A History of Property Rights for a Landlord and a Tenant

Posted November 10th, 2012 by admin and filed in Uncategorized

Property rights, in economic terms, refers to ownership and the specifics of how the good is used. Property rights determine the right to use the good, the right to earn income from it, the right to transfer the good to others, and the right to enforce the owner’s property rights. There is a unique relationship involving a landlord and a tenant established over a leaseĀ  concerning property rights.

Historically, the idea of property was built around the notion of estates in an agrarian society. The land transferred to the tenant for a period of time was traditionally farmland. The lease arrangement was based on a property relationship rather than a contract. The law required little else from either party.

However, there was a significant shift in the way property was defined with the industrial revolution. Beginning in the nineteenth century, urban housing necessitated the redefinition of the landlord and tenant relationship. Tenants became dependent on their landlords to maintain the condition of their residence which wasn’t previously the case.

In 1970, Javins v. First National Realty Corp. was a pivotal case for landlord and tenant property rights by the U.S. Court of Appeals fro the District of Columbia. First National was going to evict Javins for unpaid rent. However, the tenant argued the rent hadn’t been paid because the housing code violations in their apartment gave them the right to a set off in damages equal to the rent due.

Consequently, the court agreed. The lease was handled as a contract. The court concluded a warranty of habitability which requires the landlord to keep the premises in compliance with the housing code. More power was given to the tenant as a result.

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