Q. MY tenancy agreement states that the tenants have the right of ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the property.
What does this mean?
Mr P, Ebley
A. The term ‘quiet enjoyment’ is written into most tenancy agreement, and even if not physically written in, it is an implied term of an exclusive tenancy, i.e. any tenancy where the tenant has full and exclusive use of the property.
This term derives for custom law and has probably existed in tenancy agreements as long as they have existed themselves, so the term is written in old English, it therefore may seem a little misleading if read in a modern context.
The term ‘quiet’ must not be confused with the literal term, it does not particularly apply to noise made in or around the property, but rather that the tenants are entitled their privacy without un-necessary interference or intrusion from the landlord or any other party representing the landlord.
In most tenancies there are provisions made for inspections to be carried out in ‘reasonable’ frequency, and for access to be permitted for necessary maintenance works, on the condition of the tenant’s permission being granted and the tenant having been given sufficient notice, generally a minimum of 24 hours.
Any breach of this including any unnecessary or excessive interference by a landlord in the form of e-mail of telephone communications can be seen as harassment.
Likewise the term ‘enjoyment’ does not relate to how much fun the tenants are having, or how much they enjoy living there, but rather this refers to the tenants use of the full property, that they should be entitled and able to use it as intended to the full of its use.
For example, if the heating breaks down in winter and the tenants are forced to stay else where, or if any part of the property which forms a part of the tenancy is rendered unusable the landlord must put this right within a reasonable time scale.
In a nutshell in simple English, if you rent out your property as a whole, your tenants have the right to use the property as their own home and should be left in peace and ‘quiet’, aside from relevant communications and routine property inspections, as agreed by the terms of the tenancy, and the property should be maintained to a level so as to allow the tenants to ‘enjoy’ it to its full, as any home should be.
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