(redirected from lay waste)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia.


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.


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.

References in periodicals archive ?
As the old system was designed to lay waste to Russia, one of our new best friends, we can save a fortune on a Trident replacement and still have the "comfort" of a deadly nuclear shield if needed.
WE can't control the weather I only wish we could The countless lives that would be saved Like the Pakistanis' flood It's so hard to imagine The loss to life and land How the world can change in seconds By Mother Nature's hand We've seen it all too often In countries far and wide The death and devastation I know that I have cried Tsunamis, volcanoes earthquakes and floods Lay waste to the human race Women, men and children too Just gone without a trace The world can only work as one To aid these troubled places And hope that not too far ahead Smiles return to their faces DAVE THOMPSON, email
Its upscale family endures enough angst to lay waste to an entire suburb - their lives verged on the apocalyptic in its first season, and things disintegrate, if possible (and yes, lamentably, it's possible), even more this year.
In a message in which he quoted from the Harry Potter film, Dr Carey said the power to destroy and lay waste seen on September 11 was not the "final word".
Now, it seems, they are the only defence against bloodthirsty slavering foxes ready to lay waste to the countryside.
In Genesis 9:8-17 God makes a covenant with Noah, his descendents, "and with every living creature," promising that "never again will there be a flood to lay waste the earth.
Repeated forays into both mania and depression, however, lay waste to marriages, friendships, and other social ties.