Topic 8.6: Leasehold (Nonfreehold) Estates

A nonfreehold estate is also called a leasehold estate. The holder of a nonfreehold estate is called a tenant or lessee. Legal title is not conveyed in a nonfreehold estate. The property owner is called the landlord or lessor. The landlord owns a reversionary right to regain possession of the property at the end of the lease.

There are several categories of leasehold estates:

  • A tenancy for years has a definite date for starting and ending. The agreement may be unwritten in tenancies for less than one year, but must be written if the period is for one year or more.
  • A tenancy at will has a starting date but not a specific end date. A tenancy at will can be oral or written. The parties must give notice to terminate the tenancy: 7 days for week-to-week payment, and 15 days for monthly rent payments.
  • A tenancy at sufferance is a holdover tenant, usually at the end of a lease. Neither party is required to give notice to terminate the tenancy.