Early Beginnings of the Landlord
Origins of the landlord-tenant relationship can be traced back the tenth and eleventh centuries. The political and military systems which were popular during the Middle Ages were known as seignorialism and feudalism.
Seignorialism, also known in England as manorialism, developed in the fifth century as a political, economic, and social system. Peasants, known as serfs were legally bound to the land on which they lived. The serfs worked in servitude to the land owners called lords. The serfs gave the lords a portion of their crops, paid taxes, and made other payments as a form of rent to the lord in exchange for shelter, protection from enemies, a small plot of ground, and a share in nearby live stock. Serfs were not slaves and could not be sold. They had the right to own property and could purchase their freedom from the lords.