Leasehold Definition

A leasehold is an interest in real property in which the leaseholder doesn't own a specific piece of property but possesses a long-term lease. It involves a written rental agreement for an extended period of time. A leasehold often refers to improvements on real property when the improvements are built on land owned by one party which is leased for a long term to the owner of the building.

The following is an example of a state statute governing leaseholds:

(1) "Leasehold interest" shall mean an interest in publicly owned real or personal property which exists by virtue of any lease, permit, license, or any other agreement, written or verbal, between the public owner of the property and a person who would not be exempt from property taxes if that person owned the property in fee, granting possession and use, to a degree less than fee simple ownership: PROVIDED, That no interest in personal property (excluding land or buildings) which is owned by the United States, whether or not as trustee, or by any foreign government shall constitute a leasehold interest hereunder when the right to use such property is granted pursuant to a contract solely for the manufacture or production of articles for sale to the United States or any foreign government. The term "leasehold interest" shall include the rights of use or occupancy by others of property which is owned in fee or held in trust by a public corporation, commission, or authority created under RCW 35.21.730 or 35.21.660 if the property is listed on or is within a district listed on any federal or state register of historical sites. The term "leasehold interest" shall not include road or utility easements, rights of access, occupancy, or use granted solely for the purpose of removing materials or products purchased from a public owner or the lessee of a public owner, or rights of access, occupancy, or use granted solely for the purpose of natural energy resource exploration.

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