The Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment is one of the rights tenants have once they sign the lease. This gives your tenant the right to enjoy their rented premises in quiet and peace, away from any unnecessary disruptions.
As a landlord, you have a responsibility of ensuring your tenants remain in peace regardless of whether it’s mentioned on the lease or not. Windermere Property Management has put together this article so you can learn everything you need to about the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment and avoid any costsly complaints.
Defining The Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment
An implied covenant is an agreement that isn’t contained in any written contract. This means that the covenant exists regardless of whether you’ve addressed it in the lease or not. What’s more, as a landlord, forcing your tenant to waive this covenant would be unlawful.
Quiet enjoyment is an implied term in a lease, whereupon landlords are required to provide their tenant with quiet enjoyment of their rented premises. Landlords should be able to allow their tenants to reasonably enjoy their rented premises in peace, comfort, and privacy.
The Rights the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment Gives Tenants
Once a tenant signs a lease, they are guaranteed certain rights as follows:
Undisturbed Use of the Property
Landlords are responsible for ensuring that tenants live in peace and comfort. Among other things, this means notifying the tenant before entry, responding to their maintenance requests on time, and providing them all the amenities and facilities promised in the lease.
Exercising Their Rights
Creating conditions that are designed to encourage your tenant to break their lease is unlawful. A good example of this is failing to perform maintenance tasks in a timely and responsible manner. Another is deliberately destroying your tenant’s property.
To Live in a Safe and Secure Home
As a landlord, you have a responsibility to ensure your tenants are reasonably safe from criminal intrusion. Your property must, at the very least, have basic safety features such as window locks and deadbolt doors.
To Live in a Habitable Rental Property
Every state defines the basic health, safety, and structural codes that a property must meet via the Fair Housing Act. Examples of such things that make a property habitable include hot water, drinkable water, adequate provision for lighting, and working electrical and plumbing features.
The Right to Exclusive use of their Rented Property
Even as a landlord, it’d be illegal for you to barge in on your tenant unannounced. In Washington State, you must provide your tenant with a notice of at least 2 days prior to entry. The only exception to this is in case of emergency or whenever it’s impractical for you to do so.
Requirements of Landlord Entry in Spokane
Entering your tenant’s rented premises unannounced is a violation of the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment and it can effect your relationship with the tenant. That’s because, RCW 59.18. 150 mandates landlords to seek their tenant’s consent prior to entering their rented premises.
In Washington State, you must provide your tenant a notice of at least 2 days prior to the entry. What’s more, your reason for entry must be reasonable, as well. As a landlord, you can enter for any of the following reasons after serving the tenant with the notice.
- To inspect the unit after a tenant moves out.
- To ensure the property is habitable by ensuring any maintenance, rennovation or repair tasks are taken care of.
- To carry out improvements to the property.
- When providing services that have been requested by the tenant.
- When issuing an eviction notice to the tenant.
- If you have reasons to believe the tenant has abandoned the rental unit.
- Under the orders of a court.
To show the unit to prospective tenants, lenders, or buyers. Here, you must provide your tenant at least a one day’s notice.
In addition to providing the required notice and having a legitimate reason for entry, you must also include certain details in the notice. That is, the time of entry, and the phone number and name of the person who your tenant can call to reschedule the written notices.
Violations of the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment
As a landlord, you may find yourself in violation of the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment by engaging in any of the following actions.
- Entering your tenant’s rental unit repeatedly and without servicing them the requisite notice period.
- Snooping through the tenant’s property.
- Failing to respond to your tenant’s request to withdraw or minimize disruptive behaviors impacting their quiet enjoyment.
- Harassing your tenant. Landlord harassment can take many forms, including causing deliberate destruction to your tenant’s property, refusal to acknowledge a rent payment, and withholding amenities.
- Terminating or restricting hot water, electricity, and other essential services.
- Failing to provide the items, services and facilities promised under the lease agreement.
- Failing to repair things that have a negative impact on a tenant’s safety and habitability.
- Barring your tenant from enjoying their rented premises, like entertaining their guests.
Disturbances that are not Violations
Not all disturbances are the same as per the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment. The following are examples of disturbances that may not be in violation of the covenant.
- Knocking on the door to demand rent that has fallen due.
- Noise from wildlife, such as crickets and birds.
- Footsteps from tenants living upstairs.
- When carrying out repairs or maintenance tasks requested by the tenant.
There you have it. Everything you need to know about the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment. However, please note that is only one of many legal obligations you have as a landlord. Others include the warranty of habitability, the Fair Housing Act, security deposit rules, and the lead disclosure rule.
If you have any further questions regarding this or any other property management issue, don’t hesitate to contact us at Windermere Property Management.