ATTORNMENT (from Fr. tourner, to turn), in English real property law, the acknowledgment of a new lord by the tenant on the alienation of land. Under the feudal system, the relations of landlord and tenant were to a certain extent reciprocal. So it was considered unreasonable to the tenant to subject him to a new lord without his own approval, and it thus came about that alienation could not take place without the consent of the tenant. Attornment was also extended to all cases of lessees for life or for years. The necessity for attornment was abolished by an act of 1705. The term is now used to indicate an acknowledgment of the existence of the relationship of landlord and tenant. An attornment-clause, in mortgages, is a clause whereby the mortgagor attorns tenant to the mortgagee, thus giving the mortgagee the right to distrain, as an additional security.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)