Common Law and Equitable InterestsDoctrine of Estates•There are two types of estates: freehold and leasehold.•There are three types of freehold estates: fee simple, fee tail, and life estate.•There are four types of leasehold estates: fixed term, periodic tenancy, tenancy atwill, and tenancy at sufferance.Fee Simple •“Fee” denotes it is inheritable. “Simple” denotes that succession is not restricted orlimited.•It is the largest estate known to the law.•It is the closest to absolute ownership.•It is an inheritable estate, capable of descending to the widest range of heirs. •It is freely alienable during the life of the holder.Fee Tail•All fee tails became fee simple estates: Conveyancing Act 1919 NSW, s 19.Life Estate•Not an estate of inheritance, because it endures only for the life of the person onwhom it is conferred.•Ordinary life estate is simply “To A for life.” Often used in the context of retirementvillages. •Pur autre vie is a proprietary interest that is dependent on the life of some otherperson: “To A during the life of B.” This is often used to confer an interest in a familymember. For example, Adam is given use of a family home for as long as his motherlives.Doctrine of Waste•Wastemeans permanently altering the land and the doctrine exists to protect theinterests of the grantor (a tenant in reversion) or the grantee (the tenant inremainder) in a life estate. Remedies include injunction, damages and restitution. •Permissive wasteis a failure to attend to the upkeep of the property by allowing it tofall into disrepair.•Voluntary waste is an act of positive damage to the property, such as the openingand exploitation of mines and the cutting down of timber.•Ameliorating wasteis when the life tenant makes some changes to the land in a waythat enhances its value. For example, in Doherty v Allman (1878) 3 App Cas 709, thelife tenant converted a disused corn store into housing resulting in a considerableincrease in the value of the land. No damages were awarded as there was no loss. •Equitable waste gives the court in equity to stop waste, even if the waste is legalunder common law. This is recognised under Conveyancing Act 1919 (NSW), s 9.
Leasehold Interests•Leasehold interests are not considered to be estates in land, but as contractualinterests.•Leasehold interests are a type of personalty known as ‘chattel real’.•The primary difference between a leasehold interest (temporal limit) and a freeholdinterest (for life or in perpetuity) is its duration.Determinable and Conditional interests•A determinable fee will end on the occurrence of the specified event.•For example, “To A for life, or until he becomes bankrupt and then to B and his heirs”.•Words indicative of a determinable fee include while, during, until, so long as and foras long as.