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Abatement – definition and meaning

We use the term Abatement in legal, business or financial situations. We use it when referring to the lessening, reduction, or ending of something. Moreover, it is something unpleasant or undesirable. The verb – to abate – means to become less intense, as in: “The storm suddenly abated.”

Abatement of Debts and Legacies is a common law doctrine of wills. It dictates that when the equitable assets of somebody who has died are not enough to satisfy all the creditors fully, their debts ‘must abate proportionally’. Consequently, creditors must accept a proportional amount of the deceased person’s estate. In other words, they should not expect all their money back.

Tax abatement

Also known as a tax holiday, it is the temporary elimination or reduction of tax. An abatement may occur after a natural disaster such as a devastating earthquake, flood, or hurricane.

Property tax abatementThere is an elimination or reduction in property tax that owners pay. In this case on new construction, major improvements, or rehabilitation.

Governments sometimes introduce it to encourage economic development. Some cities introduce property tax abatement to homeowners. Property taxes represent a significant expense to people who own their own homes.

In the rich economies, they typically represent between 1% and 3% of the property’s value each year.



Tax abatement boosts local economy

By doing away with property taxes, some residents who had not qualified for a mortgage will have a better chance of gaining approval. For the same reason, some will purchase larger properties. This type of temporary tax reduction/elimination also helps sell homes more quickly. Consequently, the construction industry starts to expand.

The city manager hopes that economic growth due to the tax break will more than make up for the loss of revenue in property tax. Their logic is that when the economy grows overall tax revenues rise.

Rent abatementFollowing damage to property, the tenant may qualify for a reduction or elimination of rent.  According to homeguides.sfgate.com: “To qualify for rent abatement on a leased property, the tenant can’t be at fault for the damage or destruction that occurred.”

According to Legal-Dictionary.theFreeDictionary.com, abatement is:

“A reduction, a decrease, or a diminution. The suspension or cessation, in whole or in part, of a continuing charge, such as rent.”

“In the context of taxation, an abatement is a decrease in the amount of tax imposed. Abatement of taxes relieves property of its share of the burdens of taxation after the assessment has been made and the levy of the tax has been accomplished.”



Abatement in commerce

The term may refer to a reduction in how much tenants have to pay for rent.

In a business contract, if one of the parties does not meet a deadline, they could be liable for a penalty. In this context, the term means a reduction of the penalty.

Abatement has to do with anything that reduces the amount of money a party has to pay.

Asbestos AbatementBusinessDictionary.com has the following definition of asbestos abatement: “Procedures to control fiber release from asbestos containing material in a building by encapsulation, encasement, or removal.”

Abatement of action

In a legal proceeding, abatement is a suspension, the aim being to save time and expense. This may occur if the plaintiffs cannot maintain the suit in its original form. The plaintiff is the person bringing the action against another in court. If the plaintiff still cannot maintain the suit, the judge will terminate the action.

Legal-Dictionary.theFreeDitionary.com writes:

“Not every possible reason for dissatisfaction with another person can be heard by a court. When the old Common Law form of action governed the procedure followed by courts (as opposed to state and federal rules of procedure, which now do), only legal wrongs that fit exactly into one of the allowed categories could be pleaded in court.”

“If the defendant believed that the plaintiff’s complaint did not fit one of these forms, the defendant could respond with a plea in abatement. A plea in abatement was called a dilatory plea because it delayed the time when the court would reach the merits of the plaintiff’s claim, if ever.”

Penalty AbatementA penalty abatement is a reprieve from or a reduction in a penalty. We commonly use this term when talking about a tax. We also use it for debts or other financial penalties businesses, or people face. It means either eliminating or reducing the punishment.

Asbestos Abatement

The term asbestos abatement refers to procedures to control asbestos. It also refers to the elimination or reduction of fiber release from materials that contain asbestos. The asbestos may exist in a building by encasement, encapsulation, repair, enclosure, operations and maintenance programs, or removal.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word abatement in the English language emerged in the British Isles in the middle of the 14th century. When it first appeared, it meant ‘act or state of being decreased or mitigated.’ It came from Old French Abatement, meaning ‘reduction, overthrowing.’

The Old French verb Abatre meant ‘reduce, strike down.’ In the 1520s, the noun assumed the legal sense of ‘destruction or removal of a nuisance, etc.’

Noise AbatementAccording to the OECD glossary of statistical terms: “Noise abatement is an activity to reduce the emission of noise or vibrations from a given source, or to protect persons and built—up structures from exposure to noise and vibrations.”

Governments commonly use the term today in agriculture, which is a major and growing source of pollution.

Video – Low-flying airplanes

Low-flying airplanes emit noise. If we can’t control it, it can undermine the locals’ quality of life. Noise abatement procedures are those that try to control noise pollution. Larry Enlow, a FAA Aviation Safety Inspector, talks about the central Florida area, which he calls the “Flight training capital of the world.”