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Flashcards in Landlord-Tenant Deck (44):

How do you know when a lease is for a Tenancy for Years?

The lease is for a fixed period of time (as short as 3 days, as long as 90 years, e.g.)


If a lease says: "this lease terminates in 5 days." What kind of tenancy is this?

A Tenancy for Years.


What are the notice requirements to terminate a Tenancy for Years?

There are none - the termination date is known at the time the parties signed the lease.


What is a Periodic Tenancy?

Lease that continues for successive intervals (month-to-month, week-to-week, year-to-year).


What are the three ways to create a Periodic Tenancy by implication?

1. lease is silent as to termination, but sets out rent to be paid at set intervals.

2. an oral term of years that violates the statute of frauds is measured by the way rent is tendered.

3. in a residential holdover lease, where the tenant has stayed past an expired lease - periodic tenancy measured by how rent is now tendered.
(NY: holdover tenant has an implied month-to-month unless otherwise agreed)


How is a periodic tenancy terminated?

Notice, usually written, given at least equal to the length of the interval unless otherwise agreed. Year-to-year tenancies require 6 months notice.

A periodic tenancy must end at the conclusion of a natural interval. (Interval begins Jan. 1, notice given Nov. 15, tenant has until Dec. 31 to move out).


What is a Tenancy at Will?

A tenancy for no fixed duration, but courts will read the lease as a periodic tenancy based on how rent is tendered (unless tenancy at will is expressly agreed to)


How does a NY landlord terminate a tenancy at will?

Must give tenant at least 30 days notice.


When is a Tenancy at Sufferance created?

When tenant has wrongfully heldover past the expiration of the lease (until landlord evicts or holds T to a periodic tenancy or new lease).


A lease that continues for successive intervals (month-to-month, week-to-week, year-to-year) is called a ...?

Periodic Tenancy


When tenant has wrongfully heldover past the expiration of the lease (until landlord evicts or holds T to a periodic tenancy or new lease) there is a ...?

Tenancy at Sufferance


What are a tenant's liabilities in tort to third parties?

1. tenant is responsible for keeping the leased premises in good repair.

2. tenant is liable for any injuries sustained by guests on the leased premises (even if landlord promised to make repairs).


Landlord promised tenant he was going to fix the weak floor board in tenant's living room. It's been 2 weeks and landlord has done nothing. Tenant invited Guest, who twisted her ankle when she stepped on the floorboard. Who is liable for Guest's injuries?

Tenant, even though landlord promised to make the repairs.


If the lease is silent, what are the tenant's duties to repair?

Tenant must maintain the premises and make ordinary repairs.

Tenant must not commit waste (voluntary, permissive, or ameliorative).


If a tenant removes a fixture in the leased premises he has committed ... ?

Voluntary waste (impermissible!)


Define a fixture.

A moveable chattel whose annexation to the property objectively shows an intent for it to permanently improve the property (i.e. removal would cause substantial harm to the property).


Heating systems, custom storm windows, furnaces, and lighting installations are examples of ... ?



T installed customized crystal lights into the ceiling of the property. When the lease ended, she decided to take the lights with her. Can the landlord stop her?

Yes - if it would cause substantial damage to the property to remove the lights. Even though she installed the fixture, fixtures pass with ownership of the land, and tenants may NOT remove them.


What happens at common law if a tornado destroys the property during T's tenancy?

T is responsible for any loss to the property, including loss by no fault of the tenant.


A tsunami destroys the condo T had leased for her year abroad. Who is responsible for damages in most states?

Landlord. Tenant may terminate the lease.


Hurricane Sandy tore off the front wall of an apartment building in Manhattan. Who is responsible if tenant did not expressly agree to restore the premises in the event of destruction?

Because destruction was not tenant's fault - tenant may quit the premises and surrender possession without any further duty to pay rent.


What can a landlord do if the tenant stops paying rent but stays in the apartment?

1. Start an eviction proceeding in court
2. Continue the relationship and sue for rent due.

Note: Landlord MUST NOT engage in self help.


If a NY T has failed to pay rent and L decides to have all of T's things thrown out onto the street and locks the doors, what result?

T is entitled to treble damages. This is flatly outlawed in most states and in NY.


What are a landlord's options when tenant vacates and stops paying rent before the lease expires?

1. Accept tenant's implicit offer to surrender.
(If unexpired term is > 1 year, L must send T a signed letter to meet the SF)

2. Ignore the abandonment and hold T responsible for unpaid rent (shockingly available in NY).

3. Re-let the premises and hold T liable for any deficiency (mitigation).


Does the landlord have a duty to deliver possession?

English rule (NY + majority): L must put T in legal and physical possession of the premises.

American rule (minority): L need only give T legal possession, physical possession not required.


What implied warranties does the landlord make to tenant?

Implied covenant of quiet enjoyment (commercial and residential)

Implied warranty of habitability (only residential)


Define the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment.

T has the right to quiet use and enjoyment of the premises without interference from L.


What action by the landlord constitutes breach of the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment?

1. actual wrongful eviction
2. constructive eviction


What constitutes constructive eviction?

1. Substantial interference (due to L's actions or failures)
2. T notified L of the problem and L failed to respond meaningfully.
3. T must vacate within a reasonable time if L fails to remediate.


Is the landlord liable for acts of other tenants?

Generally no, but two exceptions:
1. L must not permit a nuisance on site
2. L must control all common areas


Can a person waive the implied warranty of habitability?

No - remember, though, that it only applies to residential leases.


What standard must be met under the implied warranty of habitability?

Premises are fit for basic human dwelling. Can be supplied by local housing code or case law.

Look out for:
No heat in winter
No running water
No plumbing


What are T's remedies when L has breached the implied warranty of habitability?

Move, Repair, Reduce, Remain

1. Move out and end the lease, if T wants
2. Repair and deduct the cost from future rent
3. Reduce rent or withhold in escrow until court determines the fair value considering the bad conditions.
4. Remain in possession and continue to pay rent - but affirmatively seek $ damages.


If T reports L for housing code violations, what must L refrain from doing?

Can't retaliate:
no raising rent
no ending the lease
no harassing T


What is T's right to assign or sublet in the absence of a lease provision?

T can freely assign or sublet in the absence of a lease provision prohibiting it.

In NY: default is that T may not assign without L's consent + L can unreasonably withhold consent to assign. T must seek release from the lease in that case.


Can L limit T's right to assign or sublet in the lease?

Yes - can require L approval before assigning or sub-letting.


If L consent to T's sublet once, must he consent to future sub-lets?

Yes, unless the right to refuse subsequent transfers is expressly reserved.


In NY, can L unreasonably withhold consent to assignment?

Yes - and T's only remedy is to seek release from the lease all together.


In NY, if the building has 4+ units, what are T's rights re: subletting?

T has the right to sublease subject to L's consent. But, L may not unreasonably withhold consent. If L does this, it's considered consent.


What is the legal relationship between L and T1 in an assignment to T2?

L & T1 remain in privity of contract. T1 is secondarily liable and can be forced to pay if T2 defaults.

This privity will be broken only if T2 "assumes" all obligations in the original lease.


What is the legal relationship between L and T2 in an assignment to T2?

L & T2 are in privity of estate.
- They are liable to each other for all covenants in the original lease that run with the land (i.e. promise to pay rent, make repairs, etc.)
- They are not in privity of contract unless T2 "assumes all promises" in the original lease.


What is the relationship between L and a sub-lessee?

They are neither in privity of contract or estate - they share no nexus.
The relationship between L and T1 is fully intact.
T1 and T2 are liable to each other.


What is the common law rule for L's tort liability to T?

"Caveat Lessee" = L was under no duty to make the premises safe.


What are the 5 important exceptions to caveat lessee?

1. Common areas - L must maintain

2. Latent defects rule - L must warn T of hidden defects L knows/should know about

3. Assumption of repairs - L who voluntarily makes repairs must complete them with reasonable care.

4. Public Use Rule - if L leases public space and should know by the nature of the defect and length of the lease that T won't repair - will be liable for that defective condition.

5. Short-term Lease of Furnished Dwelling - L is liable for any defects on site.