If you’re a landlord of an apartment complex, you’ll deal with your fair share of complaints. Sometimes the problems will be serious issues and other times they’ll be tenants who are never happy with their neighbors or your policies. Either way, you need to understand your role in the situation and how the tenant’s “right to quiet enjoyment” comes into play.
Understanding the Tenant’s Right to Quiet Enjoyment
There is a legal covenant pertaining to most rental properties called the right to quiet enjoyment. This is a statement within a tenant’s lease that entitles tenants to certain rights that make their living conditions peaceful and private. It includes the rights to reasonable privacy, freedom from unreasonable disturbance, exclusive possession, and use of common areas for reasonable purposes without significant interference.
One of the most common issues you’ll face with the right to quiet enjoyment is neighbor disturbances. When a neighboring tenant causes major problems, the landlord has certain legal obligations to help the situation. Disruptions to the tenant’s quiet enjoyment might include blocked parking spaces, loud neighbors, barking dogs, or harassment of any kind.
When these disruptions arise, the first thing the tenant will do is enlist the help of the landlord. As a landlord, you have a duty to listen to the complaint and take the necessary action to resolve it. Sometimes the action can be a small thing, such as reminding the harassing tenant of their lease terms, or it could be as drastic as forcibly evicting them.
If landlords do not aid in the recovery of quiet enjoyment, the tenant can legally break their lease without further liability for rent. There may also be the risk of a lawsuit. Either one of these options is no good for your rental business since both will cost you precious capital.
The Parameters of the Right to Quiet Enjoyment
It’s important to recognize that the right to quiet enjoyment only falls on your shoulders when the disturbances happen on your property. Problems with parking, vandalism, noisy neighbors, and other situations that occur onsite fall under this jurisdiction.
However, you are not liable for a tenant’s conduct outside of your property lines. So, if one tenant gets in a fight with another at a bar, they may come to you to help resolve the situation. This is not your responsibility, and you can stay out of it without any legal repercussions.
Be wary, though, since these kinds of arguments often escalate into harassment issues on your own property. When there’s evidence of significant poor neighborly conduct onsite, you have a legal responsibility to get involved.
Mitigating the Right to Quiet Enjoyment
Your role as a landlord is to defuse the situation and restore the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment. Here are a few steps you’ll want to follow to achieve this.
- Find Evidence for a Breach of Quiet Enjoyment: Unfortunately, you can’t take most tenants by their word. Sometimes, certain tenants will simply be ultra-sensitive or want to get back at another tenant for something, so they’ll complain excessively, even if other tenants aren’t doing anything. You’ll want evidence that there’s actually a problem, whether you witness it or find obvious signs of a disturbance.
Additionally, the disturbance has to be quite significant to qualify for help under the right for quiet enjoyment. Temporary discomfort or a slight inconvenience doesn’t qualify.
- Handle the Problem: If you’ve found evidence for a tenant disturbance, you’re obligated to handle it with care. There are several things you can do to work out the problem.
- Compensate for Damages or Loss: If your actions are responsible for any damages or loss to tenant property, you’ll need to replace and repair it. The same goes for bodily harm during an accident that may be your fault. For example, if renovations in the hallway result in a tenant tripping and breaking their arm, your insurance will need to cover the medical bills.
- Lay Down the Law: Talk to tenants who are harassing others or causing unnecessary noise. Remind them of their responsibilities as tenants and how their actions are breaking their lease agreement, which is grounds for eviction. If necessary, get the authorities involved to help reduce the hassle.
- Evict: It’s not something landlords like to do, but when your actions do no good and your other tenants are suffering as a result, you might have to evict tenants who are disturbing the peace. Note that evicting a tenant without reasonable cause will get you into big trouble. Find legal ground and plenty of evidence to kick someone out beforehand.
- Understand the Consequences: If you have been made aware of a problem and you ignore it, the tenant has legal power against you. They can bring down the law on your head and break the lease. Tenants who are really upset and know the right people could put you out of business with a lawsuit.
That being said, these consequences only apply if you’ve been remiss in your duties as a landlord. If a tenant comes to you with a problem, you don’t investigate, and it turns out to be a really bad situation, you’ll be liable for the damages.
Let Green Residential Handle the Right of Quiet Enjoyment For You
When followed, these steps can be immensely helpful in mitigating risks and handling any of your disturbances. However, it’s not always as easy as it sounds on paper. Confronting tenants about their disorderly content can be daunting and unfruitful. The resulting eviction process can often feel impossible.
Green Residential can handle the right of quiet enjoyment for you. We can be the liaison between you and your tenants, laying down the law and their legal duty to adhere to it. With our legal help and thorough understanding of lease agreements, we can make sure the message gets across clearly.
The eviction process can also get messy and unreasonable if you try to handle it without professional help. Our eviction services make the entire process easy for you. We make sure that you have reasonable grounds for an eviction before taking action so that you don’t have to worry about legal trouble. The entire process is quick and efficient for your convenience so you can get the bad tenants out and protect your quality renters.
For more information about our services, eviction process, legal responsibilities as a landlord, or anything else on the subject, contact us today!