UNDERIMPROVED LAND A particular land use that, due to the fact the land is not being used to its highest and best use, does not generate the maximum level of income that could be generated from the land.
UNDERINSURANCE Insurance coverage for an amount less than the value of the property being insured.
UNDERWRITER Someone, such as an employee of a lending institution or mortgage banking company, who reviews an application for a loan and makes a recommendation to a loan committee as to the desirability and risk of the institution making the loan. The underwriting process is an integral part of the lending process.
UNDEVELOPED LAND Land that has not had improvements made either to the land or on the land. The term raw land is sometimes used to refer to this type of land.
UNDISCLOSED AGENCY A situation in which a person is dealing with a third person, but does not notify or inform the third person that an agency relationship exists.
UNDISCLOSED PRINCIPAL A situation in which a third person is not advised of the existence of an agency relationship and, thus, is unaware that a principal-agent relationship exists. The unknown person for whom the agent is acting is referred to as an undisclosed principal. If an undisclosed principal exists, the agent is personally liable under the contract.
UNDIVIDED INTEREST The legal interest of co-owners in property in which the individual interest of each individual is indistinguishable.
UNDUE INFLUENCE Any action or urgency by a person in a fiduciary capacity or in a position of authority that causes someone else to act in a way contrary to what would have been done had the party been free of the influence. The essence of undue influence is mental coercion by one person over another. Contracts induced by undue influence are voidable at the option of the injured party.
UNENCUMBERED PROPERTY Property that is free and clear of any legal claims or liens.
UNENFORCEABLE CONTRACT An agreement in which something prevents a court of law from hearing disputes regarding the enforceability of the agreement.
UNIFORM VENDOR AND PURCHASER RISK ACT A law adopted in many states that addresses the question of who has legal title to property if an event such as damage due to fire occurs prior to the time of delivery and acceptance of the deed. Under common law when a real estate sales contract is signed which is not subject to any unfulfilled contingencies equitable conversion occurs and equitable title passes to the purchaser. The result of this is that the risk of loss also passes to the purchaser. If the subject matter is destroyed before closing, the purchaser suffers the loss. The Uniform Vendor and Purchaser Risk Act provides for risk of loss to shift only if either legal title or possession has been transferred. However, even with adoption of the act, the purchaser and seller may specify in the contract who has the risk of loss.
UNILATERAL CONTRACT An agreement in which one party promises to pay consideration for the performance of an act by another party. The party promising to pay consideration is not legally obligated to act unless the party promising to perform the agreed-to act actually performs. An open or general listing is a unilateral contract. Under this contract the property owner is only obligated to pay a commission to the broker who is the efficient and procuring cause of the sale. More than one broker may be employed and the owner is not obligated to pay anyone a commission if the owner personally sells the property.
UNILATERAL MISTAKE A misunderstanding or mistake of a material fact made by just one of the parties involved in a contractual agreement.
UNIMPROVED LAND Land in which neither improvements to the land or on the land have been made. Sometimes the term raw land is used to denote land in which no improvements have been made.
UNINSURABLE TITLE Title to real estate that is not marketable and one that a title insurance company refuses to insure due to some existing claim or encumbrance against the property.
UNIT That portion of a condominium intended for the exclusive use and possession of the individual unit owner. The individual arranges for separate financing for his or her individual unit and has fee simple title to the unit.
UNITY OF POSSESSION The right of each tenant to the possession and use of the whole property. This unity means that even though one of the joint tenants owns 50 percent of the interest in the property, he or she does not own a legally defined 50 percent of the area. Unity of possession is one of the unity requirements for the creation of a joint tenancy and is the only necessary unity for the creation of a tenancy in common.
UNITY OF TIME A requirement of a joint tenancy which states that all interests of the joint tenants must have been acquired at the same moment.
UNITY OF TITLE One of the unity requirements of a joint tenancy which states that the joint tenancy interests must be created in a single conveying instrument. This means that if a joint tenant sells his or her interest to a third party, the joint tenancy is terminated in relationto the third party. If originally two joint tenants owned the property and one of these conveyed his or her interest to a third party, a tenancy in common would be created. If there are more than two joint tenants, the conveyance by one tenant of his or her interest would not terminate the right of survivorship among the remaining tenants as to their interest but would create a tenancy in common only insofar as the purchaser was concerned.
UNIVERSAL AGENT A type of agent characterized by having the authority to do all acts that can be lawfully delegated to a representative. Ordinarily, a universal agent is created by a power of attorney. Anyone of legal capacity may be an attorney in fact, a position created by the power of attorney. Care should be taken not to confuse this status with an attorney at law, a person who must be admitted to an appropriate bar. Power of attorney is useful when a principal wishes to empower a broker to sell a house while the principal must be out of the country and, thus, is unable to personally sign appropriate documents to convey title. It should be noted that power of attorney may be limited in authority so that a universal agency is not necessarily created.
UNLAWFUL DETAINER The unjustifiable retention or possession of land by someone whose original entry and possession was legal.
UNMARKETABLE TITLE Title to real estate that is not marketable and one a title insurance company refuses to insure due to some existing claim or encumbrance against the property.
UNRECORDED INSTRUMENT Any legal document such as a mortgage or deed of trust that has not been properly placed in the public records. Recordation of the instrument gives the world constructive notice as to the legal claims or interests in the property.
UNSECURED LOAN A loan made only on the signature and credit of the borrower and, thus, not secured by collateral. By definition, a loan in which property is used to secure the debt is a secured loan.
UPLAND Land bordering a body of water.
UP RENT POTENTIAL The forecasted amount that rental rates can be reasonably increased over a specified period of time. The ability to forecast future income flows to rental property is contingent on being able to estimate the up rent potential of the property.
UPSET PRICE The lowest or minimum price as set by a court of law at which property can be sold at public auction.
URBAN DEVELOPMENT ACTION GRANT (UDAG) A federal funding program administered through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the purpose of making funds available to revitalize commercial areas.
URBAN LAND INSTITUTE (ULI) A nonprofit research and educational association involved in providing information on intelligent land use. The institute publishes numerous textbooks and research papers on topics related to land use. The mailing address is 1090 Vermont Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 2OM5; (202) 289-3307.
URBAN RENEWAL The process by which property is acquired by government action for the purpose of redevelopment and upgrading of the land use. Urban renewal projects include such land uses as public housing, parks and recreational areas, public libraries, and other such uses.
URBAN SPRAWL The unplanned and often haphazard growth of an urban area throughout a larger geographic area.
USEFUL LIFE The period of time over which property is expected to have utility.
USUFRUCTUARY RIGHT The personal right to make reasonable use of someone else's property such as the rights received through an easement.
USURY The charging of more for the use of money than the legal rate of interest. A number of states have laws which limit the interest rate that can be charged to individuals borrowing money in that state. These laws affect all lenders in a state regardless of what federal or state agency issued their charter. It should be noted that if there is a national economic emergency the federal government may temporarily suspend state usury laws.
UTILITY (UTILITIES) In appraisal theory, the term refers to the usefulness or satisfaction one receives from a good or service. In development, the term refers to the private or public service facilities such as telephone, water, and sewer that are provided as part of the development of the land.