Abatement

In real estate law, abatement typically refers to a landlord’s incentive for a tenant in terms of lower rent, reduced fees or the permission of early occupancy.

Abstract of Title

This is a written account of a property’s title.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)

An ARM is a loan with an interest rate that varies. Payment is made according to an adjustment period. The adjustment is determined by a benchmark index that varies. This is usually the prime rate or LIBOR.

Air Rights

This is the legal right to use the air space that is above real estate. Air rights can be leased, rented and sold to other parties by the owner of the land.

Amortization

Amortization is the routinely scheduled payment of money owed on a liability such as a mortgage.

Assignment

This is the process in which a contract or right is transferred to another person. Examples of such contracts are deeds of trusts and mortgages.

Attorney-in-Fact

This is someone who is assigned to execute legal acts for another party through a power of attorney.

Capital Gain

The amount of money gained on an asset. It is taxed at varying rates according to whether the asset was owned for more or less than a year.

Certificate of Occupancy

This certificate is created by local governments that are responsible for the use of a piece of land within communities to state that the property’s structures and improvements comply with regulations and codes and that they can be occupied.

Cession Deed

This is used to relinquish property to a municipality for a public work project like the creation of a road.

Chain of Title

A description of the sequential conveyance of a property’s title to a specific property.

Collateral

The assets put forward in order to obtain a loan. Collateral can be taken by the lending party if the loan isn’t paid.

Commingling

The combining of money and/or property of others with business and/or personal funds and other property.

Common Law

This is the law established by tradition or judicial precedent as opposed to a written statute.

Common Law Dedication

This is an act performed by an owner of a property that allows for the public use of the property.

Compensatory Damage

The amount of money lost that is to be awarded by a court when a breach of contract occurs.

Condemnation

This is the taking of private property for public use.

Deed

A written document that transfers ownership of property to another party.

Defeasance Clause

This gives a borrower the right to redeem a title and have a lien on a mortgage released before default through the full payment of the debt.

Easement

The non-possessory right to use a property’s land.

Equity of Redemption

This is the borrower’s right to pay a debt in full along with lender’s expenses and accrued interest in order to redeem a title after default has occurred but prior to a foreclosure sale.

Escheat

The government’s right to take the title of real estate left by an individual who perishes but fails to leave a legitimate will.

Escrow

A situation where one party holds money, benefits, documents etc. in trust for another party to ensure that an agreement is properly executed.

Foreclosure

This occurs when a lender takes the title of a piece of property after the mortgage is defaulted.

General Lien

This is a lien that is attached to a person’s property within a court’s jurisdiction that prevents his collection of the property’s sales proceeds until the original debt is paid.

Injunction

The court’s directive to stop a certain activity.

Plat

A map of a property that is available in public records.

Primary Residence

The home or apartment that is occupied by a person for 6 months and 1 day of the year or more.

Right of First Refusal

Typically used by condominiums, this is a condition that allows the governing board to evaluate a party that desires to buy or rent a living space and refuse his application. Yet if the board refuses the applicant, the board must rent or purchase the living space according to the terms outlined in the contract.

Title

A property’s title is the document that shows an owner lawfully owns the space. This is typically a property deed.

Writ of Attachment

A court order that bars the transfer of an attached property while litigation is occurring.