What is the "implied covenant of quiet enjoyment"?
The "implied covenant of quiet enjoyment" is a real estate term that may not be clearly covered in the leasing agreement. But tenants are afforded this right regardless of whether it is on the lease or not.
The “implied covenant of quiet enjoyment” protects a tenant’s right to stay in a rental home and enjoy a peace and quiet. So, it is essential for landlords to be aware of this covenant and fully understand it.
McKenna & Vane Property Management have put together this article in the hope that all landlords understand their rights and responsibilities as per the “implied covenant of quiet enjoyment”.
Defining an “Implied Covenant”
An implied covenant may not be expressly outlined in a leasing contract. But just because it’s not mentioned in the rental agreement, it doesn’t mean it’s not law. Additionally, landlords cannot ask their tenants to waive this right when signing a lease.
Defining “Quiet Enjoyment”
Tenants are entitled many rights when signing a lease or rental agreement. Some of which are:
- The right to live in a dwelling that’s habitable and offers them safety
- The right to enjoy peace and quiet
Defining “quiet enjoyment” absolutely can be a challenge. For one thing, no two breaches of the covenant are the same. Also, what a person considers to “quiet enjoyment” is subjective, so another person may not share those same views, which may create complaints.
So, to clarify, the covenant of quiet enjoyment obliges landlords to prevent any unreasonable disruptions to their tenants’ peace while they stay in the rental home. When a tenant sign up for a lease agreement, they’re given the right to:
Enjoy Reasonable Peace and Quiet
Landlords should be mindful and take actionable steps to prevent disturbances in the rental home and deliver privacy to their tenant to ensure they abide by the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment.
Exclusive Use of the Rental
Only you can gain entry provided that they’re carrying out their duties such as attending to maintenance and repair.
Experience Safety and Security in the Unit
Landlords must install security measures prior to welcoming the tenants into their rental place.
Live in a Habitable Rental
The rental must be equipped to provide basic utilities such as electricity, water, and heat.
When Can a Landlord Gain Entry to the Rental
Different states have different guidelines on when landlords can freely access the rental without violating a tenants quiet enjoyment. In general, these situations are acceptable:
- When the tenancy ends, and an inspection must be carried out
- When a landlord needs to perform property upgrades and improvements
- When a landlord has to set up services that a tenant requested
- When a landlord needs to issue an eviction notice, a law enforcement officer must also be present to accompany the owner
- When the tenant has abandoned the property and has not left any notice of return with the landlord
- When a court gave the order for the landlord to enter the rental
- When there’s a scheduled property showing for potential renters, lenders, and buyers. Since the present tenant is moving out, the landlord needs to market the rental to potential tenants.
Specific times are also stipulated for some states on when a landlord is permitted to enter the rental unit. In general, the period between 9 AM and 6 PM is acceptable. If the tenants and tenant had arranged another time beyond that then it’s also good as long as it’s agreed upon.
When an emergency occurs, the landlord is permitted entry anytime. Fire, flooding and gas leaks are among the situations deemed as an emergency.
Common Violations to the Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment
The following are common quiet enjoyment violations you should be aware of:
- Going inside the rental property frequently or without issuing the right notice
- Snooping around the rental property occupied by the tenant
- Tenant harassment, whether done face to face or through calls
- Inability to control noises, nuisance and disruptive behaviors
- Cutting off or placing restrictions on basic services such as water and electricity
- Failure to deliver on services and specified items contained in the leasing agreement
- Failure to schedule repairs on the property that would compromise the tenant’s safety and affect the property’s habitability
- Restricting the tenant from entertaining guests on the property
Reasonable Disturbances to a Tenant’s Quiet Enjoyment
There are a few circumstances where the tenants covenant of quiet enjoyment does not apply. Such as the following disturbances:
- Noise coming from wildlife
- The footsteps from other occupants staying above you
- Performing landlord duties such as repair and maintenance work
- Calling up the tenant or knocking on their door to demand any due rent
Tenant’s Obligation to Comply with Noise Ordinances
As a citizen, all tenants must adhere to state laws, local regulations and noise ordinances and, they must also observe and respect their neighbors’ right to quiet enjoyment.
Being a landlord requires you to observe the implied covenant on quiet enjoyment as this is a given right granted to every renter. If you need assistance in taking care of your rental home or any other aspect of property management, get in touch with McKenna & Vane Property Management.