This section is from the book "Real Property, An Introductory Explanation Of The Law Relating To Land", by Alfred F Topham. Also available from Amazon: The New Law Of Property.
Rents are of many kinds.
(1) Rent service is the rent paid by a tenant of land to his landlord.
Whenever rent is paid by a tenant for years or for life, or a larger estate, to the person who has the reversion, it is called "rent service," because it represents the services which the tenant in former times would have performed for his lord. The rent paid by an ordinary tenant of a lease to his landlord is rent service.
Rent service carries with it at common law a
Eights over Land in the Possession of Others 175 right of distress, i.e. a right to seize or "distrain" the chattels on the laud if the rent is not paid. This common law right of distress extends to all chattels on the land whether they belong to the tenant or not.
Exceptions. - The tools and implements of trade and bedding and clothes of the tenant to the value of £5 cannot be taken, and relief is given to lodgers whose goods are seized (a).
(3) Rent charge is rent which is charged upon land by deed, or Act of Parliament, and payable to some person who is not the landlord, with an express power of distress.
Thus, in settlements of land an annual sum of, say, £500 is charged upon the land, and payable to the wife, if she survives, by way of jointure.
Rent charges are usually given to a person for life, but they may be given to him in fee simple.
An express power of distress only extends to the chattels of the person liable to pay the rent.
(4) Rent seek. - Rent charged upon land in the same way as a rent charge, but with no express power of distress.
This was called sec (Lat. siccus = dry, or barren), because there was no power to enforce the payment by distress, and the rent was therefore often irrecoverable.
This distinction is now practically abolished.
By the Conveyancing Act, 1881 (b), any person entitled to any rent issuing out of land has an implied power of distress and other powers as follows: -
(1) If the rent is unpaid for 21 days after it falls due, to distrain.
(a) 34 & 35 Vict. c. 79. (b) S. 44.
(2) If the rent is unpaid for 40 days,
(a) to enter and take possession,
(b) to lease the land for the purpose of raising money to pay the rent.