Real Estate Dictionary



UCC
See: Uniform Commercial Code.
ULTRA VIRES
Originally acts of a corporation beyond or against its charter. Now includes illegal acts. An officer of a corporation may be personally liable for an ultra vires act of the corporation.
UNAVOIDABLE CAUSE
A cause which reasonable prudence and care could not have prevented, such as death, illness, papers lost in the mail, etc.
UNBALANCED IMPROVEMENT
An appraisal term describing an improvement not in conformity with the surrounding area, and so, not suited to its location. May be an underimprovement or overimprovement.
UNCONSCIONABLE CONTRACT
So unfair that a court will not allow it. So one sided that no one in his right mind would agree on one side, and no fair and honest person would agree on the other side.
UNDER-LEASE
A sub-lease for either less than the remaining term on the master lease or less than the total property covered by the master lease.
UNDERCOATING
A "prime" or first coat before the finish or "top coat" of paint or other finish.
UNDERFLOOR WIRING SYSTEM
A system of electrical wiring built into the floor of a building through conduits, ducts, and raceways.
UNDERIMPROVEMENT
An improvement which is deficient in size or quality in relation to the site on which it is built.
UNDERLYING FINANCING
A mortgage, trust deed, or land contract prior to (underlying) another mortgage, trust deed, or land contract which is all inclusive or wraps around it.
UNDERPASS
A passageway under a road, railway, or other right of way. May be for pedestrian traffic, automobiles, or any other method of transportation.
UNDERPINNING
(1) Temporary load-bearing beams used during construction. (2) Permanent load-bearing supports, added to an existing structure.
UNDERWRITER
One who insures another. A small title company may buy insurance from a larger one (the underwriter) for all or part of the liability of its policies. A larger title company may buy part of the insurance from another company on high liability policies.
UNDERWRITING
The process of analyzing both the worthiness of a potential borrower and the property involved to enable a lender to decide whether to make a loan, the amount to lend and how much to charge in interest and fees.
UNDEVELOPED LAND
See: Raw Land.
UNDISCLOSED PRINCIPAL
A principal whose identity is not revealed by an agent.
UNDIVIDED INTEREST
A partial interest by two or more people in the same property, whether the interest of each is equal or unequal.
UNDUE INFLUENCE
Influence used to destroy the will of another so that his decision is not his free act.
UNDULATING LAND
Rolling land composed of compound slopes (two or more slopes of different grades).
UNEARNED INCREMENT
An increase in value to real property due to some change in the area rather than an improvement in the property itself.
UNEARNED PREMIUM
That unused portion of an insurance premium which is returned to the policy holder upon cancellation.
UNENCUMBERED
Free of liens and other encumbrances. Free and clear.
UNENFORCEABLE CONTRACT
A contract which a court will not enforce, even though it may have all the requirements of a valid contract. Example: A contract barred by a statute of limitations. It may be valid except that the plaintiff took too long to bring the action.
UNFINISHED BUILDING SPACE
Not completed. A general term not specifying how much has not been completed. May need paint, floor covering, or other minor completions. May need plumbing, electricity, floors, or other major completions.
UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE (UCC)
A set of laws written to make it easier to do business between states by making the law the same for each state that adopted the code. The UCC covers many aspects of business such as transactions involving personal property (Article 2) and Negotiable Instruments (Article 3).
UNIFORM LAWS
Laws approved by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. Many have been adopted in one or more states. Among these are the Uniform Commercial Code, Uniform Negotiable Instruments Act, Uniform Partnership Act, Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, etc.
UNIFORM RESIDENTIAL APPRAISAL REPORT
The standard form used to appraise one to four family residential property.
UNIFORMITY
In taxation, equality in the burden of taxation, implying equality in the method of assessment as well as the rate of taxation.
UNILATERAL CONTRACT
A contract formed by a promise from one party and performance from the other. The contract is formed only after the performance is completed, unless legally excused. See also: Bilateral Contract.
UNILATERAL MISTAKE
A mistake made by one of the parties to the contract. Usually enforceable unless the other party knew or should have known of it (an obvious mistake).
UNIMPROVED LAND
Most commonly land without buildings; it can also mean land in its natural state.
UNINCORPORATED AREA
An area of a county which has not formed a municipal corporation (become a city).
UNINSURABLE TITLE
Title to real estate that a title insurance company refuses to insure. The defect goes to the fee (ownership) or a claim or encumbrance that could lead to the loss of fee title in the party seeking insurance.
UNIT
(1) One of any group. (2) An apartment, condominium, house in a subdivision, etc.
UNIT COST
In relation to real estate, a cost per square foot. Also called unit price.
UNIT COST IN PLACE METHOD
An appraisal method. The cost of construction by estimating the cost of each component part in place, including labor cost and overhead.
UNIT OF COMPARISON
Used in appraisal to make the most appropriate use of comparables. Example: A house may best be compared by price per square foot, land by price per front foot, a hospital by price per bed, etc.
UNIT PRICE
See: Unit Cost.
UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
The section of the department of the interior which maps the country and identifies its geologic features.
UNITIES
The peculiarities necessary to form a valid joint tenancy. Unity of time, title, interest, and possession.
UNITY OF INTEREST
In joint tenancy, the joint tenants must acquire their interest by the same conveyance and said interest must be equal.
UNITY OF POSSESSION
In joint tenancy, the joint tenants must have equal rights to possession.
UNITY OF TIME
To have a valid joint tenancy, the joint tenants must acquire title at the same time.
UNITY OF TITLE
In joint tenancy, the holding by the joint tenants under the same document.
UNLAWFUL DETAINER
The unjustifiable possession of property by one whose original entry was lawful but whose right to possession has terminated; usually a tenant.
UNLIMITED MORTGAGE
See: Open End Mortgage.
UNMARKETABLE TITLE
Not saleable. A title which has serious defects.
UNRECORDED INSTRUMENT
A deed, mortgage, etc., which is not recorded in the county recorder's office and, therefore, not protected under recording statutes. Valid between the parties involved, but not against innocent third parties.
UNSECURED
Generally referring to an obligation which has only a promise as security. A note would be unsecured, a note and mortgage would be secured.
UPLANDS
Land bordering bodies of water but above the high water mark.
UPSET PRICE
A legal term signifying the minimum price at which a property can be sold at auction, usually foreclosure.
URAR
See: Uniform Residential Appraisal Report.
URBAN
Pertaining to a city or town.
URBAN RENEWAL
Razing and rebuilding of obsolete sections of cities through financing by federal, state, and local governments.
USE DENSITY
The relationship of the number of buildings of a particular use to a given land area.
USE VALUE
See: Value in Use.
USEFUL LIFE
(1) In appraisal for sale purposes, the true economic value of a building in terms of years of use to the owner. (2) For tax purposes, the life set for depreciation. At any time during that period, a new life could begin for a new owner.
USUFRUCT
The right to use and profit from property vested in another, so long as the user (usufructuary) does not change the substance of the property. Would include an easement but not a profit a prendre.
USUFRUCTUARY
One who has a usufruct.
USURY
Charging an illegal rate or amount of interest on a loan.
UTILITIES
Public or private suppliers of water, electricity, gas, telephone and sewers that serve a property or the public or private companies that supply them.
UTILITY
Practical usefulness, as opposed to frivolity.
UTILITY ROOM
A room used for laundry, heating equipment, telephone wiring, or janitorial purposes.