The Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment Explained

You should feel at home in your apartment, thanks in part to the covenant of quiet enjoyment included in lease agreements. This clause defines your right to privacy in your apartment by ensuring a tenant’s right to use the rented premises for their intended purposes without the landlord or anyone else acting on his/her behalf and causing unnecessary disturbances.

What Qualifies?

There are several factors that determine what qualifies as a disturbance. Different people have different perspectives on what constitutes a disturbance in their dwelling. According to the courts, the disturbance must be considered significant by a reasonable person. 

For example, a reasonable person would agree that a neighbor hosting loud parties every other night is rude or an apartment with a leaky roof is a major problem. However, a reasonable person would also likely agree that a neighbor knocking on your door one time or a landlord entering your home during an emergency is not a huge problem. 

In any case, it is important to consider whether the property owner can do anything about the disturbance. For example, if they are doing repair and maintenance on another unit in the building and it causes a lot of noise for weeks or months on end, then that disturbance is under their control. However, disturbances caused by renovations being done on a nearby building by a different property owner is another story.

What Should You Do?

The first thing you should do if you believe that your right to “quiet enjoyment” is being violated is to contact your landlord, preferably in writing. The landlord typically has 30 days to act on any health and safety violations unless it is an emergency. You can take further action if the owner fails to respond during this time. A landlord/tenant attorney can help you figure out the next steps to take.

In most cases, however, it does not have to come to this. Most of these issues can be resolved by talking with the property owner, who may not even know what is happening. The covenant of quiet enjoyment is usually implied in residential leases, but you can actually negotiate the specific terms of the agreement when renting the premises. 

In the event that the property owner fails to respond to your appeal, you are allowed to take legal action. If you find yourself in this situation, the attorneys at Drucker & Mattia have you covered. Contact us today.

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