It's day two of our festive blog series and today we are looking at peace and quiet.
A common misconception is that a quiet enjoyment covenant entitles a tenant to peace and quiet. Unfortunately the law is not that simple.
A quiet enjoyment covenant can be expressed or implied and essentially means that a landlord cannot interfere with a tenant's possession and enjoyment of their property. The landlord therefore cannot simply walk in to the premises (subject to lease notice requirements) or carry out works which interfere with the tenant's access to their property.
The covenant does not, however, entitle a tenant to prohibit their landlord from carrying out works which may cause noise or disturbance. A quiet enjoyment covenant must be balanced with rights which the landlord may retain to carry out works on the rest of their premises. As long as the landlord takes reasonable steps to minimise the disturbance to the tenant then in most instances the quiet enjoyment covenant will not be breached even if peace is disturbed.
A landlord should take the following steps:
- Provide information to the tenant about the intended works and timetable to completion;
- If appropriate advise the tenant that noisy works will be limited to certain hours of the day;
- Consider whether it would be reasonable to offer financial compensation to the tenant for any disturbance caused;
- Explain to the tenant if the works will ultimately benefit them (such as smartening up common parts).
In the event that a landlord has failed to follow these steps a tenant may be entitled to seek injunctive relief for breach of covenant.