Time, start and end | Day, week, month, year

Time start and end

Time start end

Time is a measure of change. Time may be defined as “a measure of change; the relative occurrence, or reoccurrence, of something. The period during which an event happens. A period of existence. The instant at which an event takes place, or should take place. The moment stipulated for a condition to occur“, Encyclopedia of Real Estate Terms, Third Edition.

This change in time, start and end,  can be measured in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years or fractions or multiples thereof.

In real estate, the most important periods of time are a

day, month or year (including a quarter).

Day in Common Law

“In common law, time runs, as a rule, from the end of the day specified as the starting point and continues throughout the day specified as the finishing point, there being no fractions of a day (3 Co Inst 53; Nickerson v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, 298 Mass 484, 11 NE.2d 444, 114 ALR 414 (1937)). The word ‘from’ may be inclusive or exclusive according to the context and the subject matter (Pugh v Duke of Leeds (1777) 2 Cowp 714, 717, 98 Eng Rep 1323, 1324). As a rule, unless there is an indication to the contrary, an agreement that starts ‘from’ a particular date excludes the first day, because in common law the day is not normally divided into parts or fractions (3 Co Inst 53; Goldsmiths’ Company v West Metropolitan Railway [1903] 1 KB 1, 5 (CA)). It lasts during the entirety of the anniversary day from which it was granted (Ackland v Lutley (1839) 9 Ed & El 879, 894, 112 Eng Rep 1446). Thus, a lease for four months ‘from’ 10th November starts at the beginning of 11th November and ends at midnight on 10th March. (Lemon v Lardeur [1946] KB 613 (CA); 74 Am.Jur.2d., Time (Rochester, NY), § 22, p. 607; 86 C.J.S., Time (St. Paul, MN), 20(b), p. 594).

However, if the date has a particular significance, such as the first of the month, it is more likely that the parties intended to include the first day and exclude the last, especially if the rent is payable on the first of the month. (Ladyman v Wirral Estates Ltd [1968] 2 All ER 197, 19 P & CR 781; Budds v. Frey, 104 Minn 481, 117 NW 158, 160 (1908)). Nonetheless, it is preferable to express ‘from’ as ‘from and including’, or as ‘commencing on’ the particular date, if that is what is intended. …

When performance of a contract is required ‘not later than’ a specified date, generally the period for performance expires at the end of that day, unless the nature of the required obligation clearly dictates that it should be completed on the date preceding that date, as when a building is required for occupation on the specified date.

A requirement to perform an obligation ‘by’ a specified date normally gives the whole of that day to complete the performance of that obligation …

Time, start and end may be expressed as ‘from’, ‘until’, ‘by’, ‘during’, ‘after’, ‘commencing on’, ‘within’, etc.

As a rule, time ‘until’

includes the date it qualifies—until January 20 includes the entirety of that day, but no longer. However, ‘till’ and ‘until’ can be equivocal and can be construed to include or exclude a specified date. Thus, such words should be qualified accordingly, e.g. ‘until and including December 21’, ‘until but excluding January 3, 2004’. (Page v More (1850) 15 QB 684; Halbert v. Block-Meeks Realty Co., 297 SW.2d 924, 925 (1957); Anno: 16 ALR 1094: “Until” as Exclusive or Inclusive).

‘During’ the term of a lease means the entire period for which the tenant has a right of tenancy. … [More]

Bibliorgaphical references — time, start and end:

Anno: 98 ALR2d 1331: Time Commutation—First and Last Days.
74 Am.Jur.2d., Time (Rochester, NY), §§ 1–31.
86 Cor.Jur.Sec., Time (St. Paul, MN), §§ 1–38.
Vendome Group. Best Commercial Lease Clauses (New York: 2009, with CD-ROM), Ch. 8 ‘Commencement of a Lease’.

D. Carter et al. Local Authority Notices (London: 1999), §§ 8-01—8-25.
1 Hill & Redman’s Landlord and Tenant Law (London: Loose-leaf), §§ A[4208–4209], A[8163–8242].
Odgers’ Construction of Deeds and Statutes (5th ed. London: 1981), pp. 134–40.
K. Lewison. Interpretation of Contracts (4th ed. London: 2007), Ch. 14 ‘Stipulations As To Time’.
45(2) Halsbury’s Laws of England, Time (4th ed. Reissue), §§ 201–300.

Time, start and end


  • Cases in italics are from the UK or other common law countries (as indicated); other cases are from the USA.
  • Terms in bold, including day, week, month and year are defined and explained in detail in our Encyclopedia of Real Estate Terms, Third Edition;  as well as in RealEstateDefined.com

Time periods in contracts and leases are explained in much more detail in Real Estate Defined.

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