Thursday, April 23, 2015

Legal Definitions - T


Tenant – A person who occupies real property owned by another, either residential or commercial, usually for the payment of monthly rent. Most tenants are responsible, law abiding citizens. I don't get to meet many of those. Some of the tenants I meet are just experiencing a bad time of their lives, but others have relocated to their current dwelling from the netherworld, which is a euphemism for the fact they are tenants from hell.

Testify – Giving oral evidence under oath at a trial or deposition, with the opportunity for opposing parties to cross-examine. The amount of lying under oath which I have witnessed in court boggles the mind.

Time is of the essence – A legal phrase which means “the date/time indicated are EXACT. Even one second too late is too late.” Therefore, if I write a settlement agreement that states the defendant will move out of the property on May 1 at 4:00pm, if the defendant has not removed ALL of his personal property and ALL of the persons who reside there with him, and he does not hand over the keys at precisely 4:00pm [or before], he is in breach of the settlement. Most of my settlements have provisions for what happens upon breach, the most common being the defendant is responsible for paying a LOT more money. I once had a defendant ask the judge whether, if he didn't move out on time, he would be arrested. That provision is NEVER a part of my settlement agreements, altho there have been defendants for whom I would have LOVED to have included that provision.

Trial – A hearing wherein the facts of the case are presented for determination. The trier of fact [the entity who determines which facts are true and which aren't] can be either a judge or a jury. Most eviction trials are bench trials [non-jury]. Most legal aid organizations demand jury trials because the tenants don't have to pay for them [legal aid and all], and landlords don't want to pay for them either. Therefore, demanding a jury trial gives the tenants more bargaining power to obtain the settlement they want.


  1. Interesting concept for a blog. For any mystery writer, this would be helpful. Thanks for the definitions.

  2. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! Glad you found it interesting.