Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Lease Definition:

A special kind of contract between a property owner and a person wanting temporary enjoyment and exclusive use of the property, in exchange for rent paid to the property owner.

Related Terms: Tenant, Lessee, Lessor, Landlord, Leasehold, Rent, Dominion Utile, License, Tenancy

In Osoyoos Indian Band, at ¶96, Justice Newbury, writing for the majority of a court of appeal, described a lease as:

"... a document that purports to give exclusive possession and occupation of the subject lands to the (tenant) for a stated term."

In Salim Rana, Justice Dawson used these words:

"... a lease is a contract whereby the owner, for a valuable consideration, divests himself of the possession and use of his property for a definite term, at the end of which he has the absolute right to re-enter and re-assert his dominion."

In Sittuk, in the context of a lease of real property, Justice Spence wrote:

"A proper lease is recognized in law as creating an interest in property. The lessee is considered to hold the leased property on and subject to the terms of the lease during the term of the lease. The landlord's interest in respect of possession of the property is deferred to that of the tenant until the lease terminates, at which time the property reverts to the landlord.

"The courts have determined that the test as to whether a lease has been granted is whether there has been a grant of a right to exclusive possession of the property in question. For a lease to be in effect the tenant must have taken up possession under its terms. In such circumstances, the tenant has rightful exclusive possession and is, therefore, entitled to enforce that possession against the landlord and others."

Where the property is land, a building, or parts of either, the person granting a lease in real property (usually the owner) is called a landlord whereas the more generic term for the person/owner who grants a lease in anything he/she owns, is lessor.

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