What is the "Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment"?

Even if no leasing agreement has been signed, every renter is granted the “implied covenant of quiet enjoyment.” Being a renter entitles one to experience peace and quiet while staying in a unit, away from any form of disturbance, noise, and nuisance around the rental premises.

To retain long-term tenants, you need to fully understand what this covenant is all about. Otherwise, you’ll be facing the following consequences:

  • The renter may stop rent payment. Certain states permit renters to withhold paying off their rent dues if their right to quiet enjoyment has been curtailed.
  • The renter may legally move out since the landlord failed to hold up to the terms of the rental agreement or refuse to perform their duties to provide quiet enjoyment as mandated by the law.
  • The renter may decide to file a lawsuit in a small claims court.

To prevent these detrimental consequences, it’s best to gain a more in-depth understanding of the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment.

Legal consequences of quiet enjoyment violations

Defining “Implied Covenant”

An implied covenant is not explicitly stated in a contract. There are no specific terms that mention it. However, landlords also are not allowed to request the renters to waive their right to this covenant.

Defining “Quiet Enjoyment”

As a tenant, one is given two basic rights provided by the leasing or rental agreement. These are:

  1. The right to stay in a rental that’s safe and habitable
  2. The right to enjoy the peace and quiet while living in the rental property

There may be confusion about using the concept of “quiet enjoyment” since no two people have exact definitions about what constitutes “quiet” and “enjoyment” for them. It’s just understood that landlords perform their best in providing a peaceful environment by eliminating disruptions and noise in the rental premises. This is to reward the tenants with a peaceful ambiance while living in the rental property.

In the lease or rental agreements, tenants are provided with:

  • Peace, privacy and comfort within reason. Landlords must ensure that tenants are given these and interferences remain minimal.
  • Private use of the property except in emergency cases or occasions where a landlord’s entry is permitted to perform repairs or regular property maintenance
  • Secure and safe rental spaces. Landlords are obliged to have security measures in place to offer protection to the renters while living inside the rental space
  • Functional rental space where basic utilities are provided such as heat, water and electric power
Kentucky implied covenant of quiet enjoyment

Acceptable Reasons Landlords Can Enter the Rental

Landlords must not feel free to go inside the rented property anytime they want. Often, state laws determine specific times that landlords can enter the rental property. Here are generally acceptable reasons to do so:

  • When the tenancy period is almost over, a landlord can perform a move-out inspection. This aids the landlord in documenting the state of the property and record the damage found in the rental premises.
  • When repairs are required and requested by the renter. This action ensures the property remains habitable.
  • When the landlord needs to perform property upgrades and make improvements for cosmetic changes.
  • When the landlord needs to conduct services that the renter has expressly requested.
  • When an eviction notice needs to be issued to the tenant in the presence of a law enforcer.
  • When the rental property is shown to be abandoned by the renter.
  • When the landlord conducts property showings to potential tenants and buyers.
  • When a court order is issued.

Landlords need to be aware of specific time periods they’re allowed to enter the property based on state regulations. Normally, this covers business hours from 9 AM to 6 PM. However, it also depends on the agreement between the landlord and the tenant. The only situations that landlords are not asked to notify a renter are during emergencies such as fire, flooding, or gas leaks.

Common Violations to the Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment

It should be stated that landlords need to observe their actions and adhere to state policies when it comes to securing quiet enjoyment for their renters. They must try to refrain from the following:

  • Frequently dropping by the rental unit without sending notification to the renters
  • Snooping around the rental premises and tampering with the renters’ belongings
  • Ignoring disruptive noises and behaviors that lead to nuisance
  • Causing harassment to tenants over the phone or face-to-face
  • Forcing the tenant to move out by cutting off essential utility services or limiting the use of electricity and hot water
  • Overpromising and under delivering on amenities and services mentioned in the lease or rental agreement
  • Postponing or delaying property damage repair that compromises the safety of the tenants or cause the property to become unfit to live in
  • Controlling their tenants by preventing them to entertain guests in their rental units

Common Instances of Acceptable Disturbances

Here are a few examples where the tenant’s peace and quiet are not sacrificed provided they’re infrequent:

  • External wildlife noises caused by crickets, cicadas, and birds
  • Performing landlord duties like attending to the repairs and maintenance of the unit
  • Knocking on the rental door or reaching out to the tenant to ask for the due rent payment
  • Hearing the footstep sounds of other inhabitants staying in a unit above their floor
Loud neighbors quiet enjoyment

Tenant’s Obligation to Comply with Noise Ordinances

Your tenant is not exempted from the mandate of adhering to laws and regulations involving noise ordinances. They’re also liable when they violate the rights of quiet enjoyment of their neighbors or co-tenants.

Note that the lack of lease or rental agreement between you and your neighbor relegates the disturbance to a nuisance. But the neighbor can still file a nuisance complaint. If this occurs frequently, you may be facing a lawsuit eventually. It’s important to remind your tenants to observe the covenant of quiet enjoyment and show the same consideration towards their co-tenants and neighbors as well.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a trusted property management company to handle this responsibility, don’t hesitate to reach out to the professional team at Alltrade Property Management. We expertly manage rental properties located in Kentucky, North Carolina, Alabama, and Southern Indiana. Contact us today!