waste,n.1. Permanent harm to real property committed by a tenant (for life or for years) to the prejudice of the heir, the reversioner, or the remainderman. • In the law of mortgages, any of the following acts by the mortgagor may constitute waste: (1) physical damage, whether intentional or negligent, (2) failure to maintain and repair, except for repair of casualty damage or damage caused by third-party acts, (3) failure to pay property taxes or governmental assessments secured by a lien having priority over the mortgage, so that the payments become delinquent, (4) the material failure to comply with mortgage covenants concerning physical care, maintenance, construction, demolition, or casualty insurance, or (5) keeping the rents to which the mortgagee has the right of possession. — Also termed devastation; vastum. [Cases: Waste  1. C.J.S. Waste §§ 1–4, 6–9.]

“The old action of waste was a mixed action, being founded in part on the statute of Gloucester (A.D. 1278), which provided that ‘he which shall be attainted of waste shall lose the thing wasted, and moreover shall recompense thrice as much as the waste shall be taxed at.’ The action was to recover the land in which waste had been done and the treble damages. The statute of Gloucester was imported into this country, but many variant statutes now regulate the subject.” Edwin E. Bryant, The Law of Pleading Under the Codes of Civil Procedure 13 (2d ed. 1899).

active waste.See commissive waste. affirmative waste.See commissive waste.

ameliorating waste (<<schwa>>-meel-y<<schwa>>-ray-ting). A lessee’s unauthorized change to the physical character of a lessor’s property — technically constituting waste, but in fact resulting in improvement of the property. • Generally, equity will not enjoin such waste. — Also termed ameliorative waste.

commissive waste (k<<schwa>>-mis-iv). Waste caused by the affirmative acts of the tenant. — Also termed active waste; affirmative waste; voluntary waste. [Cases: Landlord and Tenant 55(2). C.J.S. Landlord and Tenant § 261.]

double waste.Hist. The destruction occurring when a tenant having a duty to repair allows a

house to deteriorate, and then unlawfully cuts down timber to repair it.

economic waste.See ECONOMIC WASTE.

equitable waste.Waste that abuses a privilege of nonimpeachability at common law, for which equity will restrain the commission of willful, destructive, malicious, or extravagant waste; esp., waste caused by a life tenant who, although ordinarily not responsible for permissive waste, flagrantly damages or destroys the property. [Cases: Waste  4. C.J.S. Waste § 6.]

“A life tenant with the benefit of an express exemption from liability for voluntary waste will nevertheless be restrained in equity from committing acts of flagrant destruction to the premises; hence the (seemingly paradoxical) term, ‘equitable waste’. A life tenant who has engaged in, or who threatens to engage in, reprehensible acts of voluntary waste will not be permitted unconscientiously to shield behind his legal right to commit waste to the detriment of those next entitled to enjoyment of the property, for this would be to abuse the legal right.” Peter Butt, Land Law 114–15 (2d ed. 1988).

permissive waste.A tenant’s failure to make normal repairs to property so as to protect it from

substantial deterioration. [Cases: Waste  3. C.J.S. Waste § 8.]

voluntary waste.Waste resulting from some positive act of destruction. See commissive waste. [Cases: Waste  1. C.J.S. Waste §§ 1–4, 6–9.]

“Voluntary waste. This involves some positive act of injury to the property, diminishing its value for the person next in succession; it is a deliberate and active change to the property. Examples are altering the character of premises by demolishing internal walls and fittings or opening and working a mine on the land (but not working a mine already opened, for the pre-existence of the mine shows an intention on the part of the grantor that the profits from the mine are to be enjoyed by the life tenant). A life tenant is liable for voluntary waste, unless the instrument conferring the interest expressly exempts liability for voluntary waste.” Peter Butt, Land Law 114 (2d ed. 1988).

2. Refuse or superfluous material, esp. that remaining after a manufacturing or chemical process <toxic waste>.

hazardous waste.Waste that — because of its quantity, concentration, or physical, chemical, or infectious cha-racteristics — may cause or significantly contribute to an increase in mortality or otherwise harm human health or the environment. 42 USCA § 6903(5). — Also termed hazardous substance. [Cases: Environmental Law  427.] toxic waste.Hazardous, poisonous substances, such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT). • Most states regulate the handling and disposing of toxic waste, and several federal statutes (such as the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), 42 USCA §§ 9601–9657) regulate the use, transportation, and disposal of toxic waste. [Cases: Environmental Law  427.]
[Blacks Law 8th]