LEASE. A lease, or letting, is some times called a Demise (demissiq). It is sometimes said that Lease is from the Latin locatio ;' but as the ymb which corresponds to the noun Lease is Let, it seems that the word Lease Is the noun which corresponds to the ver') Let. The verb Let is akin to the Preach kisser' and the German 'lessen.' He who lets land is called the Lessor, and he to whom land is let is called the Lessee.
There are various legal definitions of a lease. A lease has been defined to be a conveyance of lands or tenements from lessor to lessee for life, for years, or at will, generally in consideration of a rent or other annual recompense to be paid by the lessee to the lessor. The reservation of a rent is not essential in a lease ; but pay ment of rent is now the chief condition on which lands are let.
To constitute a lease, it is necessary that the lands must be let for a less time than the period for which the lessor has an interest in the lands demised. If a man parts with all his interest in the lands or tenements, the conveyance is an assignment LABBIGNMENT1 and not a lease. The relation that is created by a lease between the lessor and lessee is usually expressed by the phrase landlord and tenant. The lessor has a reversion in the lands which are demised, that is, after the expiration of the lease the laud reverts to him. The lessor, by virtue of this reversion, seignory, or lord's title, has the power of distraining on the land for the rent which is agreed on, and for the services which may be due by the terms of the lease ; and fealty is always due to the lessor. 'FEALTY.) The ordinary lease is that for a term of years, by which lease a rent, generally payable in money, at stated times, is reserved to the lessor. These stated times are usually quarterly periods.
The words used in a lease for the pur pose of conveying that interest in the lands which constitutes a term of years are demise, grant. and to farm let.' These words are derived from the law Latin expressions demisi, concessi et ad firmam tradidi.' The word firma,' farm, is said to signify originally pro visions,' and 'to farm let' does not pro perly signify to let to be farmed, in the modern sense of the term, but tc let on the condition of a certain rent being paid in farm, that is, in provisions. If this ex
planation is correct, a farmer' is one who had the use of lands on condition of paying a farm' or rent in provisions, such as corn and beasts. But the word farm' now signifies the lands which a man hires to cultivate upon the payment of a rent.
The interest which a man acquires in land by a lease for years is a term of years, or an estate for years. [ESTATE.] The word lease is used in common lan guage also to the estate or interest which the lessee acquires by the lease ; but the word lease signifies properly the contract or conveyance by which the lessee acquires the interest in the lands.
The words demise,' &c. above men tioned, are the proper words to constitute a lease fbr years : but any words are suf ficient, which clearly show " the intent of the parties that the one shall divest him self of the possession (of the land), and the other come into it for a determinate time." When the written contract is not intended to be a lease, but an agreement for a future lease, it is often difficult to determine whether the contract is not so expressed as to make it a lease.
At common law, it was necessary for the lessor to enter on the lands in order to make the lease complete, and no writ ing was necessary. But the Statute of Frauds (29 Ch. II. c. 3, § 1) enacted, that all leases, estates, interests, of freehold or terms of years, created by livery and seisin [FEoENENT] only, or by parol, and not put in writing and signed by the par ties so making the same or their agents thereunto, lawfully authorized by writing, shall have the force and effect of leases or estates at will only, except leases not ex ceeding the term of three years from the making thereof, upon which the rent re served to the landlord during such term shall amount to two-thirds at the least of the full and improved value of the thing demised. A deed is not necessary to con stitute the writing a lease, unless the tene ment is an incorporeal hereditament or a reversion or remainder. But leases are generally made by deed, because cove nants can be made only by deed. [DEED.] The word ' lands,' which refers to the subject matter of a lease, comprehends what is upon the lands, as houses and other buildings, though houses and build ings are generally mentioned specifically in the lease.