This section is from the book "The Law Of Real Property and Other Interests In Land", by Herbert Thorn Dike Tiffany. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise on the Modern Law of Real Property and Other Interests in Land .
The tenant, unless expressly restrained, may convey his life interest, or may create a lesser estate out of it, but he obviously cannot create an estate which will extend beyond the measure of his own estate52 in the absence of a power to that effect.53 At common law, the estate was forfeited in case the tenant conveyed an estate greater than that which he had, by feoffment, with livery of seisin, or by fine or recovery, since this divested the seisin, and turned the estate of the rightful owner into a mere right of entry.54 This rule had no application to conveyances under the Statute of Uses, since these conveyed only what the grantor had,55 and it has no application at the present day; a conveyance of an estate greater than that which the grantor has passing merely that which he has, this sometimes by force of an express statutory provision.56
194 Mass. 216, 80 N. E. 219; La-berteaux v. Gale, 196 Mich. 150, 162 N. W. 968; Murdoch v. Murdoch, 97 Miss. 690, 53 So. 684; Tisdale v. Prather, 210 Mo. 402. 109 S. W. 41; Burleigh v. Clough, 52 N. H. 267, 13 Am. Rep. 23; Parker v. Travers, 74 N. J. Eq. 812, 71 Atl. 612; Terry v. Wiggins, 47 N. Y. 512; Chewning v. Mason, 158 N. C. 578, 39 L. R. A. (N. S.) 805, 74 S. E. 357; Dodson v. Ball, 60 Pa. St. 492, 100 Am. Dec. 586; Mooy v. Gallagher, 36 R. I. 405, L. R. A. 1916C 1040. Ann. Cas. 1916D 395, 90 Atl. 663; Thrall v. Spear, 63 Vt. 266, 22 Atl. 414.
51. State v. Gaughan, 124 Ark. 548, 187 S. W. 918; Ironside v. Ironside, 150 Iowa 628, 130 N. W. 414; Bradley v. Warren, 104 Me. 423, 72 Atl. 173 (semble); White v. Grand Rapids & I. R. Co., 190 Mich. 1, 155 N. W. 719; Scruggs v. Mayberry, 135 Tenn. 586, 188 S. W. 207; Rolley v. Rolley's Ex'x 109 Va. 449, 21 L. R. A. (N. S.) 64, 63 S. E. 988; Milhollen's Adm'r v. Rice, 13 W. Va. 510: Meyer v. Barnett, 60 W. Va. 467, 6 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1191, 116 Am. St. Rep. 894, 56 S. E. 206; (But see Stout v. Clifford, 70 W. Va.
178, 73 S. E. 316). In Virginia this rule has been changed by statute. 1 Minor, Real Prop. Sec. 162.
In so far as this view may be based on the analogy of cases to the effect that an executory limitation, by which it is sought to divest a fee simple, is invalid if there is a power of disposition by which such limitation may be rendered nugatory (post Sec. 167) it is to be remarked that these cases do not undertake to enlarge a life estate, but merely prevent the divesting of the estate in fee simple.
51a. McKnight v. McKnight, 120 Tenn. 431, 115 S. W. 134; Honaker v. Duff, 101 Va. 675, 683, 44 S. E. 900.
51b. See Nabors v. Woolsey. 174 Ala. 289, 56 So. 533; Hershey v. Meeker County Bank, 71 Minn. 255, 73 N. W. 769; In re Moeh-ring, 154 N. Y. 423, 48 N. E. 818.
52. 1 Cruise's Dig. tit. 3, c. 1, Sec. 32; Challis, Real Prop. 73; 4 Kent, Comm. 74; Stewart v. Clark. 13 Mete. (Mass.) 79; Jackson v. Van Hoesen, 4 Cow. (N. Y.) 325; Miles v. Miles, 32 N. H. 147, 64 Am. Dec. 362; Criswell v. Grumbling, 107 Pa. St. 408.
- Lease by life tenant. Since a tenant for life cannot, in the absence of an express power, create an estate extending beyond the measure of his own estate, it follows that if such tenant leases for a term of years, and the life estate comes to an end by reason of his death or of that of the cestui que vie, the interest of the lessee also comes to an end, and he cannot retain the possession against the reversioner or remaindermen.56a
53. Post Chapter X.
54. Litt. Sec.Sec. 415, 416; 2 Blackst. Comm. 274.
55. 1 Cruise's Dig. tit. 3, c. 1, Sec. 36; 4 Cruise's Dig. tit. 32, c. 10, Sec. 32; 4 Kent, Comm. 84; Jackson v. Mancius, 2 Wend. (N. Y.) 357.
56. See Dallas Compress Co. v. Smith, 190 Ala. 423, 67 So. 289; Howard v. Henderson, 142 Ga. 1, 82 S. E. 292; Quimby v. Dill, 40 Me. 528; Hurd v. Cushing, 7 Pick. (Mass.) 169; Jeffers v. Sydnam, 129 Mich. 440, 89 N. W. 42; Foote v. Sanders, 72 Mo. 616; Bell v. Twilight, 22 N. H. 500; Middle-ton v. Dougherty, 46 N. J. L. 350; Carpenter v. Denoon, 29 Ohio St 379; McCorry v. King's Heirs, 3 Humph. (Tenn.) 267, 39 Am. Dec. 165; 1 Stimson's Am. St. Law Sec. 1402 (B); 4 Kent, Comm. 83; 1
Sharswood & B. Lead. Cas. Real Prop. 212; 8 & 9 Vict. c. 106, Sec. 4 (Anno. 1845).
56a. Brudnell v. Roberts, 2 Wils. 143; Horsey's Lessee v. Horsey, 4 Har. (Del.) 517; Johnson v. Grantham, 104 Ga. 558, 30 S. E. 781; Hoagland v. Crum, 113 111. 365, 55 Am. Rep. 424; Prout v. Hoy Oil Co., 263 111. 54, 105 N. E. 26; Carman v. Mosler, 105 Iowa, 367, 75 N. W. 323; Avey v. Hogencamp, 172 Ky. 675, 189 S. W. 917; Page v. Wight, 14 Allen (Mass.) 182; Harrington v. Sheldon, 196 Mich. 388, 163 N. W. 64; Guthmann v. Vallery, 51 Neb. 824, 66 Am. St. Rep. 475, 71 N. W. 734; Coakley v. Chamberlain, 8 Abb. Prac. N. S. (N. Y.) 37, 31 N. Y. Super. Ct. 676; Noble v. Tyler, 61 Ohio St. 432, 48 L. R. A. 735, 56 N. E. 191; Standard
Even though the reversioner or remainderman desires to continue or to revive the lease made by the life tenant, he cannot do so, since he is not in privity with the latter.56b If he desires the person holding under the life tenant's lease to continue to hold possession, with himself as landlord, the only course open to him is to make a new lease to such person. If he merely grants permission to such person to retain possession, the latter becomes primarily his tenant at will,56c while the payment by the latter to such remainderman or reversioner of a periodic rent would be evidence to support a finding of the creation of a periodic tenancy.56d
- Liability for debts. The liability of the estate to be sold for the tenant's debts is the same as exists in the case of a fee simple, unless there is some statutory limitation on this liability.57
- Right to use and profits. A tenant for life has a right to all the ordinary uses and profits of the land, but he cannot do or suffer any act calculated to injure the inheritance, that is, the interest of the person who owns the remainder or reversion; such injury, known as "waste," being ground for the recovery of damages, or the interposition of a court of equity. Since the principles applicable in determining questions of waste