A waste in real estate terms describes the abuse, damage, or destruction, of property by someone who has possession of it, not is not the owner, causing damages that the true owner would incur.
Damages resulting from waste are beyond regular wear and tear.
The party that took such abusive action on the property can be a tenant, borrower of mortgage, or even an owner who does not have complete ownership.
The abusive nature can be from misconduct, and usually from neglect.
There are 3 main types of waste as described in legal terms.
When they are proven to have occurred, landlords can terminate the contract, sue for damages or obtain an injunction to prevent further abuse that lead to more wastage.
1) Permissive waste
This occurs when lessees or life tenants fail to make repairs or conduct maintenance that are essential for the property to retain it’s integrity.
They are sometimes also called negligent waste, passive waste
For example, permissive waste can be determined to have occurred when a tenant fails take basic measures to protect the house during winter season. Causing damage to piping and insulation systems.
This don’t just result in repair costs to the landlord, but might also cause a depreciation of property value.
2) Voluntary waste
Voluntary waste describes intentional actions taken by the possessor to cause damage to the property.
The motivations of a tenant to do this are usually immaterial as these actions are in serious breach of the lease contract terms.
Some examples of voluntary waste are cutting of timber on the land, destroying fixtures, harvesting natural minerals, etc.
3) Ameliorative waste
This category of property waste occurs when improvements have been made to a property without the permission of the owner, but actually increases the home value.
This can be an odd situation for a landlord to find himself in.
On the one hand, a tenant might have the best intentions to improve the quality of life and also help the property appreciate.
On the other hand, even though the landlord has benefited from ameliorative waste, he is entitled to keep a house in it’s original condition.
Because of this, some states don’t allow owners to claim damages when ameliorative waste has occurred since the landlord has actually benefited from them.