2 a contract granting use or occupation of property during a specified time for a specified payment
3 the period of time during which a contract conveying property to a person is in effect [syn: term of a contract]
1 let for money; "We rented our apartment to friends while we were abroad" [syn: rent]
3 grant use or occupation of under a term of contract; "I am leasing my country estate to some foreigners" [syn: let, rent]
4 engage for service under a term of contract; "We took an apartment on a quiet street"; "Let's rent a car"; "Shall we take a guide in Rome?" [syn: rent, hire, charter, engage, take]
- Rhymes: -iːs
A lease is a legal document, but can be an oral arrangement, which confers a right on one person (called a tenant or lessee) to possess property belonging to another person (called a landlord or lessor) to the exclusion of the owner landlord. The relationship between the tenant and the landlord is called a tenancy, and can be for a fixed or an indefinite period of time (called the term of the lease). The consideration for the lease is called rent or the rental.
Under normal circumstances, owners of property are at liberty to do what they want with their property, including dealing with it or handing over possession of the property to a tenant for a limited period of time. However, if an owner has surrendered possession to another (ie the tenant) then any interference with the quiet enjoyment of the property by the tenant in lawful possession is itself unlawful.
Similar principles apply to real property as well as to personal property, though the terminology would be different. Similar principles apply to sub-leasing, that is the leasing by a tenant in possession to a sub-tenant. The right to sub-lease can be expressly prohibited by the main lease.
Formality of a leaseThe formal requirements for a lease are determined by the law and custom of the jurisdiction in which real property is located. In the case of personal property, it is determined by the law and custom of the jurisdiction in which the rental agreement is made.
A tenancy for years greater than 1 year must be in writing in order to satisfy the Statute of Frauds.
Term of a leaseThe term of the lease may be fixed, periodic or of indefinite duration.
If it is for a specified period of time, the term ends automatically when the period expires, and no notice needs to be given, in the absence of legal requirements.
The term's duration may be conditional, in which case it last until some specified event occurs, such as the death of a specified individual.
A periodic tenancy is one which is renewed automatically, usually on a monthly or weekly basis.
A tenancy at will last only as long as the parties wish it to, and be terminated without penalty by either party.
It is common for a lease to be extended on a "holding over" basis, which normally converts the tenancy to a periodic tenancy on a month by month basis.
RentRent is a requirement of leases in common law jurisdiction, but not in civil law jurisdiction. There is no requirement for the rent to be a commercial amount. "Pepper corn" rent or rent of some nominal amount is adequate for this requirement.
HistoryOver the centuries, leases have served many purposes and the nature of legal regulation has varied according to those purposes and the social and economic conditions of the times. Leases, for example, were mainly used for agricultural purposes until the late 18th century and early 19th century when the growth of cities in industrialised countries had made leases an important form of landholding in urban areas.
The modern law of landlord and tenant in common law jurisdictions retains the influence of the common law and, particularly, the laissez-faire philosophy that dominated the law of contract and property law in the 19th century. With the growth of consumerism, consumer protection legislation recognised that common law principles, which assume equal bargaining power between the contracting parties, create hardships when that assumption is inaccurate. Consequently reformers have emphasised the need to assess residential tenancy laws in terms of protection they provide to tenants. Legislation to protect tenants is now common.
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