When you rent property from a landlord, you’re entitled to certain protections. These protections are designed to ensure a basic quality of life while you’re on someone else’s property. While that quality of life refers to utilities and the general state of a rented property, it also covers the relationships you have with your landlord and neighbors. All tenants, to put it another way, are entitled to the quiet enjoyment of their property – and there are state standards that recognize that right.
What Is Quiet Enjoyment?
The term “quiet enjoyment” refers to a tenant’s right to enjoy their property unimpeded by other parties. This right is protected by legislation known as the “covenant” of quiet enjoyment.
This covenant notes that even landlords, who under other circumstances are referred to as a property’s holder, may not interfere with a tenant’s right to the quiet enjoyment or peaceful use of their rented land. That said, the tenant’s use of said land is also restricted by the covenant, thereby protecting the landlord’s investment in the property.
This agreement is applicable under a variety of conditions. Tenants, for example, are entitled to retain their rented space without having to worry about surprise visits from a landlord. That said, the covenant of quiet enjoyment most comes into play when a landlord sells their rental property. No new landlord may disrupt a tenant’s existing policy until that policy comes up for renewal.
Comprehensive Coverage from the Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment
The covenant of quiet enjoyment applies to tenants even if the mention of the said covenant doesn’t come up in that tenant’s lease. This covenant is most often implied. Still, the vast majority of states recognize it. That said, landlords can elaborate on their tenant’s covenant of quiet enjoyment in that tenant’s initial lease. However, landlords cannot modify the coverage provided by it but rather can only inform tenants of their right to said coverage.
The covenant of quiet enjoyment, while presented in different terms by different states, is comprehensive in its protections. Tenants who benefit from the covenant of quiet enjoyment are protected from:
Invasions of Privacy
Landlords must provide you with a reasonable warning before they enter your home. Landlords who arrive unannounced or who otherwise make themselves an unwanted presence within your property violates your right to quiet enjoyment.
Inappropriate Neighborly Behavior
Your neighbors are supposed to respect your right to quiet enjoyment just as much as your landlord is. With that in mind, neighbors who play music too loudly, who make a racket, or who otherwise harass you while you’re in your home can suffer the consequences for their behavior.
There are individual statutes in each state designed to prevent tenant discrimination. But if landlords or other tenants still engage in these behaviors, a tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment can provide you with the shield you need to pursue legal action.
Threats to Their Safety and Security
No one should feel unsafe on their rental property. If you believe that your safety is in danger from any party, the covenant of quiet enjoyment offers you basic, implied protections. You can present your concerns and evidence of the threat to an attending attorney to discuss what damages, if any, to which you may be entitled.
Removal of Basic Utilities
No landlord may remove the basic utilities from your apartment or rented property without warning. Any landlord who does so without a presented reason or with a reason that violates your peaceful enjoyment of a property can face legal consequences.
Consequences for Violating Quiet Enjoyment
It’s in your best interest to record all incidents wherein you believe your right to quiet enjoyment has been violated. Gather evidence if possible, including audio or video footage.
If you’re having trouble with another tenant, then you’ll want to present your evidence to your landlord and request some manner of response. Landlords usually have 30 days to request that your neighbor cease their inappropriate behaviors. Tenants who violate one another’s right may face fines, warnings, and evictions.
However, if you’re contending with a landlord, things can grow more complicated. You can still present a complaint regarding the violation of your quiet enjoyment to your landlord. It’s in your best interest to seek out the guidance of a local property attorney. An attorney can elaborate on your rights and let you know whether or not you have the grounds to pursue a civil suit for damages.
Upholding Tenant’s Rights on a Landlord’s Property
The covenant of quiet enjoyment protects property owners from everything from daily nuisances to discriminatory behavior. The protections the covenant offers will make your renting experience more pleasant.