What is a covenant of quiet enjoyment?
A covenant of quiet enjoyment is an agreement between a tenant and a landlord that guarantees a tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment. In general, this agreement is implied by any form of rental agreement.
What is quiet enjoyment?
Quiet enjoyment includes several rights for a tenant:
- Peace and quiet - this includes being free from unreasonable and recurring disturbances from neighbors or the landlord
- Right of use - apart from the landlord’s reasonable right to access, this guarantees the tenant to have the exclusive right of using the rented real estate
- Safety and security - the right to a dwelling that is secure and free from bodily hazards
- Basic Utilities - access to electricity, heat and hot water
In general, quiet enjoyment guarantees a tenant’s right to live in the accommodation they have rented without what is considered a legitimate nuisance.
What is a legitimate nuisance?
Generally speaking, a legitimate nuisance is relative to the tenant’s ability to access and enjoy the housing. “Quiet” - in this case - does not mean “silence”. Rather, it is a subjective term. While there may be general legal guidelines like decibel limitations, it is usually decided on a case by case basis.
Violations of the covenant of quiet enjoyment
If a landlord creates a legitimate nuisance or does nothing to remedy the situation, they can be in violation of the covenant of quiet enjoyment. Some of the more common violations are:
- Entering the premise too frequently or without proper notice.
- Looking through the tenant’s personal property.
- Failing to respond to complaints about disturbances made by the tenant.
- Harassing a tenant.
- Restricting or terminating essential services like water or electricity.
- Fails to provide repairs within a reasonable period of time.
- Prohibits the tenant from entertaining guests or otherwise reasonably enjoying the housing.
Examples of violations:
- Parties next door that happen too frequently or last too long.
- Second hand smoke entering the unit from a neighbor smoking inside.
- Other cars parked in a tenant’s parking spot.
- A landlord threatens or harasses the tenant.
- Failing to keep the wildlife on the premises under control.
- Neighbor’s pets constantly being overly noisy.
- An unattended smoke alarm, when a neighbor goes on vacation for a week.
- Unattended repairs like water damage etc.