Real Estate Law Terms to Know

The legal definition of real estate or real property includes land and the buildings on it. Real estate law governs who may own and use the land.

  • Title: A legal term describing who officially owns the land.
  • Mortgage: A loan that covers the price of a house. The new homeowner must give the lender partial ownership of the house as collateral.
  • Foreclosure: The process by which the lender takes control of a house if the owner fails to pay back the mortgage.
  • Closing: The meeting in which ownership of real estate is officially transferred.
  • Escrow: Money or property held by a third, disinterested party for safekeeping.
  • Real Estate Agent: A professional licensed to negotiate and conduct real estate transactions.

Read more about Real Estate


Civil Law vs Criminal Law

Civil law deals with behavior that constitutes an injury to an individual or other private party, such as a corporation.Examples are defamation (including libel and slander), breach of contract, negligence resulting in injury or death, and property damage.

Criminal law deals with behavior that is or can be construed as an offense against the public, society, or the state—even if the immediate victim is an individual. Examples are murder

Learn more about Civil vs Criminal Law


Landlord/Tenant Terms to Know

  • Abandonment: A tenant's conduct that demonstrates his or her intent to give up the right to reside in the rental property, without the landlord's authorization or agreement
  • Constructive Eviction: A process through which a landlord's actions (or failure to act) interfere with a tenant's possession of rental property to such an extent that the property is made unfit for reasonable occupation by the tenant.  
  • Eviction: A court-based process through which a landlord may remove a tenant from rental property, with good cause and after following a number of procedural requirements.  The eviction process is also called "unlawful detainer" in some states.
  • Lease: A written agreement entered into between a landlord and tenant, through which the tenant is granted the right to exclusive use and occupation of the landlord's residential property for a specified amount of time, and in exchange for an agreed-upon sum of money. Also called a "rental agreement."
  • Rent:  The payment of a specified amount of money for the right to exclusive enjoyment of residential property, usually via periodic (i.e. monthly) payments. A residential lease or rental agreement should state the amount of rent, and when and how the rent is to be paid.

Landlord Tenant Dictionary

Business Law Terms to Know

  • Articles of Incorporation -  is a document or charter that establishes the existence of a corporation in the United States
  • Contract - an agreement between two or more parties to perform a service, provide a product or commit to an act and is enforceable by law
  • Deed vs Title - a deed is a legal document used to confirm or convey the ownership rights of a property and a title is not a document but is the legal way of saying you have ownership of the property 
  • Incorporation - method by which individuals are voluntarily united into a new entity through the creation of an artificial, intangible, and legal person called corporation
  • Operating Agreement - a key document used by LLCs because it outlines the business' financial and functional decisions including rules, regulations and provisions
  • Ownership - the ultimate and exclusive right conferred by a lawful claim or title, and subject to certain restrictions to enjoy, occupy, possess, rent, sell, use, give away, or even destroy an item of property
  • Statutory Agent - a responsible third-party who is registered in the same state in which a business entity was established and who is designated to receive service of process notices, correspondence from the Secretary of State, and other official government notifications, usually tax forms and notice of lawsuits, on behalf of the LLC
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of C-Corporations, S-Corporations, and LLC (Limited Liability Companies) 

Small Business Law Glossary