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In real estate, a change in a property's value caused by a lessee or another person who has possession but no ownership rights. Waste usually results in a reduction in the property value, for which the owner ordinarily is entitled compensation. Waste may be positive or negative; positive waste results from the possessor's act, while negative waste results from his/her omission. An example of the former is destroying the floor with a sledge hammer, while an example of the latter is neglecting a termite infestation for so long that the floor collapses.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved


An abusive or destructive use of property by someone who is entitled to possession but who does not have complete ownership rights, such as a tenant, mortgage borrower, or a joint owner.Waste is more than normal wear and tear and implies neglect or misconduct. Contrast with trespass, which is damage by one who is not entitled to possession.There are three types of waste:

1. Voluntary waste (also called affirmative waste) is an intentional change to property resulting in damage to the property.

2. Permissive waste (also called negligent waste) is a failure to maintain property, so that it deteriorates in value.

3. Ameliorative waste occurs when the changes increase the value of the property. In some jurisdictions, a court will still award damages because the owner is entitled to have its property remain in the same condition, without being subjected to others' opinions regarding whether it was improved or not. Other jurisdictions refuse to allow damages, finding that the owner has been benefited by the actions.

The Complete Real Estate Encyclopedia by Denise L. Evans, JD & O. William Evans, JD. Copyright © 2007 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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