Quiet enjoyment

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All Lease agreements will contain an obligation by the landlord to allow the tenant the 'quiet enjoyment' of the property. If the agreement is not made explictly in a covenant (see leasehold covenant) it will be implied by the courts. 'Quiet' enjoyment has nothing to do with noise, although some of the reported cases do concern noise. Rather it implies that the tenant has a right to use the property without interference by the landlord. There is a vast amount of case law on this subject, none of which I have time to describe. The principle that seems to emerge is that it is clearly a breach of the covenant if the landlord prevents the tenant using the property at all, or acts to make such use inconceivable (cuts of the electricity, takes the windows out, etc). However, it is not a breach if the landlord merely inconveniences or irritates the tenant. In addition, to amount to a breach the interference must be with the property itself; actions of the landlord outside the vicinity of the property do not amount to a breach, however inconvenient for the tenant (see harmer v jumbil (1921)), but they may amount to a breach of the implied covenant that the landlord will not derogate from his grant (see derogation from grant).

A landlord is not liable, in general, on the covenant for quiet enjoyment if the breach is the responsibility of a third party. However, for policy reasons, he usually will be liable for the acts of his other tenants. So, for example, if you lease a flat in a block owned by the same landlord, you might have a cause of action against the landlord if one of your fellow tenants disturbed your quiet enjoyment of the property.

Land and Property Law