Landlord and Tenant (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
An association between two individuals arising from an agreement by which one individual occupies the other's real property with permission, subject to a rental fee.
The term landlord refers to a person who owns property and allows another person to use it for a fee. The person using the property is called a tenant. The agreement between a landlord and a tenant is called a lease or rental agreement.
The landlord and tenant relationship has its roots in FEUDALISM, a system of land use and ownership that flourished in Europe between the tenth and thirteenth centuries. Under feudalism land was owned and controlled by a military or political sovereign ruler. This ruler gave portions of land he or she owned to another person, called a lord. The lord, in turn, could allow another person, called a vassal, to use smaller portions of the lord's land. The vassal pledged allegiance and military or other service to the lord in exchange for the right to live and work on the land.
In 1066, the Normans of France conquered England, and William the Conqueror installed himself as king. King William used the feudal framework of land control to retain political power in faraway lands. Feudalism as a means of political control became obsolete by the fourteenth century, but the hierarchical system of land use and ownership remained.
(The entire section is 3067 words.)
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