What is a Tenant

As you will see, the best way to create a Landlord-Tenant relationship is with a written contract…

A landlord-tenant relationship generally arises from an agreement in which a property owner, the landlord, gives another, the tenant, exclusive  possession of certain property during an agreed term. In consideration for such possession, the tenant agrees to pay rent and comply with any other conditions and covenants of the agreement. The agreement, or lease, as it is  often called, may be an express or implied contract. The contract may be oral or written; however, contracts for the lease of real property for a period of  longer than one year must be in writing and signed by the party to be held responsible. Oral contracts for the  lease of real property for a period longer than one year may be enforced if  the doctrine of promissory estoppel removes the lease from the Statute of Frauds. Moreover, the relationship of landlord-tenant may arise by operation of law. For example, a grantor who continues in possession of property after executing a deed conveying that property to another is presumed to be the tenant of the grantee.

The relationship of lessor and lessee is purely contractual, absent some other special relationship created by the parties. Thus, the lessor and  lessee do not owe each other fiduciary duties unless a fiduciary relationship is created by something more than the mere lease arrangement.

When the relation of landlord and tenant exists under the  terms of a  written lease containing an option to purchase, the exercise of the option by the lessee creates a binding, bilateral contract and replaces the  landlord-tenant relationship with one of vendor and purchaser.

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