor and will not enforce them unless the restrictions are very narrow. In other states, courts routinely uphold them.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

COLUMBUS MARKET v. Zoning Bd. of Galveston

Property owners appeal the district court's order affirming the decision of a municipal zoning board to uphold a decision by a city administrative agency to deny the property owners' application for a city permit to demolish property in a historical area of the city. The property owners ...

Barr v. City of Sinton

... In response, the city passed a zoning ordinance that not only precluded the use of the homes for that purpose but effectively banned the ministry from the city. ... When Barr began his ministry, the City imposed no zoning or other restrictions on his use of the homes. ...

City of Sherman v. Wayne

... In this regulatory takings case, we determine whether James Wayne's claims are ripe for adjudication and, if so, whether the evidence supports the trial court's judgment that application of the City of 39 Sherman's residential zoning ordinance to Wayne's property deprived him of ...