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55-201. Duty of lessee to have forfeited lease released; publication notice; affidavit to be recorded; notice to landowner; remedies. When any oil, gas or other mineral lease heretofore or hereafter given on land situated in any county of Kansas and recorded therein shall become forfeited it shall be the duty of the lessee, his or her successors or assigns, within sixty days from the date of the taking effect of this act, if the forfeiture occurred prior thereto, and within sixty days after the date of the forfeiture of any other lease, to have such lease surrendered in writing, such surrender to be signed by the party making the same, acknowledged and placed on record in the county where the leased land is situated without cost to the owner thereof: Provided, That, if the said lessee, his or her successors or assigns, shall fail or neglect to execute and record such surrender within the time provided for, then the owner of said land may serve upon said lessee, his or her successors or assigns, in person or by registered letter, at his or her last-known address, or by publication for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the land is situated, a notice in writing in substantially the following form:

"To ________: I, the undersigned, owner of the following described land situated in ________ county, Kansas, to wit: (description of land) upon which a lease, dated ______ day of ______, 19__, was given to ________, do hereby notify you that the terms of said lease have been broken by the owner thereof, that I hereby elect to declare and do declare the said lease forfeited and void and that, unless you do, within twenty days from this date, notify the register of deeds of said county as provided by law that said lease has not been forfeited, I will file with the said register of deeds affidavit of forfeiture as provided by law; and I hereby demand that you execute or have executed a proper surrender of said lease and that you put the same of record in the office of the register of deeds of said county within twenty days from this date.

"Dated this ______ day of ______, 19__.


And the owner of said land may after twenty days from the date of service, registration or first publication of said notice, file with the register of deeds of the county where said land is situated an affidavit setting forth, that the affiant is the owner of said land; that the lessee, or his or her successors or assigns has failed and neglected to comply with the terms of said lease, reciting the facts constituting such failure; that the same has been forfeited and is void; and setting out in said affidavit a copy of the notice served, as above provided and the manner and time of the service thereof. If the lessee, his or her successors or assigns, shall within thirty days after the filing of such affidavit, give notice in writing to the register of deeds of the county where said land is located that said lease has not been forfeited and that said lessee, his or her successors or assigns, still claim that said lease is in full force and effect, then the said affidavit shall not be recorded but the register of deeds shall notify the owner of the land of the action of the lessee, his or her successors or assigns, and the owner of the land shall be entitled to the remedies now provided by law for the cancellation of such disputed lease. If the lessee, his or her successor or assigns, shall not notify the register of deeds, as above provided, then the register of deeds shall record said affidavit, and thereafter the record of the said lease shall not be notice to the public of the existence of said lease or of any interest therein or rights thereunder, and said record shall not be received in evidence in any court of the state on behalf of the lessee, his or her successors or assigns, against the lessor, his or her successors or assigns.

History: L. 1909, ch. 179, § 1; L. 1915, ch. 228, § 1; May 22; R.S. 1923, 55-201.

Source or prior law:

L. 1905, ch. 314, § 1.

Cross References to Related Sections:

Extension of lease upon contingency, see 55-205.

Law Review and Bar Journal References:

Lessee's interest under oil and gas lease. J. I. Poole, Jr., 5 J.B.A.K. 306, 308 n. 19 (1937).

1953-55 survey of Kansas law, Bernard E. Nordling, 4 K.L.R. 162, 170 (1955).

"Incorporating a Century of Oil and Gas Jurisprudence Into the Modern Oil and Gas Lease," David E. Pierce, 33 W.L.J. 786, 804 (1994).

"Real Property Interests Subject to Oil and Gas Interests: Practical Suggestions for Resolving Conflicts Between Purchasers or Developers of Real Property and the Owners of Oil and Gas Interests to Which the Property is Subject," Teresa James, 81 J.K.B.A. No. 4, 26 (2012).


1. Failure to release on expiration, no evidence of extension. Cement Co. v. Brick & Tile Co., 100 K. 547, 549, 164 P. 1087.

2. Upon forfeiture by lessee, lessor entitled to decree of cancellation. Cole v. Butler, 103 K. 419, 422, 173 P. 978. Overruled: Brinkman v. Empire Gas and Fuel Co., 120 K. 602, 245 P. 107.

3. Cancellation of oil and gas lease; statutory procedure optional. Elliott v. Oil Co., 106 K. 248, 250, 251, 187 P. 692.

4. Action to enforce forfeiture; section construed. Mollohan v. Patton, 110 K. 663, 665, 668, 202 P. 616, 205 P. 643.

5. Petition stating action under section held good against demurrer. Downey v. Phillips, 137 K. 362, 20 P.2d 453.

6. Facts stated and lease held abandoned by lessee's assignee. Nigh v. Haas, 139 K. 307, 309, 310, 315, 31 P.2d 28.

7. Separate leases require separate releases and separate penalties recoverable. Newell v. McMillan, 139 K. 94, 105, 30 P.2d 126.

8. Petition held not to state cause of action; lease construed. Wilson v. Wakefield, 146 K. 693, 72 P.2d 978.

9. Applies to "forfeited" not expired leases. Peatling v. Baird, 168 K. 528, 537, 213 P.2d 1015.

10. Section unavailable to lessor declaring forfeiture for breach of implied covenant. Christiansen v. Virginia Drilling Co., 170 K. 355, 356, 357, 358, 361, 362, 363, 364, 366, 226 P.2d 263.

11. Compliance with section not prerequisite to action brought under 55-202. Erne v. Broiles, 173 K. 882, 886, 887, 252 P.2d 612.

12. Letters construed and held not demand to release. Temple v. Continental Oil Co., 182 K. 213, 219, 320 P.2d 1039.

13. Court cannot extend term of lease absent ambiguity or mistake. Hanscome v. Coppinger, 183 K. 623, 624, 331 P.2d 590.

14. Cited; non-contiguous tracts; production on one tract; effect on duration of lease. McCammon v. Texas Company, 137 F.Supp. 256, 257.

15. No showing for demand of release of the lease; judgment for statutory damages and attorney fees reversed. Nelson v. Hodges, 5 K.A.2d 547, 549, 550, 619 P.2d 1174.

16. Demand is not a prerequisite to commencing a quiet title action, except when damages or attorney fees are requested. Medlin v. Mainline U.S.A., Inc., 8 K.A.2d 35, 37, 648 P.2d 279 (1982).

17. Rules governing construction of oil and gas leases stated. Adolph v. Stearns, 235 K. 622, 625, 684 P.2d 372 (1984).

18. Reformation of release to reflect original intent relied on by parties for years examined. Harper v. Continental Oil Co. Inc., 805 F.2d 929 (1986).

19. Lessor has right to bring off-lease salt water upon leased premises for secondary recovery project. Crawford v. Hrabe, 273 K. 565, 44 P.3d 442 (2002).

20. Expert testimony may not be excluded because one or more jurors may possess the specialized knowledge involved. Norton Farms, Inc. v. Anadarko Petroleum Corp., 32 K.A.2d 899, 91 P.3d 1239 (2004).

21. Cited; giving pre-lawsuit notice of breach under the K.S.A. 55-201 form is acceptable for breach of covenants. Lewis v. Kansas Production Co., 40 K.A.2d 1123, 1124, 1130, 199 P.3d 180 (2009).

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