Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 16. Waste.


§ 42–1601. Writ of waste; lease forfeited for waste and lessee to pay treble damages.

A man from henceforth shall have a writ of waste in the chancery against him that holdeth by law, or otherwise for term of life, or for term of years; and he which shall be attainted of waste, shall lease the thing that he hath wasted, and moreover shall recompense thrice so much as the waste shall be taxed at.


(6 Edw. 1, ch. 5, § 1, 1278; Kilty’s Rep. 211; Alex. Br. Stat. 83; Comp. Stat. D.C., 319, § 21; Oct. 1, 1976, D.C. Law 1-87, § 41, 23 DCR 2544; Apr. 27, 2001, D.C. Law 13-292, § 804, 48 DCR 2087.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 45-1201.

1973 Ed., § 45-1301.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-292 deleted “, or in dower” following “for term of years”.


§ 42–1602. Waste prohibited without written license; damages; amercement.

Fermors, during their terms, shall not make waste, sale or exile of house or woods, nor of anything belonging to the tenements, that they have to ferm, without special license had by writing of covenant, making mention that they may do it; which thing if they do, and thereof be convict, they shall yield full damage and shall be punished by amercement grievously.


(52 Hen. 3, ch. 23, § 2, 1267; Kilty’s Rep. 209; Alex. Br. Stat. 46, 47; Comp. Stat. D.C., 318, § 19.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 45-1202.

1973 Ed., § 45-1302.


§ 42–1603. Reversioner may maintain writ of waste although tenant’s interest assigned to another; applicability of provisions.

Because that diverse people in times past have let their lands and tenements to divers persons, that is to say, some for term of life or of another man’s life, and some for term of years, the said tenants have oftentimes let and granted their estate which they had in the same lands and tenements, to many persons, to the intent that they in the reversion, that is to say, their lessors, their heirs, or their assigns, might not have knowledge of their names, and after the said first tenants continually occupy the said lands and tenements, and thereof take the profits to their proper use, and in the said lands and tenements commit waste and destruction, to the disheritance of them in the reversion: It is ordained and established, that they in the reversion in such case may have and maintain a writ of waste against the said tenants for term of life, of another’s life, or for years, and so recover against them the place wasted, and their treble damages, for the waste by them done, as they ought to have done for the waste committed by them before the said grant and lease of their estate. Provided always, that this ordinance hold not place, but where the first tenants before the lease and grant of their said estates, in the manner and form above-said, were unpunishable of waste; and also where after the said grant and lease the said first tenants of the said lands and tenements take the profits at the time of the waste done, to their own proper use.


(11 Hen. 6, ch. 5, § 1, 1433; Kilty’s Rep. 227; Alex. Br. Stat. 243; Comp. Stat. D.C., 320, § 26.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 45-1203.

1973 Ed., § 45-1303.


§ 42–1604. Joint tenant or tenant in common against cotenant.

Any joint tenant or tenant in common may maintain an action for waste committed by his cotenant, or in a suit for a partition, or a sale for purpose of partition may have said waste charged against the share of the cotenant committing the same.


(Mar. 3, 1901, 31 Stat. 1433, ch. 854, § 1622.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 45-1204.

1973 Ed., § 45-1304.