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Glossary - L
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Laches
Delay or negligence in asserting one's rights.

Landlord
The owner of any real estate, such as a house, apartment building or land, that is leased or rented to another person, called the tenant.

Late charge
The penalty a borrower must pay when a payment is made a stated number of days (usually 15) after the due date.

Latent defect
Hidden structural defects and flaws.

Lease option
A lease under which the tenant has the right to purchase the property either during the lease term or at its end.

Lease purchase
The purchase of real property, the consummation of which is preceded by a lease, usually long-term. Typically done for tax or financing purposes.

Legacy
A disposition of money or personal property by will.

Legal description
A description of a specific parcel of real estate complete enough for an independent surveyor to locate and identify it.

Legally competent parties
People who are recognized by law as being able to contract with others; those of legal age and sound mind.

Leverage
The use of borrowed money to finance an investment.

Levy
To assess; to seize or collect. To levy a tax is to assess a property and set the rate of taxation. To Levy An Execution is to officially seize the property of a person in order to satisfy an obligation.

Lease
An oral or written agreement (a contract) between two people concerning the use by one of the property of the other. A person can lease real estate (such as an apartment or business property) or personal property (such as a car or a boat). A lease should cover basic issues such as when the lease will begin and end, the rent or other costs, how payments should be made, and any restrictions on the use of the property. The property owner is often called the "lessor," and the person using the property is called the "lessee." In Texas, any lease over one year in length, must be in writing.

Leasehold estate
A form of real estate in which a tenant is allowed to construct permanent structures upon a parcel of leased land, and derive some use or income from said structures during the period of the lease. Leasehold estates usually involve long-term leases, ranging from 20 to 99 years. Land owners are able to have their property developed, with no out of pocket expenses. Instead of having to sell their land too soon, they retain their family's rights to the land, while receiving a steady income stream. The tenant saves the initial land acquisition costs and may gain access to property that would be otherwise unavailable. The downside is, as the lease nears the end or its term, the tenant's investment becomes uncertain, and the landlord is in a position to make demands for compensation, above the fair market price. Leaseholds are much more common in commercial real estate, but can apply to some residential properties as well. Hawaii has many leasehold condominium projects, and even Houston has at least one mid-rise condominium building that lacks ownership of the land it occupies.

Less favorable treatment
Any time a person is treated differently on the basis of race, sex, religion, color, familial status, disability, or national origin, either by action or inaction, in the selling or leasing of real property, it is a violation of the Fair Housing Laws. Also known as unequal treatment or different treatment.

Lessee
Tenant leasing property.

Lessor
One who leases property to a tenant.

Levy Improvement District (LID)
A type of Water Control and Improvement District, used to build and maintain levies. Levies are used to contain flooding creeks and rivers.

License
(I) A privilege or right granted to a person by a state to operate as a real estate broker or salesperson.
(2) The revocable permission for a temporary use of land--a personal right that cannot be sold.

Lien
A right given by law to certain creditors to have their debts paid out of the property of a defaulting debtor, usually by means of a court sale.

Lien theory
Some states interpret a mortgage as being purely a lien on real property. The mortgagee thus has no right of possession but must foreclose the lien and sell the property if the mortgagor defaults.

Life
Cycle costing In property management, comparing one type of equipment to another based on both purchase cost and operating cost over its expected useful lifetime.

Life estate
An interest in real or personal property that is limited in duration to the lifetime of its owner or some other designated person or persons.

Life tenant
A person in possession of a life estate.

Liquidated damages
An amount predetermined by the parties to a contract as the total compensation to an injured party should the other party breach the contract.

Liquidity
The ability to sell an asset and convert it into cash, at a price close to its true value, in a short period of time.

Lis pendens
A recorded legal document giving constructive notice that an action affecting a particular property has been filed in either a state or a federal court.

Listing agreement
A contract between an owner (as principal) and a real estate broker (as agent) by which the broker is employed as agent to find a buyer for the owner's real estate on the owner's terms, for which service the owner agrees to pay a commission.

Listing broker
The broker in a multiple-listing situation from whose office a listing agreement is initiated, as opposed to the cooperating broker, from whose office negotiations leading up to a sale are initiated. The listing broker and the cooperating broker may be the same person.

Littoral rights
(I) A landowner's claim to use water in large navigable lakes and oceans adjacent to his or her property.
(2) The ownership rights to land bordering these bodies of water up to the high water mark.

Listing
A written agreement between a property owner and a real estate broker authorizing the broker to find a buyer.

Lien theory state
Texas is a Lien Theory State, where legal title of mortgaged property resides with the mortgagor (borrower), with the mortgage as a lien against the property. Contrast with title theory state.

Limited equity housing
An arrangement designed to encourage low-and moderate-income families to purchase housing, in which the housing is offered at an extremely favorable price with a low down payment. The catch is that when the owner sells, she gets none of the profit if the market value of the unit has gone up. Any profit returns to the organization that built the home, which then resells the unit at an affordable price.

Liabilities
A person's financial obligations. Liabilities include long-term and short-term debt, as well as any other amounts that are owed to others.

Liability insurance
Insurance coverage that offers protection against claims alleging that a property owner's negligence or inappropriate action resulted in bodily injury or property damage to another party.

Lifetime payment cap
For an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), a limit on the amount that payments can increase or decrease over the life of the mortgage. See cap.

Line of credit
An agreement by a commercial bank or other financial institution to extend credit up to a certain amount for a certain time to a specified borrower. See home equity line of credit.

Liquid asset
A cash asset or an asset that is easily converted into cash.

Loan origination fee
A fee charged to the borrower by the lender for making a mortgage loan. The fee is usually computed as a percentage of the loan amount.

Loan-to-value-ratio
The relationship between the amount of the mortgage loan and the value of the real estate being pledged as collateral.

Lot-and-block (Recorded plat) system
A method of describing real property that identifies a parcel of land by reference to lot and block numbers within a subdivision. as specified on a recorded subdivision plat.

Loan Officer
Also referred to by a variety of other terms, such as lender, loan representative, loan "rep," account executive, and others. The loan officer serves several functions and has various responsibilities: they solicit loans, they are the representative of the lending institution, and they represent the borrower to the lending institution.

Loan Servicing
After you obtain a loan, the company you make the payments to is "servicing" your loan. They process payments, send statements, manage the escrow/impound account, provide collection efforts on delinquent loans, ensure that insurance and property taxes are made on the property, handle pay-offs and assumptions, and provide a variety of other services.


Loan-To-Value (LTV)
The percentage relationship between the amount of the loan and the appraised value or sales price (whichever is lower).

Lock-In Period
The time period during which the lender has guaranteed an interest rate to a borrower.

Lock or lock In
A commitment you obtain from a lender assuring you a particular interest rate or feature or a definite time period. Provides protection should interest rates rise between the time you apply for a loan, acquire loan approval, and, subsequently, close the loan and receive the funds you have borrowed.

Loft
(1) A style of residential construction. In Houston the term "loft" is used quite liberally. It may refer to an older building that has been converted into residential condominiums, or it may mean a new mid-rise project with a "loft-style" finish to the units. There are also new construction town homes that are promoted as being "lofts". A builder creates new loft space by leaving exposed brick walls, bare polished concrete floors and having unhidden heating ducts, trusses, etc.
(2) An upstairs room or area that has an open wall, overlooking a room or area below.

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