As a tenant for life has merely a limited interest, he cannot of course make any disposition of the lands to take effect after his decease; and, consequently, he can make no leases to endure beyond his own life, unless be be specially empowered so to do by the deed under which he holds. It is however provided by the act to facilitate leases and sales of settled estates (d), that when the instrument by which the estate is limited (e) is made after that act came in force, which was on the 1st of November, 1856 (f), and does not contain an express declaration to the contrary, every tenant for life may demise the premises or any part thereof (except the principal mansion-house and the demesnes thereof, and other lands usually occupied therewith) for any term not exceeding twenty-one years, to take effect in possession; provided that every such demise be made by deed, and the best rent that can reasonably be obtained be thereby reserved, without any fine or other benefit in the nature of a fine, which rent shall be incident to the immediate reversion; and provided that such demise be not made without impeachment of waste, and do contain a covenant for payment of the rent, and such other usual and proper covenants as the lessor shall think fit, and also a condition of re-entry on non-payment, for a period of not less than twenty-eight days, of the rent thereby reserved, and on non-observance of any of the covenants or conditions therein contained; and provided a counterpart of every deed of lease be executed by the lessee (g). But the execution of the lease by the lessor is to be deemed sufficient evidence that a counterpart of such lease has been duly executed by the lessee as required by the act (h). Leases may also be made by the authority of the Court of Chancery, on due application, whatever may be the date of the settlement, for terms not exceeding twenty-one years for an agricultural or occupation lease, forty years for a mining lease, or a lease of water, water mills, way-leaves, waterleaves, or other rights or easements, sixty years for a repairing lease (i), and ninety-nine years for a building lease, subject to the conditions prescribed by the act (k). And where the Court shall be satisfied that it is the usual custom of the district, and beneficial to the inheritance, to grant leases for longer terms, any of the above leases, except agricultural leases, may be granted for such term as the Court shall direct (l).
Leases by tenant for life.
Modern tenants for life may demise for twenty-one years.
(d) Stat. 19 & 20 Vict. c. 120, amended by stat. 21 & 22 Vict, c. 77.
(e) Stat. 19 & 20 Vict. c. 120, s. 1. (f) Sects. 44, 46. (g) Sect. 32. (h) Sect. 34.
If a tenant for life should sow the lands, and die before harvest, his executors will have a right to the emblements or crop (m). And the same right will also belong to his under-tenant; with this difference, however, that if the life estate should determine by the tenant's own act, as by the marriage of a widow holding during her widowhood, the tenant would have no right to emblements; but the under-tenant, being no party to the cesser of the estate, would still be entitled in the same manner as on the expiration of the estate by by death (n). And with respect to tenants at rack rent, it is now provided (o), that where the lease or tenancy of any farm or lands held by such a tenant shall determine by the death or cesser of the estate of any landlord entitled for his life, or for any other uncertain interest, instead of claims to emblements, the tenant shall continue to bold and occupy such farm or lands until the expiration of the then current year of his tenancy, and shall then quit upon the terms of his lease or holding, in the same manner as if such lease or tenancy were then determined by effluxion of time, or other lawful means, during the continuance of his landlord's estate; and the succeeding owner will be entitled to a fair proportion of the rent from the death or cesser of the estate of his predecessor to the time of the tenant's so quitting. And the succeeding owner and the tenant respectively will, as between themselves and as against each other, be entitled to all the benefits and advantages, and be subject to the terms, conditions and restrictions to which the preceding landlord and the tenant respectively would have been entitled and subject in case the lease or tenancy had determined in the manner before mentioned at the expiration of the current year; and no notice to quit shall be necessary from either party to determine such holding.
Enactment as to tenants at rack rent.
(i) Stat. 21 & 22 Vict. c. 77, s.2.
(k) Stat. 19 & 20 Vict. c. 120, s. 2, amended by stat. 27 & 28 Vict, c. 45.
(l) Stat 21 & 22 Vict. c. 77, s. 4..
(m) 2 Black. Com. 122; see Graves v. Wield, 5 Barn. & Adol. 105.
(n) 2 Black. Com. 123, 124.
(o) Stat. 14 & 15 Vict. c. -25, s. I.
As a consequence of the determination of the estate of a tenant for life the moment of his death, it was held in old times, that if such a tenant had let the lands reserving rent quarterly or half-yearly, and died between two rent-days, no rent was due from the undertenant to anybody from the last rent day till the time of the decease of the tenant for life. But in the reign of King George II. a remedy for a proportionate part of the rent, according to the time such tenant for life lived, was given by act of parliament to his executors or administrators (p). Formerly also, when a tenant for life had a power of leasing, and let the lands accordingly, reserving rent periodically, his executors had no right to a proportion of the rent, in the event of his decease between two quarter days; and, as rent is not due till midnight of the day on which it is made payable, if the tenant for life had died even on the quarter day, but before midnight, his executors lost the quarter's rent, which went to the person next entitled (q). But by a modern act of parliament (r), the executors and administrators of any tenant for life who had granted a lease since the 16th of June, 1834, the date of the act, might claim an apportionment of the rent from the person next entitled, when it should become due. This act, however, did not apply unless the demise were made by an instrument in writing (s). But the Apportionment Act, 1870 (t), now provides (u), that after the passing of that act, which took place on the 1st of August, 1870, all rents and other periodical payments in the nature of income (whether reserved or made payable under an instrument in writing or otherwise) shall, like interest on money lent, be considered as accruing from day to day, and shall be apportionable in respect of time accordingly.