Kerrains v. People – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In Kerrains v. People (60 NY 221, 2 Cow. Cr. 102 [1875]) the Court took up the question of whether a servant who had occupied premises as a condition of his employment and thereby had the status of a licensee, but whose employment had been terminated, changed to the status of either a tenant at will or a tenant at sufferance because his employer had not compelled him to surrender possession during the roughly three weeks that followed the termination.

The Court affirmed the lower court's ruling that the employee's status had not changed from a licensee to a tenant.

"Any considerable delay would be sufficient, but I can see no principle which would change the occupant eo instanti, from a mere licensee to a tenant. The employer should resume control of his property within a reasonable time or consent would be inferred. Whether this time is a day or a week may depend on circumstances." (at 225.)