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A person or entity who receives the use and possession of leased property (e.g., real estate or equipment) from a lessor in exchange for a payment of funds. The person to whom a lease is made.
The lessee has a right to enjoy the premises leased for the term mentioned in the lease and to use them for the purpose agreed upon. He may, unless restrained by the covenants in the lease, either assign it or underlet the premises.
By an assignment of the lease is meant the transfer of all the tenant's interest in the estate to another person; on the contrary, an underletting is but a partial transfer of the property leased, the lessee retaining a reversion to himself.
The duties of the lessee are numerous. First, he is bound to fulfil all express covenants he has entered into in relation to the premises leased, and; secondly, he is required to fulfil all implied covenants, which the relation of lessee imposes upon him towards the lessor. For example, he is bound to put the premises to no other use than that for which it was hired; when a farm is let to him for common farming purposes, he cannot open a mine and dig ore which may happen to be in the ground, but if the mine has been opened it is presumed both parties intended it should be used, unless the lessee were expressly restrained.
He is required to use the property in a tenant-like and proper manner; to take reasonable care of it and to restore it at the end of his term, subject only to the deterioration produced by ordinary wear and the reasonable use for which it was demised. Although he is not bound, in the absence of an express covenant, to rebuild in case of destruction by fire or other accident, yet he must keep the house in a habitable state if he received it in good order. The lessee is required to restore the property to the lessor at the end of the term.
The lessee remains chargeable, after an assignment of his term, as before, unless the lessor has accepted the assignee; and even then he continues liable in covenant on an express covenant, as for repairs or to pay rent, but not for the performance of an implied one or, as it is usually termed, a covenant in law. By the acceptance, he is discharged from debt for arrears of future rent.