A quiet enjoyment clause is a provision in a residential lease agreement stating the tenants’ right to peacefully reside on the premises without disruption or harassment from the landlord.
Sample Quiet Enjoyment Clause
Below is an example of a quiet enjoyment clause that could be incorporated into a residential lease agreement:
The Tenant, upon payment of rent and adherence to all agreements contained in this Lease Agreement, shall have peaceful and quiet enjoyment of the Premises for the Term without disturbance or harassment from the Landlord subject to the terms and conditions of this Lease. Disturbance or harassment includes discrimination of any form, violations of the Tenant’s privacy and safety, or withholding the Tenant’s use of basic utilities (such as heat, electricity, and hot water). The Landlord shall not be held liable for any disturbance or harassment by other tenants or third persons, nor shall the Tenant be released from their obligations of this Lease Agreement due to such disturbance or harassment.
Why Include a Quiet Enjoyment Clause in a Residential Lease Agreement?
A quiet enjoyment clause protects tenants from wrongful evictions and disruptive behavior from their landlord. In most states, this clause is recognized as an implied covenant—meaning that a court will recognize this clause regardless of it being addressed in the lease agreement. However, landlords may still choose to include it for added protection and clarification among tenants.
Under the quiet enjoyment clause, tenants are usually protected in the following areas:
- The right to privacy – this prevents the landlord from entering the property without the tenant’s permission or without providing proper notice
- The right to peace and quiet – landlords must resolve significant disturbances within the building that interfere with the tenant’s ability to live peacefully on the property
- The right to freedom from discrimination – landlords are prohibited from discriminating against tenants in any form
- The right to safety and security – tenants have the right to a safe and livable dwelling that is free from threats from the landlord or other tenants
- The right to basic utilities – tenants have the right to basic utilities such as heat, electricity, and hot water
In most circumstances, if the covenant of quiet enjoyment is violated, the landlord has an opportunity to cure the violation. Tenants should notify the landlord, in writing, of any disturbances on the property. If the landlord fails to cure the violation, then the tenant may proceed with legal action.
What Qualifies as a Disturbance to a Tenant’s Quiet Enjoyment?
It is important to note that this clause does not hold the landlord accountable for all noise disturbances on the property. In order for a violation to occur, it usually takes significant disturbance from the landlord or failure to resolve building disruptions. Below are a few situations that could qualify as disturbances to a tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment:
- Frequent or unnecessary inspections of the tenant’s rental unit
- Verbal or physical harassment from the landlord
- Maintenance or construction on the property that takes an unreasonable amount of time to complete
- Shutting off tenant’s utilities as a form of retaliation or harassment
Below are a few scenarios that do not typically qualify as a breach of quiet enjoyment:
- Scheduled maintenance or repairs with adequate notice from the landlord
- Emergency maintenance or repairs
- Traffic or street noise that is not caused by the landlord or tenants
- Occasional dog barking that is under control and not ongoing
- Routine inspections with proper notice given
What to Include in a Quiet Enjoyment Clause
Landlords should include the following information in their quiet enjoyment clause:
- Acknowledgement of the tenant’s right to peaceful and quiet enjoyment on the premises
- Actions that qualify as a disturbance to a tenant’s quiet enjoyment
- Statement releasing the landlord from liability due to the actions of other tenants or third parties
- Acknowledgement that both parties understand the terms of the agreement
- Any additional terms or conditions
Landlords should have a thorough understanding of both state and local laws before creating their quiet enjoyment clause.