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LEGAL TERMS

QUASI-COMMUNITY PROPERTY

A form of property owned by a married couple. If a couple moves to a community property state from a non-community property state, property they acquired togeth... (more...)
A form of property owned by a married couple. If a couple moves to a community property state from a non-community property state, property they acquired together in the non-community property state may be considered quasi-community property. Quasi-community property is treated just like community property when one spouse dies or if the couple divorces.

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.

QUIET ENJOYMENT

The right of a property owner or tenant to enjoy his or her property without interference. Disruption of quiet enjoyment may constitute a nuisance. Leases and r... (more...)
The right of a property owner or tenant to enjoy his or her property without interference. Disruption of quiet enjoyment may constitute a nuisance. Leases and rental agreements often contain a 'covenant of quiet enjoyment,' expressly obligating the landlord to see that tenants have the opportunity to live undisturbed.

SEIZURE

The taking of physical evidence or property by law enforcement officials. This runs the gamut from taking blood for a drug test to impounding a car used in a ro... (more...)
The taking of physical evidence or property by law enforcement officials. This runs the gamut from taking blood for a drug test to impounding a car used in a robbery. The police must generally obtain a search warrant, or court order, before they can seize personal property.

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.

NUISANCE

Something that interferes with the use of property by being irritating, offensive, obstructive or dangerous. Nuisances include a wide range of conditions, every... (more...)
Something that interferes with the use of property by being irritating, offensive, obstructive or dangerous. Nuisances include a wide range of conditions, everything from a chemical plant's noxious odors to a neighbor's dog barking. The former would be a 'public nuisance,' one affecting many people, while the other would be a 'private nuisance,' limited to making your life difficult, unless the dog was bothering others. Lawsuits may be brought to abate (remove or reduce) a nuisance. See quiet enjoyment, attractive nuisance.

DIVIDEND

A portion of profits distributed by a corporation to its shareholders based on the type of stock and number of shares owned. Dividends are usually paid in cash,... (more...)
A portion of profits distributed by a corporation to its shareholders based on the type of stock and number of shares owned. Dividends are usually paid in cash, though they may also be paid in the form of additional shares of stock or other property. The amount of a dividend is established by the corporation's board of directors; however, state laws often restrict a corporation's ability to declare dividends by requiring a minimum level of profits or assets before the dividend can be approved.

PATENT CLAIM

A statement included in a patent application that describes the structure of an invention in precise and exact terms, using a long established formal style and ... (more...)
A statement included in a patent application that describes the structure of an invention in precise and exact terms, using a long established formal style and precise terminology. Patent claims serve as a way for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to determine whether an invention is patentable, and as a way for a court to determine whether a patent has been infringed. In concept, a patent claim marks the boundaries of the patent in the same way as the legal description in a deed specifies the boundaries of the property.

ILLUSORY PROMISE

A promise that pledges nothing, because it is vague or because the promisor can choose whether or not to honor it. Such promises are not legally binding. For ex... (more...)
A promise that pledges nothing, because it is vague or because the promisor can choose whether or not to honor it. Such promises are not legally binding. For example, if you get a new job and promise to work for three years, unless you resign sooner, you haven't made a valid contract and can resign or be fired at any time.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Martin Brothers Construction, Inc. v. Thompson Pacific Construction, Inc.

The subcontracts provided that Thompson Pacific would make monthly progress payments to Martin Brothers of "95% of labor and materials which have been placed in final position and for which the right to payment has been properly documented pursuant to the terms of this ...

Goldstein v. Barak Construction

Respondents own a residence in Los Angeles, California. In June 2004, Weisz represented to respondents that he was personally engaged in the business of residential construction and remodeling and that Barak was "his" company. Weisz also stated that both he and Barak ...

State Building and Construction Trades Council v. Duncan

STATE BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. John C. DUNCAN as Director, etc., et al., Defendants and Appellants; Southern California Housing Development Corporation, Real Party In Interest and Appellant. State ...