What is the "Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment"?
by Justin Cory
on Friday, February 25th, 2022 at 11:33am.
Tenants obtain many rights once they sign the lease agreement. One such right is the right to enjoy their rented premises in peace and quiet, which is enshrined in law as the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment.
The Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment is a federal law that your tenants are entitled to regardless of whether or not you’ve mentioned it in the lease agreement. It requires you to ensure your tenant lives in their rented premises in peace and quiet, away from unreasonable nuisances, noises, and disruptions.
What Do the Terms Implied and Quiet Mean?
The meaning of ‘imply’ is to express indirectly. And whenever something is implied, it’s understood to be true or to exist, although it’s not stated directly or in a legal agreement.
When it comes to the term ‘quiet’, it simply means that you have a responsibility to protect your tenant’s right to undisturbed and peaceful habitation in the property.
What Does it Mean to Abide by the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment?
The Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment requires landlords to do everything possible to ensure their tenants enjoy their rented properties undisturbed. The following are the rights your tenant has under the implied covenant:
The Right to Live in Peace and Comfort
As a landlord, you’ll be in violation of interfering with your tenant’s peace and comfort by engaging in certain acts such as withholding maintenance, assaulting, or harassing your tenant.
The Right to the Exclusive Use of the Property
The only exception to be made here is when landlord entry is required. But that doesn’t mean entering your tenant’s unit for whatever reason or whenever you feel like it. There are laws in place to regulate that, as well.
The Right to Live in a Habitable Rental Property
The Warranty of Habitability requires landlords to provide their tenants with a property that meets the basic health and safety codes. Such as, hot water, drinkable water, working electricity, heat during colder seasons, working bathroom and toilet, adequate ventilating system, and reasonable protection from criminal harm must be provided.
The Right to Live in a Safe and Secure Home
As a landlord, you have a legal responsibility to protect your tenants. You must ensure, at the very least, that basic safety standards such as deadbolt locks, window locks, and suitable emergency exist are in place.
What are the Requirements for Landlord Entry in Clarksville, TN?
Your Clarksville tenants have a right to live in their rental unit in privacy, per the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment. However, a landlord can only enter their tenant’s premises only for certain legal reasons.
The following are the most common reasons for landlord entry:
When permitted by the tenant.
In the event of an emergency. A dishwasher that isn’t functioning hardly qualifies. Whereas, a window that is left open in the face of a looming rainstorm does.
To carry out the required maintenance. This also includes entry with repair people.
If the tenant abandons their rental property. It’d be reasonable for a landlord to conclude that a tenant has abandoned their property if, for example, a neighbor reports seeing the tenant’s property being put in a moving van.
To show the unit to prospective buyers, lenders, or tenants. This, however, doesn’t mean that you can hold endless open houses.
When carrying out inspections. Typical inspections include move-in/out inspection, drive-by inspection, and seasonal inspections. Landlords have a responsibility to mention them in writing in the lease agreement.
Under orders of the court. Unlike some other states, Tennessee doesn’t have laws on notice requirements for landlords when it comes to accessing rented premises. That notwithstanding, most landlords do give their tenants reasonable notice before entry.
What are some examples of Violations of the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment?
Make repeated entries to your tenant’s rental unit without notifying them beforehand.
Spying on your tenant. For example, installing CCTV cameras on the property without your tenant’s knowledge.
Failing to keep noises, nuisances, and disruptions to a minimum.
Harassing your tenant either in person or over the phone.
Terminating essential services previously available to the tenant. This is a form of “constructive eviction” and it’s illegal in the state of Tennessee and elsewhere in the country.
Ignoring your tenant’s repair or maintenance requests. If you fail to do so, your tenant will have a right to make the repairs themselves and then deduct the cost from future rent payments.
Prohibiting your tenant from enjoying their property, for example, by entertaining guests.
What Disturbances Can be Considered Acceptable?
The following are some examples of disturbances that may not necessarily be considered violations of a tenant’s peace and quiet:
Knocking on your Clarksville tenant’s door to ask about the rent due.
Noise from wildlife, such as crickets and birds.
When carrying out repair or maintenance works.
Footsteps from tenants living a floor above them.
What Are Some Consequences of Failing to Abide by the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment?
If you fail to abide by the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment, the following consequences may apply:
Your tenant may stop further rent payments
Your tenant may have a legal justification to break their lease
Your tenant may choose to sue you for damages resulting from you breaching the covenant
The Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment is only one of many laws that landlords must abide by when renting out their properties.
If you’re a new landlord, or even a seasoned investor and don’t quite understand your legal obligations, Cory Real Estate Services can help. We are a professional property management company serving Clarksville and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to learn more about our services!