Select Page

Property I
University of Tennessee School of Law
Hess, Amy Morris

Property Law Outline
Spring 2006
Professor Hess

Chapter 6: Landlord-Tenant Law and Leaseholds
1) Generally:
a) Separate ownership of land from possession of land
b) Landlord owns the property in most cases. Has right to buy and sell property and fixtures on it.
c) Tenant has exclusive right to possession of the property. Has exclusive right to the physical use of the premises.
i) Standard Default Rule, if no other provision is stated in the lease, is that the TENANT has the exclusive use of the rental premises for the stated period, b/c leases are private law (law b/w the parties).
ii) Property Law is a rule of default rules, thus whatever is written to protect/represent the client is permissible, unless it is contrary to public policy.
d) Traditionally, a lease conveys an interest in property (i.e. Conveyance). This transfers an interest in property.
i) Lease is also a bilateral K agreement b/w 2 parties.
ii) Conveyances are traditional subjects of Property Law; Contracts are usually subject to Contract Law, thus showing difference in the bodies of law.
2) Four Types of Landlord-Tenant Relationships:
a) Tenancy for term of years (fixed term) à(This is NOT a tenancy from period to period) à Used if tenancy has a fixed date of termination.
b) Tenancy from Period to Period à (Periodic Tenancy) Month to Month; Quarter to Quarter, etc.
i) Tenancy from period to period is used in context of when rental payments are due. Described by when rent is due and has no fixed date.
ii) Termination of a period-to-period lease occurs usually by notice one period preceding desired termination date
iii) Example of a period-to-period tenancy:
(1) For valuable considerable, Clarence Client agrees to lease from Leonard Landlord the property known as “Greenacre” (address) beginning on March 1, 2006 and continuing month-to-month thereafter, with rental payments due monthly on the 1st day of each calendar month of $300. Either party may terminate this lease upon giving the other 1 calendar month written notice. (Period-to-Period Tenancy)
iv) If a court can interpret a tenancy at will into a period-to-period or fixed term period, they will.
c) Tenancy at Will
i) This tenancy lasts only so long as the landlord and tenant desire.
ii) Both parties are equally capable of terminating the lease at anytime. The lease can provide for a period of notice prior to termination of the lease.

d) Tenancy at Sufferance (Not really a tenancy at all)à This is actually describing a trespasser with a fa

o possession and actual right of possession (i.e. Landlord must get rid of holdover tenant).(Majority Rule)
vi) Remedies for Landlords dealing with Holdover Tenants
(1) Summary Disposition Proceedings are an expedient means to evict a holdover tenant when the previous tenant’s lease has expires.
(a) This gives the new tenant the right of possession to the leased premises and a means to evict the holdover tenant.
(b) He can bring a subsequent action for damages against the holdover tenant for the time in which the new tenant was dispossessed.
(2) If the new tenant cannot get the prior tenant out of the premises that they have leased, the landlord can sue the new tenant for back rent on a rental property that they do not yet live in (Unfair)
(3) If there is no other tenant to occupy the premises after the holdover tenant’s lease runs out, then the landlord may sue the holdover to evict him from the premises.
3) Leases
a) Generally:
A lease is both a conveyance and a bilateral agreement Contract.