Landlord and Tenant, in the law of real property, the relationship between two parties created by a lease. A lease is a contract under which one party, called the landlord or lessor, who has superior title to the property, grants possession and use of the property for a limited term to the other party, who is called the tenant or lessee. The landlord need not be the actual owner of the property, but may be a lessee granting a sub-lease to another tenant and keeping the right to reassume possession of the property either at the end of a specified period or sooner if the subtenant breaches a condition of the lease, such as by failure to pay rent.
The relationship between landlord and tenant created by the lease agreement had its origin in the feudal system of land tenure, under which all freehold lands, including fees (that is, inherited estates) were held by a superior lord. All landholdings formed a chain of vassalships, with ownership descending from the monarch through an overlord to a vassal. This practice, known as subinfeudations, was abolished in England by the Statute Quia Emptores (1290). The modern landlord-tenant relationship developed from statutes and laws, judicial decisions, and contractual arrangements. See also Feudalism.
III LEASE RELATIONSHIPS
The relationship of landlord and tenant endures for the term of possession granted by the lease agreement; it may be for a fixed period of time or at the pleasure of the parties. When the tenant remains in possession of the property beyond the date fixed by the lease, or after the landlord’s notice to quit the property, the relationship may continue at the landlord’s option (See also Eviction).
The lease agreement involves certain obligations by both parties. The lease generally provides protection for the tenant from disturbance by the landlord or other tenants. The landlord usually pays any taxes, assessments, and interest on mortgages on the property. For their part, tenants must use the premises only as specified in the lease; exercise reasonable care of the owner’s property, and pay rent as agreed in the contract. The lease specifies the amount of money to be paid.
Most countries have statutes which give additional protection to a tenant. In the United Kingdom, most tenants have assured tenancies, which protect them from eviction or termination of the lease without an order of the court. Such an order may only be granted if the tenant has broken a term of the lease. A tribunal will set a fair rent if a tenant claims that a proposed increase is too great. An exception is a shorthold tenancy, where both the landlord and the tenant agree at the start that the lease is for a limited period only.