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PAGE Wigdor v. Archibald, 113 Misc. 643; 186 N. Y. Supp. 514.....

138 Willcox v. Consolidated Gas Co., 212 U. S. 19.

216 Willetts v. Neulicht, 188 N. Y. Supp. 88. ...

169 Winter Holding Co. v. Peck, N. Y. L. J., March 1, 1921, p. 1849.... 226 Woodrow Court, Inc. v. Ambrookian, 113 Misc. 509, 185 N. Y. Supp. 756 (aff'd by App. Term without opinion)..

88 Wynehamer v. The People, 13 N. Y. 378.







The Relation of Landlord and Tenant DescribedEarly


The relation of tenant and landlord is one of the oldest and probably the most universal of civilized society. In all civilized communities, the people must be housed. Housing is, therefore, a necessity of life. Comparatively few families own the homes in which they live. Others must live in houses supplied to them by strangers. These others, by far the more numerous class in the community, thus become tenants. The strangers who supply the houses are the landlords.

The relation of landlord and tenant exists where one person occupies the land or premises of another, by virtue of a contract, express or implied.

When this relation is created by an express contract, the instrument made use of for the purpose is called the lease.2

1 Am. & Eng. Encyc. of Law, vol. 18, page 163. 2 Bouvier's Law Dict., vol. 2, page 1839.


It was a relation well defined in ancient Hebraic literature. In the collection of religious law gathered together in what is known as the “Mishnah,” which constitutes the basis of the Talmud, we find that the law as to the renting of houses both for dwelling and business purposes and of farm land had been developed with considerable detail.

In respect of farming land, the “Mishnah” and later authorities speak of two kinds of tenants,—the “Aris," or the tenant on shares, the landlord receiving one-half, onethird or one-fourth, and the "Hoker,” or the tenant at a fixed rental, which in the case of farming land was usually payable in a fixed measure of the grain to be grown on the land, and less frequently in money. Dwellings or business houses were, in the nature of things, let at a fixed rental in money.3

In respect of town property, it is said that “when a house is let 'to lodge' in, it means for a day; to 'rest'in, for two days; and for a marriage, thirty days. But the unconditional ordinary letting of a dwelling-house means, in winter (rainy season), for the rest of the season ... ; in summer, till the expiry of a thirty days' notice to quit. But this applies only in a town ("ir"); in a large commercial city ("kerak”), where the demand for houses is great, a notice must be given twelve months in advance. This is also the rule for all shops, both in towns and cities in which the tenant sells goods; for a tradesman must have ample time to make his new place of business known to his customers. . . . The tenant must in each case give as long a notice to rid himself of the obligation for rent as the landlord would have to give to him. Where the letting is for a fixed time, no notice need be given by either party. “Where a house is let under notice of implied length only,

3 The Jewish Encyc., vol. 7, page 613.






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without specified term, the rights of the tenant, while the notice to quit is running out, are not secure against the landlord's necessities. The latter, should his own house fall down, can insist that the tenant shall make room for him. Also, if during the running of the notice, the market rate of rents goes up, the landlord can for the unexpired time ask for rent at the higher rate; on the other hand, if rents go down, the tenant can demand a reduction." 4

The relation was one likewise well known in the Roman Law, and even in Japan before the modern era, eviction of a short term tenant for good cause was not infrequent.

Dr. D. B. Simons, a resident of Japan for many years and a student of the customs of the people and of the history of the country, says: 7 7

“Though eviction for misconduct, etc., was . . . not infrequent, the tenant was so rarely dispossessed for nonpayment of rent that this may almost be said not to have occurred. If the yield, from whatever cause, was a bad one, the landlord accepted a rebate as the necessary consequence of the bad luck, though no law prevented him from dispossessing the tenant (on the contrary, the law sanctioned such a proceeding). So strong was the popular sentiment against summary measures of this kind, that they were next to impossible. The landlord occupied a position more like that of a patriarch; his tenants were his children, and he their guardian. Kindness, generosity, forbearance and all the parental virtues were expected in the conduct of the landlord toward his tenants. In cases of sickness or dis

* The Jewish Encyc. vol. 7, page 614. • Encyc. Britannica, vol. XVI, page 155. • Notes on Land Tenure and Local Institutions in Old Japan, Vol. XIX of Transactions of Asiatic Society of Japan,” page 50, by John H. Wigmore from posthumous papers of Dr. D. B. Simons.

? Id., page 85.

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