A guide to the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment

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A tenant has moved in recently and complained that he’s not able to quietly enjoy his rental space. The tenant living adjacent to him has been holding a party every weekend till the early hours of the morning. The complaining tenant told you that if this doesn’t stop, he would move out and demand a full rent refund.

Is the tenant within his rights to do this? Is he entitled to a rent refund when this issue is taken to the court? The answer is yes. 

Every tenant has a basic right to quiet enjoyment in his rental unit. Whether this is stated or not in the leasing agreement, the landlord is responsible for providing a habitable space for peaceful living.

So what is this all about? This article will discuss the “implied covenant of quiet enjoyment”, which refers to the inalienable right of tenants to peacefully enjoy their space. We’ll seek to define what it entails, how it’s violated and what the tenants’ recourse of action can be.

Knowing more about quiet enjoyment will help you create long-term relationships with your renters, and possibly save you from tricky legal situations.

What is an “implied covenant”? 

An implied covenant does not require open statements, whether by verbal or written means. If you’re signing a leasing agreement with your renter, a basic right does not have to be contained in that contract.

Without any oral discussions, something that’s termed as an “implied covenant” is understood to be valid. Brush up on your Kansas Rental laws for more specific information.

What is “quiet enjoyment”?

Each tenant has a given right to quiet enjoyment in his abode. Under the law, this is an additional requirement for landlords in conjunction with keeping the rental property habitable. Quiet enjoyment means a tenant can peacefully stay without being subjected to incessant noise. 

Constant noises can leave a tenant feeling uncomfortable and affect his state of residence. A landlord must ensure that the rental property is devoid of heavy disturbances, which can cause disagreements between themselves and their tenants, or even between two different tenants.

Occasional disturbances do not violate quiet enjoyment

The Landlord’s Liability

In cases where tenants are prevented from quiet enjoyment, the landlords can be held accountable. In fact, tenants can exercise several actions when a landlord has become negligent of the duty of keeping a peaceful rental space. Tenants, however, hold the responsibility of furnishing evidence to support the claim of holding a landlord liable.

Tenants have a right to privacy and some landlords are not respectful of boundaries. If a landlord is found to be continuously snooping inside the rental property, then the landlord is guilty of interference. If you are concerned that a tenant is destroying your property, read our post about preventing damages.

Disrespecting a tenant’s privacy is frowned upon under the law. This is because the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment exists whether stipulated in a rental contract or not.

Just as landlords have rights under the law, so do the tenants. This can fall under privacy, peace and quiet, safety, security, and access to basic utilities.

Violating a Tenant’s Quiet Enjoyment

A landlord guilty of violating the covenant of quiet enjoyment can experience repercussions. The tenant can withhold the rent payment or discontinue staying in the rental property. 

Some common landlord violations to quiet enjoyment are:

  • A landlord keeps going inside the rental space without notifying the renter
  • A landlord will not do anything to limit the noise or nuisance happening on the premises
  • A landlord harasses a tenant by shutting off the utilities
  • A landlord continuously spying on their tenants
  • A landlord allows constant disturbance such as ongoing construction from early morning to late evening
Only conduct maintenance after properly notifying your tenants

Available Remedies for Tenants 

Should the tenants find that the landlord is guilty of violating the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment, they can:

  1. Submit a written request to the landlord to stop the noise disturbance.
  2. Contact the police to help contain the nuisance.
  3. Refuse to pay the rent or request to get a partial or full refund of it.
  4. End the tenancy and find another rental space.
  5. Gather proof to show in the courts if a lawsuit is filed.

Distinguishing Violations from Simple Annoyances

It’s essential to know the differences between a violation of the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment and a simple case of annoyance. Annoyances are typically temporary, occasional situations that can be reasonably put up with. 

Examples of Violations of Quiet Enjoyment:

  1. A tenant holds a parking permit for a certain spot but recently, another vehicle has been taking over his parking area.
  2. A tenant can hardly sleep from another tenant’s pet dog howling and barking long into the night.
  3. The landlord keeps performing property inspections and going inside the rental unit without sending a notice. Inspections are performed whenever the tenant is not around.
  4. Another tenant holds loud parties till the early hours of the morning every weekend. The blaring music and laughter can be constantly heard.
  5. A tenant cannot relax in the rental unit because of the unbearable construction noise outside the window. 
Renting to tenants with pets only violates quiet enjoyment when the pets are misbehaved

Simple Annoyances:

  1. A tenant holds a party that lasts until 11 in the evening.
  2. A tenant nearby has a pet dog that occasionally barks.
  3. Parking is limited and on a first-come-first-served basis.
  4. Listening to repair sounds that last for a day or two for property maintenance.
  5. A landlord reminding the tenant to pay the overdue rent in person or on the phone.

The Bottom Line

The implied covenant of quiet enjoyment is a basic right of every renter. Landlords should be respectful of this inalienable right. By creating a peaceful environment, a rental property will continue to be attractive to its current tenants. This leads to lease renewals and translates as consistent earnings for the property owner.

If you’re seeking a professional property manager in Kansas City, please contact Young Management at (816) 779-3131. You can also visit the website www.ymcorp.com for more information.