Every lease contains a covenant of quiet enjoyment, either in writing or implied by law. The right to quiet enjoyment refers to the tenant’s right to possess and fully use leased property without interference from the landlord during the course of the tenancy. There is a proviso, though: the use must be ordinary and lawful.
If there is a written clause providing for quiet enjoyment in the lease, it will override the right implied by common law. For example, if there was an intention to restrict a tenant’s ability to use premises, there needs to be an express provision in the lease setting out the extent of that restriction.
Tenants may seek compensation or damages for losses caused by substantial interference by the landlord or their agents (or other tenants leasing premises from the same landlord). It is also common to obtain injunctions preventing or restraining actions where the covenant is being, or is likely to be breached.
Occurrences before a lease was granted will not give rise to substantial interference. This is because the tenant is deemed to have entered the lease with knowledge of the interference unless, for example, there has been a significant misrepresentation about it. Lawful actions by a landlord such as inspections mandated by the lease, or unlawful acts not authorised by the landlord will not give rise to a breach.
Interference does not necessarily require positive steps to be a breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment. It may also arise where there has been an omission, such as failure to prevent excessive noise or flooding by water from a neighbouring property owned by the landlord.
Finn Roache Lawyers has extensive experience in acting in tenancy disputes and we are ready to help if you have a leasing dispute.