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LEGAL TERMS

SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE

A remedy provided by a court that orders the losing side to perform its part of a contract rather than, or possibly in addition to, paying money damages to the ... (more...)
A remedy provided by a court that orders the losing side to perform its part of a contract rather than, or possibly in addition to, paying money damages to the winner.

HOUSE CLOSING

The final transfer of the ownership of a house from the seller to the buyer, which occurs after both have met all the terms of their contract and the deed has b... (more...)
The final transfer of the ownership of a house from the seller to the buyer, which occurs after both have met all the terms of their contract and the deed has been recorded.

SETBACK

The distance between a property boundary and a building. A minimum setback is usually required by law.

HOLD HARMLESS

In a contract, a promise by one party not to hold the other party responsible if the other party carries out the contract in a way that causes damage to the fir... (more...)
In a contract, a promise by one party not to hold the other party responsible if the other party carries out the contract in a way that causes damage to the first party. For example, many leases include a hold harmless clause in which the tenant agrees not to sue the landlord if the tenant is injured due to the landlord's failure to maintain the premises. In most states, these clauses are illegal in residential tenancies, but may be upheld in commercial settings.

INURE

To take effect, or to benefit someone. In property law, the term means 'to vest.' For example, Jim buys a beach house that includes the right to travel across t... (more...)
To take effect, or to benefit someone. In property law, the term means 'to vest.' For example, Jim buys a beach house that includes the right to travel across the neighbor's property to get to the water. That right of way is said, cryptically, 'to inure to the benefit of Jim.'

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.'

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.

CONTINGENCY

A provision in a contract stating that some or all of the terms of the contract will be altered or voided by the occurrence of a specific event. For example, a ... (more...)
A provision in a contract stating that some or all of the terms of the contract will be altered or voided by the occurrence of a specific event. For example, a contingency in a contract for the purchase of a house might state that if the buyer does not approve the inspection report of the physical condition of the property, the buyer does not have to complete the purchase.

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.