Most tenancy agreements, whether commercial or residential, will include an agreement on the part of the landlord for quiet enjoyment of the premises.
What does Quiet Enjoyment Mean?
Common law states that every landlord must allow their tenant quiet enjoyment of the property they are renting. This means that a landlord must make sure that no one interferes the tenant’s right to possession of, and enjoyment of, the premises. This could relate to the landlord themself, or a letting agent. A tenant may claim damages or potentially an injunction, if any interference does not cease.
The quiet part of quiet enjoyment does not relate to noise. In this context, it means without interference. Enjoyment means to have the use and benefit of the premises.
In fact, in a case of the London Borough of Southward vs. Mills, the House of Lords overruled a breach of quiet enjoyment after the tenant claimed against the landlord because of excessive noise from other tenants within the building. It concluded that the tenant began renting when the flats were already noisy. Their property was also found to have satisfactory soundproofing.
Temporary interferences are also likely to make a claim unsuccessful.
For a tenant to claim a breach of quiet enjoyment, they must prove:
- That there has been a new activity after the grant of the lease, and
- That there has been serious and persistent disturbance to the tenant’s occupation of the premises.1
The Court of Appeal has also claimed that the breach of quiet enjoyment does not apply against all disturbances. In one case, a landlord had scaffolding to carry out repairs on the outside of a tenant’s restaurant building. The claimant stated that this made the restaurant seem closed, and caused dust and inconvenience within the premises.
The Court of Appeal ended in favour of the landlord, stating that it was the landlord’s responsibility to conduct repair works for the benefit of both parties.
A landlord will also not breach quiet enjoyment if they enter a tenant’s property to follow a right set out in the agreement, for example, conducting inspections or repairs.
Invasive surveys, obstructing a tenant’s access to their premises, or causing damage to the property by an act or omission taking place on an adjoining property will put a landlord at risk of a claim.