There is no legal limitation upon the term of a lease.1 It may be for one day, or it may be for 999 years. It is customary in New York State, however, to make long term leases run for a period of twenty-one years, with provision for one or more renewals at similar terms. The reason for this is that under the tax law of the State, the rent payable under leases for more than twenty-one years may be taxed as personal property to the one entitled to receive it, and this tax is in addition to the ordinary tax on the land. The object of this provision of the tax laws is to prevent the tying up of land on long leases.
Regardless of the length of the term, the right of the tenant to use the leased premises is personal property, his holding being a leasehold. The right of an owner to receive the rent and to resume possession at the end of the lease is real property.2