Tenement Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Tenement, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Tenement?

1\) A legal term for holding any land or permanent property with right to rent. 2) Any old building given for residential living through leases with several floors and apartments usually with bare minimum amenities

History and Meaning of Tenement

The term "tenement" originated in Scotland in the 16th century as a legal term to describe a property that was held by a tenant. In the United States, tenements were originally built in the early 19th century as cheap housing for working-class families, particularly immigrants. These buildings were often overcrowded and lacked basic amenities like running water and heat, leading to unsanitary and dangerous conditions.

Examples of Tenement

  1. In the late 1800s, New York City's Lower East Side became known for its tenement buildings, with families often sharing one-room apartments.
  2. Many tenement buildings in Chicago were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1871, leading to a rebuilding effort that included public housing projects.
  3. Tenement buildings in London's East End were the focus of social reform efforts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as officials attempted to improve living conditions for the city's working-class residents.

Related Terms

  1. Public housing: Government-subsidized housing for low-income families and individuals.
  2. Slum: An overcrowded and impoverished urban area.
  3. Rent control: A policy that limits the amount landlords can charge for rent in certain areas or buildings.