Like England for example? If so then why do English legal materials speak so much rather of illegal eviction than of unlawful ouster?

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    Could you define what mean by "ouster"? Aug 7, 2022 at 15:18

1 Answer 1


Every word has multiple, not fully consistent, meanings. I'm not sure what the "doctrine of unlawful ouster" means, as that isn't a familiar phrase in U.S. real property law, which is the basis for my answer. The term "ouster" is used, however, in U.S. law, sometimes as a term of art.

Co-Ownership Cases

The most common use of the word "ouster" in U.S. law is in the context of a partition case brought by one co-owner against another and refers to one or more co-owners excluding one or more other co-owners from possession of co-owned real property without an an agreement of the co-owners authorizing them to do so.

When a co-owner is ousted, the occupying co-owners owe fair market value rent for the co-owned real property from which other co-owners are ousted to the co-owners as a whole to be shared in proportion to their ownership percentages.

For example, if two brothers co-own a house, and one brother ousts the other brother from occupation and possession of the house, the ousting brother owes the ousted brother one half of the fair market value rent for the house for the period of the ouster.

Other U.S. Uses Of The Term

The term ouster would be understood in the sense of someone being physically removed from or denied possession in a landlord-tenant context but would be far less common. More often in a landlord-tenant sense, ouster would refer to a lockout or creation of conditions on the premises that denied the tenant "quiet enjoyment" of the property.

"Ouster" would also often be used to refer to the removal (often without court process) of someone who has a right to be in a premises other than pursuant to a lease (e.g. a contractor doing renovation work on the property with the permission of the owner might be ousted improperly by a tenant who doesn't want to distraction of having a construction job done next door).

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