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Right of Reentry

A right, retained by the grantor at the time land is conveyed, to reenter and take possession of the land if a certain condition occurs or fails to occur.

The right of reentry, also known as the power of termination, applies to a type of interest in land known as a fee simple subject to condition subsequent. The right of reentry means that the grantee must abide by the specified condition or the grantor, or the grantor's heirs, may reenter and take back the property. For example, a grantor conveys land "to Hennepin County, but if the land is not used for a fire station, then the grantor has the right to reenter and repossess the property." Once a grantor has exercised the right of reentry, the grantee has no further right to the property.

Sometimes a right of reentry is discussed with respect to a grant in the form, "to Hennepin County as long as the land is used for a fire station." However, this grant is known as a fee simple determinable, which means that upon the county's failure to use the land for a fire station, the property reverts back to the grantor by operation of law. Technically, then, this grant requires no right of reentry because a failure to abide by its terms automatically reinstates possession in the grantor. With a true right of reentry, the transfer is not automatic, and the grantor must affirmatively reenter the land or, if that is not feasible, bring a court action to recover the property.

Leases also frequently include a right of reentry allowing the lessor to reclaim the property if the lessee fails to abide by the terms of the lease. When the lessor exercises the right of reentry and reclaims the property, the lessee has no further right to the premises. However, the lessor may have to take reasonable care to prevent damage to any PERSONAL PROPERTY left on the premises by the lessee.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Reputation to Owen Josephus Roberts