lease for life.Hist. A lease of land for the duration of a specified number of lives instead of for a specified term of years. • Unlike a tenant for a term of years, a lessee for life could recover the land if dispossessed.

“The rent payable was usually fairly small, but a fine was paid when the lease was granted; a further fine was payable when, on the termination of the lives, the tenant exercised the right the lease gave him to replace them and so extend the lease. If the lessor was a corporation such as a monastery or college, the fines were treated as income by the then members of the corporation, to the disadvantage of their successors. Leases for life finally lost their popularity when legislation in the first half of the nineteenth century compelled corporations to add such fines to their capital.” Robert E. Megarry & M.P. Thompson, A Manual of the Law of Real Property 306 (6th ed. 1993).

[Blacks Law 8th]