Reviewed by Vineeth | Updated on Jul 26, 2021



Tenements can be considered as a multi-occupancy building that can be hired for rent. In developed countries, such as the United States of America, tenements are referred to as run-down apartment structures.

Understanding Tenement

The term ‘tenement’ has historically stood for a kind of permanent building structure used on a ‘for hire’ basis. Tenement can point to a house, piece of land, and other building structures, along with all the legal rights that come attached to the property.

In the United Kingdom, specifically in Scotland, the word tenement is still in use and generally refers to a building that can be used for various purposes. Also, tenement has significance in legal terms. The term ‘dominant tenement’ is a property which comes with the benefit of the easement. The term ‘servient tenement’ is a property that is a burden of an easement.

In the United States of America, the term ‘tenement’ generally refers to congested and old apartments in which low-income tenants reside. The tenement structures typically have several units under a common roof but divided by walls to provide privacy for tenants. The rental contract of tenements typically contains an agreement which specifies the time for which the residential space will be leased out to the occupant and the rent for the same.

Origin of Tenement

Back in the days when the industrial revolution was in full swing, several tenements were constructed to accommodate the families of labourers who were moving across places in search of jobs that were mostly focused on the manufacturing sector.

Many buildings, like warehouses, were restructured to be used by these workers as tenements. These reconstructed houses were referred to as ‘rookeries’. A few of the most popular tenements were constructed back in the 19th century in Manhattan’s Lower Eastside, and they were four or three-floor buildings. These buildings were not properly regulated, and there was a constant fear of collapse.

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