Wednesday, 26 March 2014


A single word can change the nature or understanding of the transaction and are several cases and matters which have been decided on the basis of the wordings employed in the document where the interpretation of words, phrases and terms by the courts have decided the fate of the parties.

You may have come across terms like "Indenture of Sale", "Indenture of Lease", etc. One may be wondering as to what is meant by indenture and how it is different from deed. Formerly, an indenture meant a document cut with serrated edges  which will fit with the counterpart of the document. In other words, the copies so cut had indented edges which made forgery difficult.Now, though the terminology is still used, this type of document is practically non-existent. At present, indentures can be taken to mean documents, usually in the nature of a contract, which are signed by both or all parties concerned.

Similarly, a power of Attorney can start with wordings like "Know All Men by these Presents". The term "presents" indicates the "Deed" itself. Further, one may come across terms like "one or more lots". Originally, the term "lot" or "lots" was used as indicating a parcel of land which was usually divided. "Lots" also meant contiguous parcels of lands. You may find this in usages like "parking lot", etc.

The term "real estate" itself has come to mean immovable property. It is used synonymous for lands, tenements, hereditaments and the rights relating to immovable property as distinguished against personal properties like goods and other properties which are basically not immovable properties.

The word "Tenements" signifies properties that can be held by a person which are of a permanent nature.It also means a house and other types of immovable properties. The word "Hereditaments" indicates any property which can be inherited and includes movable and personal property also.

The word "appurtenant" means pertaining to or belonging to and is used in such sense in deeds and documents.The word "Appurtenances" used in conveyances like Sale Deed, etc. means an interest or a right in a property incidental to the principal right which is more valuable and important. The word "Easement" in the Sale Deed can be stated to be the right or a privilege that a person has on the property of another. It also includes a right to enjoy a profit arising out of an immovable property. Usually, this is used in the context of indicating a right of way, pathways, a right of air, a right of tight passing through, etc.

The word "License" used in a deed indicates grant of a right or an authority to do something in the immovable property, which right or authority, but for the authorization, will be illegal or wrongful or unlawful. It is basically in the nature of permission. This does not create an interest in the immovable property, but creates a right or a privilege which is usually revocable.When acting under the right or privilege, the person exercising the right or privilege, known as "Licensee" enjoys immunity for the acts done.

The term "Metes and Bounds" appearing in deeds would indicate description or details of the boundary lines of the land, together with terminal points and angles. The term "Admeasurement" or "Admeasuring" is employed where the actual extent of the length and breadth of the property is given.

There are several other terms and words which may appear innocuous and apparently repetitive. It is possible that there is a sense of discomfort in not knowing exactly what the words or terms mean when you are to sign certain documents since the words and terms as understood could be totally different than intended in the document. Presumption of vague notions may land you in trouble. If you do not understand a particular usage, it is better to check up with your advocate or a person having knowledge of these terms and clear all doubts. 

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