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Estate at Sufferance

DEFINITION

Term used to describe a tenant’s right to live in a property after the expiration of a lease agreement. In such an agreement, the original lease conditions will remain.

EXPLANATION

An estate at sufferance, also known as tenancy at sufferance, is when an agreement between a landlord and tenant expires and the tenant still lives at the real property until the landlord demands an evacuation of the premises.

In an estate at sufferance, if the agreement expires and the tenant is still living at the property, the original terms of the agreement will still be enforced. The terms of the agreement refer to the rent amount and any other obligations on which the tenant and landlord have originally agreed. If the original terms have not been met, the landlord has the right to evict the tenant at any time without rationale.

An estate at sufferance occurs when the term of the agreement expires and the tenant still lives in the property without the owner’s consent. During an estate at sufferance, the tenant and landlord will typically not engage in any communication, either verbally or in writing, regarding the lease’s expiration.

Example of Tenancy in Sufferance

James is in the process of purchasing a home. In the meantime, he continues living in his apartment where the lease ended two weeks ago. In order to purchase the home, James needs to get approved for a loan. James is set to move out of his house in the next few weeks contingent on his loan getting approved to complete the purchase.

Unfortunately for James, he learns that the bank denied his loan request and therefore he can no longer purchase the home. James continues to live in the apartment on a month to month basis. Living in the property on a month to month basis is known as a tenancy in sufferance. On a month to month rental period, the landlord and tenant implicitly agree to keep the terms of the original lease in place.

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