The landlord is under no duty to furnish the premises fit for any particular purpose; and is under no duty in respect to the care of the premises except as he may have particularly undertaken their care; but is responsible for harm from hidden defects of whose existence he knows or should know.
75. Boreel v. Lawton, 00 N. Y. 293.
A tenant is presumed to have inspected the premises before he rents them, and therefore cannot complain of their condition in respect to the purposes for which he intends to use them. The landlord does not impliedly warrant them fit for any particular purpose.76 Of course he may especially do so. So the landlord is under no duty to give the premises any special care.
Where the landlord retains a portion of the premises as he does where he remains in control of the halls, roofs, basements, etc., of apartment houses, he must keep these in such a condition that the rented portions are habitable.77
A landlord is liable for damages caused by hidden defects on account of which the tenant is injured, provided the landlord knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known, of their existence. And he is liable, as we said, to use care in the keeping of such portions of the premises as he may have kept under his control, as halls, etc., which is the case in flat buildings, office buildings and the like.
The tenant is bound to return the premises in the same condition in which he received them, reasonable wear and tear and causes over which he had no control excepted.
The tenant must use a fair degree of care to keep up the condition of the premises. He need not pay for depreciation caused by reasonable "wear and tear." So, for destruction of, or injury to, the premises by the elements he is not responsible unless that is his special contract.
76. Sunasack v. Morey, 196 111. 569.
77. Fairmourtt Lodge v. Tilton, 122 111. Ap. 637.
For tenancies of a fixed period no notice is required. For tenancies from year to year, sixty days' notice is usually necessary before the end of the year. For tenancies from month to month thirty days' notice is necessary. Statutory notices are also provided for termination for non-payment of rent or other defaults.
Where a lease is for a certain period as one year, no notice is necessary by either side for it terminates by its own terms. In a tenancy that runs by periods, the tenancy continues from period to period unless it terminates by sufficient notice. In tenancies from year to year at old common law, a six months' notice had to be given by tenant or landlord, but in some states this has been changed to a shorter period such as sixty days.
Tenancies from month to month are terminable by either party, landlord or tenant, on thirty days' notice.
Periodical tenancies cannot (except upon mutual agreement) be terminated by the notices mentioned except at the end of a period. Thus the thirty days' notice to terminate the tenancy must be thirty days before the day on which the month ends.
Besides these notices there are statutory notices for the purpose of ending any tenancy, periodic or for a certain term, at any time when the rent is unpaid when due, or any covenant unperformed by the tenant; such as five day notices. These statutory notices are for use where the tenant has been guilty of some breach, for which the landlord desires to terminate the tenancy. Such breaches may of course be waived by the landlord and when once waived, cannot afterwards be asserted. Thus, the failure to pay rent when due is a nominal breach; the landlord by afterwards receiving rent when tendered would thereby waive the breach.
The common law rule was that destruction of the premises by fire or other casualty did not abate the rent or terminate the tenancy if there was anything left to which the tenancy might attach.
Suppose that premises are destroyed by fire - must the tenant continue to pay rent? Is the tenancy thereby destroyed? The common law rule still in force in most jurisdictions is that in the absence of any provision in the lease, the tenancy does not terminate, and the rent does not diminish or abate if there is anything left to which the tenancy may attach, for instance if the tenancy is of the ground and the buildings on it,78 but if merely of the building or a portion thereof, its entire destruction will relieve him.79
78. McMillan v. Solomon, 42 Ala. 356.
79. Wait v. O'Neil, 76 Fed. 408, 34 L. R. A. 550.