A right to enjoyment of property with a given stipulation that the property will be improved or maintained in an agreed upon manner.
In Roman law, a contract by which houses or lands were given forever or for a long term on condition of their being improved and a stipulated annual rent paid to the grantor. It was usually for a perpetual term, thus corresponding to the feudal fee.
The second institution was the tenure called emphyteusis, under which land, the domain of the Crown (and other land as well, but especially land under the domain of the Crown), was granted, not on absolute ownership, but in tenancy for certain fixed dues, and once so granted was granted permanently.
After twenty-seven years of reforms and prosperity Pombal was dismissed from office and the old abuses were reinstated, among them those worst incidents of emphyteusis which had been devised by the base ring of nobles and ecclesiastics who held the land in their grasp.
Robert Louis Stevenson accordingly began to read for the bar, supplementing his uncoördinated notions of emphyteusis and levitation with detached impressions of the civil law and fraudulent conveyances.
The European Court of Human Rights has ordered the Maltese government to pay compensation to a Maltese landlord who filed a complaint after Maltese law was changed, thus allowing his tenant to continue to live in his property even after a temporary emphyteusis expired.
The word 'emphyteusis' comes from a Greek root meaning 'to plant'.