Quiet enjoyment – what does it mean?

Quiet enjoyment – what does it mean?

9:54 AM, 10th April 2015, About 7 years ago 19

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I am a landlord myself, but a friend of mine who is a tenant is at her wits end. She’s been in a ground floor conversion flat for nearly 2 years with a tenancy that ends in February with no break clause.

She and her husband are disturbed night after night by the tenants upstairs and are getting very little sleep. Maybe just an hour or so consecutively! The neighbours are young students so there is always someone in and making a noise. A lot of the noise is caused by poor insulation. My friend can no longer stand it and just wants to end the tenancy.

What does ‘quiet enjoyment’ actually mean?

  • Is it not being disturbed by the landlord
  • Does it spread wider to something that the landlord has no control over.

They are very placid people and not in the slightest bit difficult. I’ve had a trawl through past discussions but can’t find anything that fits this one. I’ve never had this issue and generally if a tenant of mine wants to leave I just let them go.

Many thanks

Elizabethquiet enjoyment


Neil Patterson View Profile

10:00 AM, 10th April 2015, About 7 years ago

Hi Elizabeth,

A good question and I have found a definition in a legal dictionary below:

Courts read a covenant of quiet enjoyment between the Landlord and Tenant into every rental agreement, or tenancy. Thus a renter, or tenant, has the right to quiet enjoyment of the leased premises regardless of whether the rental agreement contains such a covenant.

In the covenant of quiet enjoyment, the landlord promises that during the term of the tenancy no one will disturb the tenant in the tenant's use and enjoyment of the premises. Quiet enjoyment includes the right to exclude others from the premises, the right to peace and quiet, the right to clean premises, and the right to basic services such as heat and hot water and, for high-rise buildings, elevator service. In many respects the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment is similar to an Implied Warranty of habitability, which warrants that the landlord will keep the leased premises in good repair. For example, the failure to provide heat would be a breach of the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment because the lack of heat would interfere with the tenant's use of the premises and would also make the premises uninhabitable, especially in a cold climate.

Tenants have at least two remedies for a landlord's breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment: the tenant can cease to pay rent until the problem is solved, or the tenant can move out. A tenant who moves out may be liable for any rent owing under the agreement if a court decides that the landlord did not breach the covenant of quiet enjoyment.

Neil Patterson View Profile

10:05 AM, 10th April 2015, About 7 years ago

In this instance though the Landlord is not causing the problem, so we will need help form readers that have had issues with neighbours such as this.

I am assuming if it is that bad you could just report it to the council or even the police.

Harlequin Garden

10:16 AM, 10th April 2015, About 7 years ago

I will take it up with the private letting section at the council for her, she's just had enough and had the big brush off from the agent - but I know she can't go on like this, it is literally 2 hours sleep, the neighbours are not being particularly noisy in their action, it's the lack of insulation on stairs/floors/walls that is causing this. I hope that just by giving proof that this is lack of 'quiet enjoyment' they will just let her go. She and her husband do find renting a property very difficult as they are mature overseas students so find credit checks difficult even though they have plenty of capital and both are working the hours they are allowed under their visas, so by giving up this flat I think does show how desperate they are.

Rob Crawford

11:32 AM, 10th April 2015, About 7 years ago

Firstly the tenants should try talking to the occupants causing the nuisance. If this does not work they should ask the landlord to do so. Assuming this fails they need to report this to your local Council Environmental Officer as a nuisance. You landlord cannot do this for you. They will install a noise recorder and assuming the noise is above acceptable limits they will take action against the occupants. If the occupants become abusive or threatening you must report them to the police. Keep a log of all noise/threats etc with date & times. This process takes time but until proven you don't really have a way forward.

Rob Crawford

11:42 AM, 10th April 2015, About 7 years ago

In terms of the insulation, this is not the cause of the noise. Poor insulation in converted properties is often an issue as the building will not have been designed for this purpose and unless addressed during the conversion the insulation will most certainly not be to current noise insulation standards. How you address this in an already converted property can be difficult and can cause a lot of upheaval and can be very costly. Much better for the landlord to support you in addressing the source of the noise, the occupants above.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118 View Profile

11:48 AM, 10th April 2015, About 7 years ago

I was a tenant once. I rented a nice little flat in a peaceful gated community in the centre of Norwich (or so I thought!).

What I hadn't realised is that there was a side entrance to a cinema on the other side of the street. It got very noisy late at night as a result of this.

I moved out at the end of the tenancy but after losing sleep nearly every night for the first month I resorted to using ear plugs for the next 5 months until the tenancy came to an end. I didn't particularly enjoy sleeping with ear plugs which is why I moved out, but it did serve as an interim solution.

Tony Atkins

12:56 PM, 10th April 2015, About 7 years ago

I'm afraid noise transmission has long been a major problem in converted flats. There are fire risks too. Conversions and new-build flats done over the last six or seven years are vastly better as their noise and fire protection makes them into virtually sealed units. The work to correct the problem is very expensive and disruptive: your friends would have to move out.

The only practical solutions are ear plugs and asking the tenants upstairs to be very quiet at certain hours; mats and bare feet or slippers on hard floors also help.

Ian Narbeth View Profile

13:42 PM, 10th April 2015, About 7 years ago

Hi Elizabeth
Sorry to hear about your friend's situation. "Quiet enjoyment" includes more than just not disturbing the tenant by making a noise. We need some more information first.
Do you know if your friend's landlord (FL) is also landlord of the students? Is FL the freeholder of the house or himself a tenant? If a tenant, they need to find the freeholder.

Your friend should complain in writing to FL and ask FL to contact the tenants and/or their landlord and/or the freeholder to ask the students to be less noisy at night.

If the problem is simply caused by poor insulation (as opposed to noisy parties and late-night revelling) then it may be difficult to get anything done. Mark A's suggestion of ear plugs may be the best available.

Jonathan Clarke

16:50 PM, 10th April 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rob Crawford" at "10/04/2015 - 11:32":

I agree with Robs progressive interventionist view.
Start low key and gradually raise the ante.
Quiet enjoyment is very subjective of course. Students can be of course totally oblivious to the knock on effects of their partying. A quiet word in the right ear can sometimes do wonders.

As for what quiet enjoyment is . I was astounded once when I received a letter from the council and freeholder of one of my flats ordering me to prevent my tenant`s dog from pooing in a secluded corner about 50 yards from the flat.!!

They said i was responsible and I was contravening the terms of the lease. It beggars belief that i should somehow have control over my tenant`s dogs bowel movements. I suggested they deal with it in a different manner by targeting the right person and suggested they sent a memo to their own Dog Warden to deal with it.
I didnt here from them again

Harlequin Garden

17:01 PM, 10th April 2015, About 7 years ago

Thanks for all your comments - they have been upstairs and the noise isn't too awful - but the transmission is - one occasion someone was ironing and it was the noise of the board rocking, but it had sounded like someone dancing from the flat below, which is why I'd say it's the insulating of the building that is at fault. So they have also ticked the box of approaching the neighbours, they've reported to the agent, but I guess he's not passing on to the landlord.

I'll advise her to write to the Landlord, if this hasn't already been covered and Freeholder, then council. I don't think she knows if her Landlord also owns upstairs or is the Freeholder, but I can get this info for her.

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