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LEGAL TERMS

EMINENT DOMAIN

The power of the federal or state government to take private property for a public purpose, even if the property owner objects. The Fifth Amendment to the Unite... (more...)
The power of the federal or state government to take private property for a public purpose, even if the property owner objects. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution allows the government to take private property if the taking is for a public use and the owner is 'justly compensated' (usually, paid fair market value) for his or her loss. A public use is virtually anything that is sanctioned by a federal or state legislative body, but such uses may include roads, parks, reservoirs, schools, hospitals or other public buildings. Sometimes called condemnation, taking or expropriation.

TENANCY IN COMMON

A way two or more people can own property together. Each can leave his or her interest upon death to beneficiaries of his choosing instead of to the other owner... (more...)
A way two or more people can own property together. Each can leave his or her interest upon death to beneficiaries of his choosing instead of to the other owners, as is required with joint tenancy. In some states, two people are presumed to own property as tenants in common unless they've agreed otherwise in writing.

TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE

The causing of harm by disrupting something that belongs to someone else -- for example, interfering with a contractual relationship so that one party fails to ... (more...)
The causing of harm by disrupting something that belongs to someone else -- for example, interfering with a contractual relationship so that one party fails to deliver goods on time.

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.

DONATION

A gift of property. The IRS allows you to take an income tax deduction for the value of donations made to charitable organizations who are recognized as such by... (more...)
A gift of property. The IRS allows you to take an income tax deduction for the value of donations made to charitable organizations who are recognized as such by the IRS.

MORTGAGE

A loan in which the borrower puts up the title to real estate as security (collateral) for a loan. If the borrower doesn't pay back the debt on time, the lender... (more...)
A loan in which the borrower puts up the title to real estate as security (collateral) for a loan. If the borrower doesn't pay back the debt on time, the lender can foreclose on the real estate and have it sold to pay off the loan.

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.'

MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE (MLS)

A computer-based service that provides real estate professionals with detailed listings of most homes currently on the market. Much of the information can now b... (more...)
A computer-based service that provides real estate professionals with detailed listings of most homes currently on the market. Much of the information can now be obtained by the public through websites like www.realtor.com.

PERMANENT RESIDENT

A non-U.S. citizen who has been given permission to make his or her permanent home in the United States. If you acquire permanent residence, you will be issued ... (more...)
A non-U.S. citizen who has been given permission to make his or her permanent home in the United States. If you acquire permanent residence, you will be issued a green card to prove it. The terms permanent resident and 'green card holder' mean exactly the same thing. You cannot be a permanent resident without a green card and you cannot have a green card without being a permanent resident. As a permanent resident, you may travel as much as you like, but your place of residence must be the United States and you must keep that residence on a permanent basis. If you leave the United States and stay away for more than a year, you risk losing your green card.

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