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Property I
University of Tennessee School of Law
Leatherman, Don A.

Property Leatherman Spring 2017

CH 6- Leasehold Estates

I. Landlord and tenant issues

A. Types of leases – term of years, periodic tenancy, tenancy at will, and tenancy by


Tennessee is a month to month tenancy if holdover

Term of years: is an estate that has a fixed beginning and fixed end (either specified or determinable by formula).
Despite the name, a term of years may last longer or shorter than a year (i.e., it may be just an hour, day, week, or month) and it may be subject to earlier termination (e.g., for the tenant’s failure to pay rent or perform other covenants).
A term of years could be for thousands of years, although some states limit the number of years for a lease term.
Because a term of years terminates, no notice of termination is necessary to end the estate.
At common law, a party wishing to terminate a month to month periodic lease had to give at least one month’s notice, to terminate on the last day of the term. The facts indicate that the periodic term between L and T starts on the first of the month and implicitly ends on the last day of the month. To terminate properly, L must give at least one month’s notice to terminate on the last day of the month. L gave T more than a month’s notice, but the notice was not to terminate on the last day of the term.

Periodic tenancy: is lease for a fixed period that continues for succeeding periods until the landlord or tenant gives notice of termination (e.g., to A from month to month).
The terms required for termination may be technical and differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Term of years then allow to stay for extended period… L’s express offer to T that T may remain in possession so long as T pays the rent, and T’s implicit acceptance of the offer by staying in possession and paying rent, constitutes an express agreement between the parties which gives rise to an inference that the parties intended a periodic tenancy.
If rent reserved on annual basis, paid monthly, new term is year to year.
For example, under common law, a half-year’s notice was necessary to terminate a year-to-year lease (to assure that a farmer tenant could harvest a planted crop), and for periods less than a year, the notice of termination must equal the length of the term (but not more than six months).

Further, the termination must be effective on the final day of the term, not the middle of the term.

State statutes have modified those rules. For example, some statutes allow a month-to-month lease to be terminated on the expiration of 30 days notice.

Tenancy at will: has no fixed duration and lasts as long as both the landlord and tenant desire.

with the person directly or as a third party beneficiary.

A third-party beneficiary is a person who may have the right to sue on a contract, despite not having been a party to the contract. This right arises in many jurisdictions when the third party is the intended beneficiary of the contract (e.g., intended by the parties as a beneficiary where one party has a financial obligation to the beneficiary), not just an incidental beneficiary.

A landlord is a third party beneficiary of the agreement between a tenant and subtenant if the subtenant expressly assumes one or more of the obligations which the tenant owes to the landlord.

It vests when the third party relies on or assents to the relationship, and gives the third party the right to sue on the contract to secure the intended benefit.

A person is in privity of estate with a second person for a leased property if (i) the second person has an interest in the leased property and (ii) on the natural termination of that interest, the first person would enjoy a right to possess the property.