Rent may be denned, in a general way, as a tribute or return of a certain amount, which is regarded as issuing out of the land, as part of its actual or possible profits, and is payable by one having an estate in the land, as compensation for his use possession and enjoyment of the land, or occasionally, as a charge on the land. The word "rent" is derived from "render," and the name thus emphasizes the distinction between rent, which is actually rendered or paid by the tenant, and a profit a prendre, which is taken by the person entitled thereto, without the active intervention of the tenant.1 The word is used in the law in at least four distinct senses, which it is desirable clearly to distinguish. It is in the first place used in a general sense, to describe any and every tribute which may be payable by one on account of an estate in the land, as when we say that rent out of the land.3 The use of the term "profit" in this connection has reference to the common law theory of rent, that it is part of the actual or possible profits of the land, a theory which was closely connected with another theory, that rent, like any other feudal service, was something issuing from and owed by the land itself.4 The chief consequences of the theory that rent is payable out of the profits of the land are that if the tenant is deprived of the opportunity to take the profits, as by eviction, the landlord's right to rent ceases or is suspended,5 and that the rent is not regarded as an actual debt until the profits have been received by the tenant, in the absence of an express provision to the contrary.6

Is usually payable in money, or rent is collectible by distress, or rent must be certain in amount, and, thus used, it applies either to one payment of tribute to be made, one "installment of rent," or to a succession of such payments. The word, when used in this sense, is, ordinarily at least, not accompanied by any article. In the second place, the word is used specifically, to describe a particular payment of tribute, to be made by a tenant of particular land, or a succession of such payments. For instance, we may say that the rent due by a tenant of certain land is over due, meaning thereby that one installment of the rent is overdue or that a number of installments are overdue. And so we speak of an action having been brought for "the rent," meaning thereby an action for one installment or several installments. The word rent when used in this sense is ordinarily preceded by the definite article. In the third place, the word is used specifically to describe the right which a particular person or persons may have to a succession of payments by the tenant or tenants of a particular piece of land, as when we refer to a man as having a rent or a ground rent, or say that the rent upon (issuing from) a certain piece of land belongs to a named individual. The word "rent," when used in this sense, is used with either the definite or indefinite article. In the fourth place, the word is used to designate sums paid as rent, the proceeds, that is, of the payment of one or more of the periodic installments, as when one speaks of applying the rent in a certain manner, meaning thereby what is received on account of rent. The word is frequently used in this sense in the phrase "rents and profits." When so used, the word is ordinarily preceded by the definite article.

Support,9 or the performance of manual services on or off the land.10

1. Co. Litt. 142a; Leake, Prop. in Land, 373.