If you are new to the world of real estate or are planning to start renting out properties pretty soon, then I feel like it is my responsibility to make you aware of the term tenant of sufferance which is also known as holdover tenancy. 

In simple words, a tenant of sufferance is curated when a tenant overstays the terms of their lease without creating a new agreement with the landlord. 

In a situation like this, the renter may hold the tenant based on the terms and conditions of the expired lease and collect rent for the time that the tenant has overstayed. 

A tenant of sufferance continues to exist until the landlord obtains an eviction order or simply chooses an extension of the lease. 

A tenant of sufferance can be contradicted with a tenancy at will. It is a case where a tenant occupies the renter’s property with the permission of the owner but apparently without a written lease or contract. 

If you want to know more about tenant of sufferance, you are at the right place. Keep scrolling to know more about the concept of tenant of sufferance, and make yourself more aware of the same. 


Key Takeaways 

  • Tenant of sufferance point towards the holdover tenants of a lease that has expired who do not have the permission of the landlord to remain on the property grounds; however, they have not been evicted so far. 
  • The term sufferance means a situation where there is an absence of objection while there is no genuine approval. 
  • The holdover tenant who is suffering will be subject to eviction and sometimes, based on state law, may also be accused of trespassing. 

Let’s Understand Tenant Of Sufferance

Let’s Understand Tenant Of Sufferance

A tenant of sufferance is also called a holdover tenancy or estate at sufferance; however, the concept for all three remains the same under all circumstances. 

A tenant of sufferance situation takes place when tenants that had legal possession of a property hold over the same without the consent or permission of the renter. 

The only line of difference between a trespasser and a tenant at sufferance is that a tenant had once entered into a lawful contract with the owner over the property but has now extended their period of stay. 

Different states have different legal explanations and criteria that help determine if or not an occupant will be classified to be a trespasser if they continue to live on the property that they had leased an agreement for. 

How Can You Put A Tenant Of Sufferance Into Effect? 

The situation that may result in a tenant of sufferance may include eviction proceedings. 

This situation may arise when the lease agreement of the tenant has already expired, they do not intend to vacate the property, and the landlord wants to lease the property to new tenants. 

In this case, the owner or the renter may opt for legal actions to evacuate the tenants from their properties; in that case, the tenant continues to live in the property and cannot be removed by force. 

While the eviction process continues, the tenant has to comply with the terms that are mentioned in the lease or rental terms. However, certain jurisdictions prohibit the owners from accepting any rent from the tenant as that might just be considered as an extension of the expired lease agreement. 

The eviction process can take a comparatively shorter time, while in some cases, it might take several months based on the jurisdiction. 

During that period, the owner of the property is bound to accept a tenant of sufferance. 

In many cases, it has happened that the renter has tried to buy out or offer monetary benefits to the tenant so that they may leave the property. Although this might be an alternative solution to the problem, it may turn out to be quite expensive for the owner. 

However, it can at least bring a solution to the pertaining problem. 

If the tenant accepts such monetary benefits from the owner, they are bound to leave the property, and the tenant of sufferance ends there. 

How Can Landlords Deal With A Tenant Of Sufferance Situation? 

This must be set clear to all tenants and owners that even under a tenant suffering situation, a tenant will still have to adhere to the terms and conditions of the expired lease, which includes paying rent. 

As a landlord, you must be extremely cautious about receiving rent from a holdover tenant. 

However, this may have a negative impact on the arguments of tenant of sufferance later on. 

If the tenant pays rent even after the lease has expired, they could easily make an argument 

claiming that the owner had accepted rent, which clearly means that he was fine with continuing the tenancy even after the lease had expired. 

Under many jurisdictions, the owner cannot even coin the tenants as trespassers as they had initially entered the property based on the terms of the lease. Only your local landlord attorney can confirm if you can claim that a tenant is trespassing under the authority of the state law. 

The tenant is also bound to adhere to any extra terms in the lease that gives the right to the landlord to enter the property with any reasonable notice to show the property to potential buyers. 

For the tenant’s suffering to end, the landlord must provide a written notice to the tenants that they must empty the property. 

A typical written notice will provide the tenant with a 30-day time limit, but that may change based on the rules of different jurisdictions. This is an area where an experienced property lawyer can help you. 

After the owner has successfully served the 30 days, and the tenant is yet to leave the property, that is when the landlord may start exercising his rights and get on board with the eviction proceedings. 

Once the eviction action is presented to the court, the tenant may plead their case in front of the judge. As long as the landlord has followed all the proper steps and obeyed the laws, there is a high chance that they will get the eviction orders from the court. 

The Bottom Line 

A tenant of sufferance is a time period where a tenant chooses to remain within a property even after the lease has expired. 

While the owner doesn’t ask the tenants to leave, he doesn’t provide them with written consent either. Overall, it is a pretty complicated situation and must be dealt with knowledge and information so that neither of the parties lands in serious legal battles.

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upasana sarbajna
Upasana is a budding journalist who has a keen interest in writing. She considers writing as therapeutic and is most confident when she writes. She is passionate about music, movies and fashion. She writes in a way that connects with the audience in a personal level. She is optimistic, fun loving and opinionated.

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