Almost every house of the better class (not held under a lease) is let from year to year; that is, the tenancy cannot terminate except by special consent until the end of six months' notice, expiring at the time of the year when the tenancy begins.
Verbal agreements for tenancies are binding for any period not exceeding three years, if there is ample proof of what was agreed. If both parties are quite content with the terms, such an agreement is effectual, but written agreements are desirable, because no mistake through forgetfulness or misunderstanding is then possible. The tenant agrees to pay the rent in four equal instalments each year, on the quarter days.
A tenancy specified beforehand to extend over three years can only be treated by lease. Every one taking a house on lease should insist on being secured by the landlord from all arrears that may be due on account of rent, rates, and taxes. If a landlord undertakes when letting a house to do certain specified repairs, the tenant should see that they are effected before he takes possession. Rent is payable at sunrise of the day appointed for payment, but the tenant is entitled to the whole day until sunset wherein to pay.
In matters of rent night time does not count, so that rent is not legally in arrears until sunrise of the day after it becomes payable.
Sale on credit of fixtures or anything of that nature by an outgoing tenant to an incoming tenant is a somewhat risky procedure. The sale should always be for cash down before the end of the outgoing term, because if such property remains without being paid for it cannot be sued upon, as it does not then belong to the incoming tenant but to the landlord.
The landlord's fixtures usually consist of cupboards, grates, and Venetian blinds, while the tenant usually provides spring blinds, curtain poles and rods, shelves, hanging lamps, and sometimes gas-fittings. Everything fixed by a tenant that can be moved without creating dilapidation may be removed if not incorporated with the premises. As a rule, everything that can be disengaged by drawing nails and screws, actually provided at the tenant's own expense, may be taken; but if the fixing be by mortar or cement, the article so fixed must pass to the landlord.
Everything built or erected by the tenant as additions to the premises and incorporated therewith must be suffered to remain ; but if any structure (as a conservatory) be built upon timber course, resting upon the earth without penetrating it, or upon a dwarf foundation, the superstructure may be taken away.
An occupier is not legally entitled to remove any trees, shrubs, plants, or roots, whether planted by himself or not. Ripe fruit and vegetables may be taken, but unripe fruit and immature vegetables must be left.
Whether there be any stipulation or not, the tenant is liable for any dilapidation or damage that arises from his wilful neglect; especially if he abandons the premises before the end of his term, and if the grates are consequently destroyed by rust, or the premises injured by trespassers.