Ruggles, J. - Payment of rent by the defendant Smith to the plaintiff was sufficient prima facie to show that Shepherd's occupancy of the demised premises was under Smith, the defendant; and the case stands, therefore, as if Smith had himself been the actual occupant under the lease from Lawrence.
But the defendant insists that this action cannot be maintained in Moffatt's name, because he was not the assignee of the reversion as well as of the rent. It has been settled in England and here, that the assignee of the rent alone, without the reversion, may recover in his own name in an action of debt. Allen v. Bryan, 5 Barn. & Cres. 512; Ards v. Watkin, Cro. Eliz. 637, 651; Demarest v. Wil-lard, 8 Cowen, 206; Willard v. Tillman, 2 Hill, 277. This was on the ground, formerly, that after attornment by the tenant, the privity of contract was transferred to the assignee of the rent. Robbins v Cox, 1 Levinz, 22; 5 Barn. & Cres. 512, n. Attornment by the ten. ant is now unnecessary. 1 R. S. 739, § 146.1 The consent of the lessee was, however, in this case, proved by the payment of rent to the lessor's assignee. The lease from Lawrence to Smith, together with the lessor's assignment to the plaintiff, and the payment of rent to the plaintiff, established the relation of landlord and tenant between the plaintiff and the defendant, and brought the case within the terms of the statute which gives the action for use and occupation to any landlord where the demise is not by deed.3 The plaintiff, by the lessor's assignment became the landlord, under whom the defendant held the demised premises, and the defendant could not dispute his title. The lease of the 18th of April, 1845, and the assignment thereof, were properly admitted for the purpose of showing this relation between the parties; and the previous lease of the nth of January was also properly received in evidence, to show the duration of the term, in relation to which the latter lease referred to the former.
The offer by the defendant to prove the premises out of repair, was rightly rejected. There was no agreement or obligation on the part of the lessor to repair the premises, and the plaintiff was therefore entitled to recover the amount of rent agreed to be paid. * * *
1 § 194 , N. Y. R. P. L. - Ed. 2 § 190, N. Y. R. P. P. - ED. 3 § 193, N. Y. R. P. L. - Ed.
60 Illinois, 114.- 1871.
Mr. Justice Walker delivered the opinion of the court. - It appears, from an examination of the authorities, that at the ancient common law a lease was not assignable so as to invest the assignee with the legal title to the rent. Such instruments were, in that respect, on a footing with other agreements and choses in action. But the 32 Hen. 8, chapter 34, § 1, declared that the assignee of the reversion should become invested with the rents. But notwithstanding this enactment, the courts held that the assignee of the reversion could not sue for and recover the rent unless the tenant should attorn, when the holder of the reversion might recover subsequently accruing rent in an action of debt. Marie v. Fake, 3 Salk. 118; Rabbins v. Cox, 1 Levinz, 22; Ards v. Walkins, 2 Croke's Eliz. 637; Knowles' Case, 1 Dyer, 5 D.; 5 Barn. & Cress. 512, and the note.
In Willims v. Hayward, 1 Ellis & Ellis, 1040, after reviewing the old decisions on this question, it was, in substance, held that, under the 32 Hen. 8, an assignee of the rent, without the reversion, could recover when there was an attornment, and that such an assignee could, under the 4 of Anne, recover without an attornment.
The courts seem to have proceeded upon the ground that there could be no privity of contract unless the tenant should attorn to the assignee of the reversion; that, whilst the assignment of the reversion created a privity of estate between the assignee and the tenant, privity of contract could only arise by an agreement between them. Some confusion seems to have got into the books from calling the purchaser of the reversion an assignee of the lease, by its passing by the conveyance as appurtenant to the estate. But where the tenant attorned to the assignee of the reversion the assignment became complete, and then there existed both privity of estate and of contract between the assignee and the tenant, and by reason of the privity of contract the assignee might sue in debt, and recover subsequently accruing, but not rent in arrear at the time he acquired the reversion.
To give the assignee of the reversion a more complete remedy, the 4 and 5 Anne, chapter 16, section 9, was adopted, dispensing with the necessity of an attornment which the courts had held to be necessary under the 32 Hen. 8, to create a privity of contract. But this latter act has never been in force in this State, and hence the decisions of the British courts, made under it, are not applicable. In many States of the Union this latter act has been adopted, and the decisions of their courts conform, of course, to its provisions.
But we having adopted the common law of England, so far as the same is applicable and of a general nature, and all statutes or acts of the British parliament made in aid of, and to supply defects of the common law, prior to the fourth year of James the First, except certain enumerated statutes, and which are of a general nature and not local to that kingdom, they are declared to be the rule of decision, and shall be considered of full force until repealed by legislative authority. Gross' Comp. 1869, 416. It then follows that the 32 Hen. 8, chapter 34, § 1, is in force in this State, as it is applicable to our condition, and is unrepealed. And we must hold, that the construction given to that act by the British courts was intended also to be adopted.
The facts in this case show such a privity of contract as brings it fully within the rule announced in the above cases. Appellee paid to appellant several instalments of rent falling due under the lease after it was assigned to him. By paying the rent, the lessee fully recognized the appellant as his landlord, and created the necessary privity of contract to maintain the action.