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 .
Not only may a condition be dispensed with as regards a subsequent breach, or subsequent breaches, thereof, as explained in the preceding section, but also, after a breach has occurred, the person entitled to assert a forfeiture on account of such breach may elect not to do so, that is, as it is frequently expressed, he may waive the right of forfeiture.20a
It was at one time the law in England that, in the case of a lease for years, a provision that the lease should become "void" upon a default by the tenant in the performance of any particular stipulation, had the effect of terminating the tenancy immediately, without any action on the part of the landlord,21 the courts thus in effect regarding such a provision not as a condition but as a special limitation,22 and excluding any right of election on the part of the lessor. This view has now, however, been to a great extent repudiated, it being recognized that the effect thereof was to enable the tenant, desiring to terminate the tenancy for the purpose of ridding himself of his obligations under the lease, to do so by merely making a default, he thus taking advantage of his own wrong. The rule at the present time in England and also in most of the states is that, even though the instrument of lease provides that the lease shall become void or terminate upon the breach of a stipulation by the lessee, such a breach does not put an end to the tenancy until the landlord has in some way signified his election that it shall do so.23 And such election by the landlord is a fortiori necessary in the case of a lease which provides for a right of re-entry or a forfeiture on breach of a condition.24 The effect of these decisions appears to be that, whatever the language used, whether that adapted to the creation of a special limitation or a condition subsequent, it will, if the contingency referred to is a default by the tenant, and the continuance of the tenancy involves an obligation upon him by way of payment of rent or otherwise, be construed as creating an estate on condition subsequent, and not one on special limitation. In two or three states, however, there are to be found judicial expressions indicative of an adherence to the former English rule.25
18. See cases cited ante, this section, notes 5, 6; and note in 23 Harv. Law Rev. at p. 631. It has been said that "on principle, any distinction between waiver and license in the application of the rule in Dumpor's case seems illogical." 9 Columbia Law Rev. at p. 628. The rule itself is, however, so illogical as to render considerations of logic a somewhat insufficient basis for extending the application of the rule.
19. Williams, Real Prop. (4th Am. Ed.) 381.
20. 2 Preston, Conveyancing, 198. But a contrary view is adopted in Kew v. Trainor, 150 111. 150, 37 N. E. 223; Springer v. Chicago Real Estate Loan & Trust Co., 202 111. 17. 66 N. E. 850.
20a. Co. Litt. 211b; 1 Smith, Lead. Cas. (8th Am. Ed.) 110; Guild v. Richards, 16 Gray (Mass.) 309; Andrews v. Senter, 32 Me. 394; Stevens v. Taylor, 58 Iowa, 664.
21. Pennant's Case, 3 Coke, 64a; Finch v. Throckmorton, Cro. Eliz. 220.
22. Post Sec. 90.
23. Rede v. Parr, 15 Maule & S. 121; Jones v. Carter, 15 Mees. & W. 718; Dermott v. Wallach, 1 Wall. (U. S.) 64, 17 L. Ed. G81; Hartford Wheel Club v. Travelers' Ins. Co., 78 Conn. 355, 62 Atl. 207; Grommes v. St. Paul Trust Co., 147 111. 634, 35 N. E. 820, 37 Am. St. Rep. 248; Brown v. Cairns, 63 Kan. 584, 66 Pac. 639; Shat-tuck v. Lovejoy, 8 Gray (Mass.) 204; Lowenthal v. Newlon, 138 Minn. 248, 164 N. W. 905; Horton v. New York Cent. & H. R. R. Co., 12 Abb. N. C. 30; Phelps v. Ches-son, 34 N. E. (12 Ired. Law) 194; Ray v. Western Pa. Natural Gas Co., 138 Pa. 576, 12 L. R. A. 290, 21 Am. St. Rep. 922, 20 Atl. 1065; Deaton v. Taylor, 90 Va. 219, 17 S. E. 944.
24. Read v. Tuttle, 35 Conn. 25, 95 Am. Dec. 215, 216; Smith v. Miller, 49 N. J. L. 521, 13 Atl. 39; Fifty Associates v. Howland, 11 Mete. (Mass.) 99.
- (b) What constitutes. Any act on the part of the grantor or lessor, after knowledge of the breach, which unequivocally recognizes the interest of the grantee or lessee as still existing, is sufficient to show a waiver or election.25a Accordingly, there is a waiver by the lessor if, after knowing of a breach, he accepts from the lessee or his assignee rent which accrued after the date of the breach;26 and a protest on his part, at the time of its receipt, that it is not to affect his right to enforce the condition, will have no effect.27 The institution of an action of ejectment is, however, such an election to terminate the lease that the subsequent acceptance of rent can have no effect as a waiver, or as restoring the lease;28 nor is a waiver shown by the acceptance of rent which accrued before the breach.29 The institution of a distress proceeding for rent accruing either before or after the breach involves an election not to take advantage of the breach, since such a proceeding presupposes the relation of landlord and tenant at the time of its institution.30
25. See Shanfelter v. Horner, 81 Md. 621, 32 Atl. 184; Cooke v. Brice, 20 Md. 397; Parmelee v. Oswego & S. R. Co., 6 N. Y. 74; In re Schoelkopf, 54 N. Y. Misc. 31, 105 N. Y. Supp. 477; Loomis v. G. F. Heublein & Bro., 91 Conn. 146, 99 Atl. 483.
25a. Green's Case, Cro. Eliz. 3; Sauer v. Meyer, 87 Cal. 34, 25 Pac. 153; Camp v. Scott, 47 Conn. 36, 371; Williams v. Vanderbilt, 145 111. 238, 21 L. R. A. 489, 36 Am. St. Rep. 486, 34 N. E. 476; Morrison v. Smith, 90 Md. 76, 44 Atl. 1031; Linn Woolen Co. v. Brown, 110 Me. 88, 85 Atl. 404; Hubbard v. Hubbard, 97 Mass. 188, 93 Am. Dec. 75; Garnhart v. Finney, 40 Mo. 449, 93 Am. Dec. 303; Grigg v. Landis, 21 N. J. Eq. 494; Dur-yee v. New York, 96 N. Y. 477; Deaton v. Taylor, 90 Va. 219, 17 S. E. 944. See 2 Tiffany, Landlord & Ten. Sec. 194i(l).
26. Pennant's Case, 3 Coke, 64a; Goodright v. Davids, Cowp. 803; Bowling v. Crook, 104 Ala. 130, 16 So. 131; Mageon v. Alkire, 41 Colo. 338, 92 Pac. 720; Moses v. Loomis, 156 111. 392, 47 Am. St. Rep. 194, 40 N. E. 952; Blank v. Independent Ice Co., 153 Iowa 241, 43 L. R. A. (N. S. 115, 133 N. W. 344; Stover v. Hazelbaker, 42 Neb. 393, 60 N. W. 597; Stuyve-sant v. Davis, 9 Paige (N. Y.) 427; Conger v. Duryee, 90 N. Y. 594, 12 Abb. N. C. 43, 43 Am. St. Rep. 185; Newman v. Rutter, 8 Watts (Pa.) 51; Gulf, C. & S. F. Ry. Co. v. Settegast, 79 Tex. 256, 15 S. W. 228; McKildoe's Ex'r v. Darracott, 13 Grat. (Va.) 278; Cuschner v. Westlake, 43 Wash. 690, 86 Pac. 948; Gomber v. Hackett, 6 Wis. 323, 70 Am. Dec. 467.
27. Davenport v. Reg., 3 App. Cas. 115; Gulf C. & S. F. Ry. Co.
Although it has been occasionally said that the light of forfeiture for breach of a condition subsequent must be asserted with the greatest promptitude,31 it does not seem that a failure in this regard should he regarded as affecting the grantor's or lessor's right to enforce the condition,32 unless his conduct is such as to present the elements of an estoppel, by reason of the v. Settegast, 79 Tex. 256, 15 S. W. 228. But see Granite Bldg. Ass'n v. Greene, 25 R. I. 48, 54 Atl. 792. The acceptance of rent will not however affect the right to assert a forfeiture, if it is so agreed. Miller v. Prescott, 163 Mass, 12, 47 Am. St. Rep. 434, 39 N. 3. 409, and such an agreement has been inferred from circumstances, apparently. Medinah Temple Co. v. Currey, 162 111. 441, 53 Am St. Rep. 320, 44 N. E. 839; Man-ice v. Millen, 26 Barb. (N. Y.) 41.
28. Jones v. Carter, 15 Mees. & W. 718; Cleve v. Mazzoni, 19 Ky. Law Rep. 2001, 45 S. W. 88; Big Six Development Co. v. Mitchell, (C. C.A.) 138 Fed. 279, 1 L. R. A. (N. S.) 332.
29. Green's Case, Cro. Eliz. 3; Price v. Worwood, 4 Hurl. & N. 512; Silva v. Campbell, 84 Cal. 420, 24 Pac. 316; Morrison v. Smith, 90 Md. 76, 44 Atl. 1031; Miller v. Prescott, 163 Mass. 12, 39 N. E. 409, 47 Am. St. Rep. 434;
Pendill v. Union Min. Co., 64 Mich. 172, 31. N. W. 100; Jackson v. Allen, 3 Cow. (N. Y.) 220; Campbell v. McElevey, 2 Disn. 574, 13 Ohio Dec. 351; Carraher v. Bell, 7 Wash. 81, 34 Pac. 469.
30. Co. Litt. 211b; Pennant's Case, 3 Coke, 64a; Flower v. Peck, 1 Barn. & Adol. 428; Der-mott v. Wallach, 1 Wall. (U. S.) 61, 17 L. Ed. 680; Camp v. Scott, 47 Conn. 366, 371; Jackson v. Sheldon, 5 Cow. (N. Y.) 448; Mc-Kildoe's Ex'r v. Darracott, 13 Grat. (Va.) 278.
31. See Gradle v. Warner, 140 111. 123, 29 N. E. 1118; Commercial Trust Co. v. L. Wertheim Coal & Coke Co., 88 N. J. Eq. 143, 102 Atl. 448; Allen v. Dent & Cordes 4 Lea. (Tenn.) 676; Jones v. McLain, 16 Tex. Civ. App. 305, 41 S. W. 714.
32. See Doe d. Sheppard v. Allen, 3 Taunt. 78; Williams v. Vanderbilt, 145 111. 238, 21 L. R. A. 489, 36 Am. St. Rep. 486. 34 N. E. 476; Yazoo & M. V. R. Co. v.
Grantee's or lessee's making of expenditures on the premises with the former's assent.33
Occasional decisions or dicta that the right to take advantage of the breach of a condition involving the payment of money at a certain date is waived by the subsequent acceptance of the sum due34 are not in accord with the English authorities in regard to the breach involved in the non payment of rent.35 It would be more satisfactory, perhaps, from the standpoint of principle, to regard the acceptance of the belated payment, not as a waiver of the breach, but as a ground for the interposition of equity, or as an equitable defense to the action at law.36
Lakeview Traction Co., 100 Miss. 281, 56 So. 393; Union College, Trustees of, v. New York, 173 N. Y. 38, 93 Am. St. Rep. 569, 65 N. E 853; McKildoe's Ex'r v. Dar-racott, 13 Grat. (Va.) 278; Ma-ginnis v. Knickerbocker Ice Co., 112 Wis. 385, 69 L. R. A. 833, 88 N. W. 300.
33. Hume v. Kent, 1 Ball & B. 554; Sanitary Dist, of Chicago v. Chicago Title & Trust Co., 278 111. 229, 116 N. E. 161; Kenner v. American Contract Co., 9 Bush. (Ky.) 202; Morrison v. Smith, 90 Md. 76, 44 Atl. 1031; Hubbard v. Hubbard, 97 Mass. 88, 93 Am. Dec. 75; Barrie v. Smith, 47 Mich. 130, 10 No. 168; Garnhart v. Finney, 40 Mo. 449, 93 Am. Dec. 303; Bredell v. Kerr, 242 Mo. 317, 147 S. W. 105; Harte v. Shukert, 94 Neb. 210, 142 N. W. 517; Ludlow v. New York & Harlem R. Co., 12 Barb. (N. Y.) 440; Grigg v. Landis, 21 N. J. Eq. 494; Bena-vides v. Hunt, 79 Tex. 383, 15 S. W. 396; Rannels v. Rowe, 145 Fed. 296, 74 C. C. A. 376.
In Hooper v. Cummings, 45 Me.
359; Scovell v. McMahon, C2 Conn. 378, 26 Atl. 479, 21 L. R. A. 58, 36 Am. St. Rep. 350; Hurto v. Grant, 90 Iowa 414, 57 N. W. 899; McCue v. Barrett, 99 Minn. 352. 109 N. W. 594; it was held that a failure for a very considerable number of years to assert a breach involved a waiver. And see Fidelity Insurance, Trust & Safe Deposit Co. v. Fridenburg, 175 Pa. 500, 52 Am. St. Rep. 851, 34 Atl. 848.
34. Chalker v. Chalker, 1 Conn. 79, 6 Am. Dec. 206; Bacon v. Western Furniture Co., 53 Ind. 229; Garnhart v. Finney, 40 Mo. 449, 93 Am. Dec. 303; Coon v. Brickett, 2 N. H. 163; Hurley v. McCallister, 19 S. D. 381, 103 N. W. 644; Cuschner v. Westlake, 43 Wash. 690, 86 Pac. 948. Contra Morrison v. Smith, 90 Md. 76, 44 Atl. 1031.
35. Co. Litt. 211b; Pennant's Case, 3 Coke, 64a; Green's Case, Cro. Eliz. 3; Ward v. Day, 4 Best. & S. 337.
36. See opinion of Hoadley, J. in Campbell v. McElevey, 2 Disn.