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b. Destruction of premises: Similarly, in many states the tenant’s duty to pay rent is dependent upon the continued existence of buildings on the property, so that fire or flood will relieve him. This result is often produced by statute, but sometimes by case law. See infra, p. 172.

C. Leaseholds distinguished from other interests: One characteristic of the leasehold is that the tenant, for the term of his lease, is entitled to exclusive possession. This distinguishes the leasehold from several other types of property interests.

1. Hotel guest: For instance, a guest in a hotel is usually held not to have a leasehold interest, but rather, a license. (Licenses are discussed infra, p. 230.) The same is true of a lodger in a boarding house. Consequently, statutes applicable to landlord-tenant relations may not apply; for instance, the hotel keeper may have the right to use self-help to evict a non-paying guest even though such self-help is forbidden by statute to a landlord. See Reporter’s Note to Rest. 2d, §1.2, Item 1.

2. Parking lots, sign easements: Similarly, a spot in a parking lot is usually held to confer only a license, not a lease. And the right to put a sign upon another’s building is generally merely an easement. 1 A.L.P. 184.


     A. Statute of Frauds: The original English Statute of Frauds (1677) provided that any lease for more than three years must be in writing (or else have the effect of creating merely an estate at will, discussed infra, p. 160). Powell, Par. 222, p. 84.

1. American statutes: The need for a writing is similarly governed by statute in all American states. Most of these statutes, however, require a writing for all leases for more than one year. 1 A.L.P. 215.

2. Lease to commence in future: The Statute of Frauds in most states also has a separate contracts provision requiring a writing for any contract not to be performed within one year of the making of the contract. Since a lease can be viewed as a contract, some courts have applied the contract provision, and have thus required a writing even for a one-year lease (or shorter) where, because of the gap between the making of the lease and its effective date, the end of the lease would be more than one year from its making.

a. Majority view: But most courts hold that the contract section does not apply; thus a one-year lease does not have to be in writing, even if it is to begin in the future. This is the position taken by Rest. 2d, §2.1, Comment f.

3. Option to renew: Where a lease provides for an initial fixed period, plus an option to renew by one or both parties, the courts are split as to how the Statute of Frauds applies.

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