LEASEHOLD ESTATE: Definition, Types, Examples & How To Create One

leasehold estate

Real estate investing success is dependent on your understanding, knowledge, and willingness to learn more. This allows you to increase profitability while decreasing risks. You can detect red flags more clearly, determine how expensive they could be, and choose a better or more profitable home.
Continue reading if you’re not sure what a leasehold estate is or how it can affect your investments. Here we’ll look at the different types of leasehold estate with an example and how one can create the agreement.

What is a Leasehold Estate?

A leasehold estate is a tenant’s exclusive right to occupy a property for a set amount of time. Typically, a written lease agreement is signed between the owner, known as the lessor, and the tenant, known as the lessee. This agreement specifies the conditions under which the property may be inhabited as well as what the lessor may or may not do. This agreement is legally binding.

How Does a Leasehold Estate Work?

When you rent property, you usually sign a lease agreement with the landlord or owner. This is referred to as a leasehold estate. A non-freehold estate is another term for leasehold.

Although a leasehold estate agreement can be signed verbally, especially for a duration of less than a year, it is best practice to sign a written leasehold estate agreement that explicitly outlines the lease conditions.

Both the lessee and the lessor have a clear grasp of their rights by engaging in a written contract. Furthermore, the agreement protects both parties.

The leasehold principle states that the lessee’s possession of the property is time-limited. Furthermore, the lessee is only permitted to make alterations to the property in accordance with the conditions of the agreement. Having understood this, let’s go over the different types of the leasehold estate in the next section.

Types of Leasehold Estate

There are numerous types of a leasehold estate, and it is critical to grasp the differences between them. You might have a tenancy for [specified] years, a tenancy at will, an estate at sufferance, and a periodic tenancy option, for example.

#1. Estate for Years

The estate for years is a written contract with all of the specifics stated. This covers the length of time the person lives on the property, which could be a long time. The projected payment amount is mentioned in this.

A leasehold estate over several years is frequently referred to as a fixed-term tenancy. This means that the written lease agreement is solely for real estate and specifies the start and end dates.

The leasehold agreement could be for one week or a year, but it is always for a set amount of time. In this case, the person may occupy the property for an indefinite period of time. When the estate for years or the fixed-term tenancy expires, there is typically the possibility to renew, but this does not always occur.

#2. Periodic Tenancy

A periodic tenancy, also known as periodic estate, denotes that the renter’s time is contracted for an unspecified time period with no end date. The terms of this rental were established for a specific time frame. However, the end date extends indefinitely until the renter or owner delivers a termination notice.

This is comparable to a lease in that the end date has passed. However, the tenant can continue to occupy the space because the agreement automatically renews unless the renter/owner wishes to terminate it.

It could be an oral lease for the property for a specified duration with an estate from time to time.

However, when the specified amount of time for the property expires, either party must provide a notice to depart.

#3. Estate at Sufferance

A tenancy at sufferance occurs when the initial lease expires but the renter refuses to leave the property. As a result, he is residing without the permission of the owner or landlord.

An estate at sufferance usually means that the owner must initiate eviction procedures. A month-to-month lease, on the other hand, is one in which the landlord collects payment once the lease expires.

As a result, the renter has the right to occupy the property. The renter has obtained consent from the landlord through payment.

Having said that, a leasehold estate at sufferance means that the landlord cannot be paid in order for him or her to reclaim control of the property afterward.

#4. Estate at Will

A tenancy at will is a sort of leasehold estate that can be terminated at any moment by either the landlord or the tenant. According to common law, no contract must be signed by the lessee or lessor if it does not indicate the amount of time the renter will use the rental. There are no payment specifics with this. Finally, this agreement is controlled by state law and contains several provisions.

The renter or landlord has the right to occupy or vacate the property at any time.

You can also have an estate at will if the tenant has to move in right away but is unable to negotiate a lease. It does, however, come to an end when the written lease is provided. If the lease is not created, the renter must vacate.

Leasehold Lease Agreement Improvements

Once the lease agreement is signed, the lessee (tenant) uses the space for the purposes specified in the lease. They could work on ceilings, floor space, plumbing, and anything else that contributes to leasehold improvements. These are documented as fixed assets on the landlord’s or lessor’s balance sheet.

The tenant and landlord must both agree on what should be included in the lease for leasehold estate improvements on the property. Depending on the terms of the lease, the landlord or tenant may be required to pay for the modifications. Landlords may offer to pay to persuade prospective tenants to sign a lease.

A Leasehold Estate Example

Leasehold estates are common for traditional merchants. Best Buy is a good example. It rents the majority of its buildings in order to make renovations that are appropriate for the property’s visual design and functionality.

To terminate the initial period of the lease term, rent expense is calculated on a straight-line basis. Any difference between rent payable and straight-line costs are postponed as rent.

Establishment of Leasehold Estates

#1. Oral Leases

Unless the term of the lease exceeds the period provided by the Statute of Frauds, leases can be created orally. In the majority of states, such a term is one year. Any oral lease that lasts longer than the authorized duration is void. Assume Simone verbally agrees with Anita to rent Anita’s flat for two years at a monthly fee of $250 in a state having a one-year Statute of Frauds period. The lease is null and void, and either party may terminate it.

#2. Leases in Writing

The following items or provisions must be included in a lease required to be in writing under the Statute of Frauds:

  1. It must identify the parties.
  2. It must identify the premises.
  3. Must specify the duration of the lease.
  4. Must state the rent to be paid.
  5. It must be signed by the party against whom enforcement is sought (known as “the party to be charged”).

The provisions do not have to be fully specified. They will be sufficient to justify the lease under the Statute of Frauds as long as they meet the five requirements. For example, the parties do not have to be mentioned in the lease. Assume that the prospective tenant pays the landlord a month’s rent in advance and that the landlord provides the tenant with a receipt that lists the property and the terms of the lease but does not include the tenant’s name. Following that, the landlord refuses to allow the tenant move in. Who would win in court? Because the renter had the receipt in her hands, she could be identified as the tenant to whom the lease provisions were intended to apply.

Similarly, the lease does not have to describe every feature of the premises to be enjoyed. Thus, even if the lease is silent on these matters, a tenant who rents an apartment in a building will be entitled to use of the common stairwell, the roof, and so on. And, as long as a definite sum can be determined, the rent can be stated in terms other than absolute dollar ones. It may, for example, be stated as a percentage of the tenant’s dollar business volume or as a cost-of-living index.

Leasehold Interest

A leasehold interest is a contract in which a corporation or individual (lessee) rents land from the owner or lessor for a set length of time. As a result, the tenant has exclusive rights to use and take possession of the property or asset for the duration of the lease.

There are four forms of leasehold estates and interests: periodic tenancy, tenure for years, and others.

This is frequently used to refer to the ground lease, which is for a long period of time. For example, you could lease a lot for 40 years and then purchase it, intending to build a home on the grounds. Then you rent it out and make rental revenue while paying the lot owner.

It is preferable to obtain a written agreement that appears similar to the tenancy for years lease in such cases.

What Is the Distinction Between a Leasehold and a Freehold Estate?

A freehold estate is likewise a type of real estate, however, it differs from a leasehold estate.

The main distinction here is that a freehold estate grants exclusive rights for an indefinite period of time. There is a certain end/beginning to consider depending on the type of leasehold estate.


A leasehold estate is any property, building, or unit inside a building that can be leased. The type of leasehold estate you require is determined by your objectives.

In contrast to a freehold estate, a leasehold estate has a fixed term. The landlord’s stake in a leasehold estate for the length of the lease is a reversionary interest. Leasehold estates can be created for short or long periods of time; in the event of long-term leases, a property right is created that can be handed on to heirs. A periodic tenancy is the most prevalent type of landlord-tenant relationship. It has varying common-law and statutory restrictions on renewal and termination. In a tenancy at will, either the landlord or the tenant can terminate the leasehold estate by providing notice to the other party.

It’s critical to comprehend what a leasehold agreement is and how it affects the estate you buy or sell. In general, real estate can be either residential or commercial. Now that you have a better knowledge of the phrase, you can buy/sell real estate with more confidence.

Leasehold Estate FAQs

What is the main difference between a freehold estate and a leasehold estate?

This is unquestionably true of freeholds, in which you own the property and everything on it without restrictions. In more particular terms, you own your house and land in perpetuity. Long-term leases, on the other hand, are known as leaseholds.

What is the most common type of leasehold estate?

An “Estate for Years” is the most common type. An Estate for Years is a land interest arising from a contract for possession for a specific, but limited, period of time.

What is the difference between leased fee and leasehold estate?

There is no need to pay rent under fee simple ownership, but property taxes must be paid to the local and state governments where appropriate. A leasehold requires rent to be paid to the genuine property owner, and the lessee may also be required to pay property taxes, depending on the terms of the lease.

What does leased fee estate mean?

Leased Fee Estate – The ownership interest in a property held by the landlord or lessor under a lease, with the rights of use and occupancy transmitted or granted to a tenant or lessee. A leasehold interest in a rented property.

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Leased Fee Estate - The ownership interest in a property held by the landlord or lessor under a lease, with the rights of use and occupancy transmitted or granted to a tenant or lessee. A leasehold interest in a rented property.

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