Putnam's Handy Law Book for the Layman

Land License. - A license is an authority to do something on another's land without acquiring ownership therein, and may be given orally, or it may be simply a permission to use or occupy. A [150]license may be executory, relating to a future act, or it may relate to an act already done or executed. An executory license may be revoked at any time. Thus A laid a water pipe by permission across B's land who afterward rendered the pipe useless by cutting it. A had no redress, for B was acting within his rights. A ought to have obtained written authority for such action. He could, however, remove the pipe or any other improvement he had made on the strength of the license granted to him.

A license may be to do many things on another's land. Thus one may have a license to flood land, erect buildings, pass overland, maintain a ditch, cut timber, use land for railroad purposes. A common form of license is a ticket of admission to enter another's land to witness a spectacle or similar purpose.

No formality is needed to create a license. It may be in writing or be oral, or implied from the relations or conduct of the parties, as where a land owner assents to the doing of certain acts on his land. A person by opening a place of business licenses the public to enter therein for the purpose of transacting business. And a license to do a particular act necessarily involves any act essential thereto.

A license is usually revocable at the pleasure of the licensor, even though it be in writing and under seal, or a consideration has been given. If the licensee has expended money and made improvements on the faith of the license, can it be revoked? On this question the courts divide. The more general opinion seems to be that a license coupled with a grant or interest cannot be revoked. Or, if a license has in effect been so used as to become an easement it remains a burden on the land though sold to a purchaser, unless he had no knowledge of [151]it. A license cannot be assigned by the licensee to another.

Again it is said that the revocation only affects the future exercise of the privilege, and does not prevent the licensee from removing structures or other movable articles placed by him thereon relying on the license, provided he does this within a reasonable time after the revocation. Even should the owner of land sell, the sale would not operate as a revocation to one to remove trees that he had already cut under a contract of sale and removal.

If a person grants a license to another to come on his land, he owes no duty to him except the negative one of not wantonly injuring or exposing him to danger. Merchants invite the public into their stores to buy wares, but those who accompany them without any intention of purchasing are not invitees, they are mere licensees. The duty of the storekeeper to one who enters his premises by mere license is not to keep the premises in a non-hazardous state, but only to abstain from acts willfully injurious to him.


Do It Yourself Legal Forms
Law for the Laymen - Land License
Page Updated 8:12 PM Saturday 4/4/2015