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What is “Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment”?

Quiet Enjoyment

Tenants have certain rights under federal law, such as the “Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment.” This law guarantees every tenant in the country the right to quiet and peaceful enjoyment of their rented property.

As a landlord, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with this law prior to renting out your property. If you don’t, you can face several consequences.

For one, your Florida tenant could choose to move out of your rental without further obligations to the lease agreement. Also, your tenant could choose to sue you for breaching the covenant.

In this post, Florida Property Management & Sales is answering commonly asked questions regarding the “Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment.”

What Does an “Implied Covenant” and “Quiet Enjoyment” Mean?

An “implied covenant” is an agreement that isn’t explicitly mentioned in a contractual agreement. However, it exists regardless.

As for “quiet enjoyment,” this is the undisturbed use and enjoyment of a rental property by a tenant. Tenants obtain two entitlements in this regard:

  1. The right to live in a habitable dwelling
  2. The right to live in peace and quiet

A habitable dwelling is one that meets the state and local safety, health and building codes.

At the very least, the Implied Warranty of Habitability requires that a landlord provide:

  • Safe drinking water
  • Hot water
  • Working bathroom and toilet
  • Working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Adequate ventilation system
  • Working electricity
  • Reasonable protection from criminal harm
  • Sanitary premises

Tenant Relaxing

As for the second entitlement, your tenant has the right to live in peace and quiet, away from unnecessary disruptions.

Once your tenant signs the lease, they become entitled to:

  • Reasonable peace and comfort. As a landlord, you must eliminate or minimize any disruptions that can impact a tenant’s right to peace and quiet enjoyment.
  • Live in privacy. Once your tenant signs the lease, you’ll have a legal obligation to respect their privacy. It’d be illegal for you, for instance, to barge in on your tenant unannounced.

Under What Circumstances can a Landlord Enter a Rented Premises?

Generally, the following are the common reasons for landlord entry:

  • To show the property to prospective tenants. This is common when the lease is about to expire, and they need to re-rent their unit.
  • To make needed repairs or improvements.
  • In case of an emergency.
  • When given permission by the tenant.
  • When they have reasons to believe the tenant has abandoned the rental property, such as if there was a moving van at the unit and/or the utilities have been shut off.
  • When looking to provide services that the tenant has requested.
  • To issue an eviction notice after a tenant has grossly violated the terms of the lease agreement.

How Much Notice do Landlords in Florida have to Provide their Tenants Prior to Entry?

In Florida, landlords are required to give tenants reasonable notice prior to entering their rented unit. Specifically, you must provide your tenant a notice of at least 12 hours prior to entering their rented unit.

The only exceptions to this is during an emergency or when a tenant abandons the unit.

Tenant Drinking From Mug

What are some Examples of Disturbances to Quiet Enjoyment?

The following are examples of disturbances to quiet enjoyment:

  • Entering your tenant’s rented premises without a prior notice.
  • Going through your tenant’s personal belongings without their permission.
  • Failing to eliminate or minimize disruptions impacting your tenant’s peace and quiet enjoyment.
  • Harassing your tenant either in person or over the phone.
  • Failing to provide amenities promised in the lease.
  • Failing to conduct repairs within a reasonable period of time.
  • Putting restrictions on how your tenant can enjoy the property, like limiting when and how they can entertain their guests.
  • Failing to act on a neighbor who engages in disruptive behavior, such as playing loud music at night.
  • Doing unnecessary remodeling work that takes longer than initially proposed.

What are some Common Examples of Acceptable Disturbances?

The following are examples of acceptable disturbances:

  • Noises from wildlife, like birds or crickets.
  • Footsteps from neighbors that live upstairs.
  • Scheduled maintenance or repairs as long as proper notice is served prior to the entry.
  • Emergency repairs or maintenance.
  • Routine inspections, particularly those mentioned in the lease or rental agreement.
  • Repeated calls from a landlord inquiring about late or missed payments.

Does your Tenant have any Obligations regarding Noise?

Yes! Like every other citizen, your tenant has a responsibility to follow civil laws and noise ordinances. Therefore, it’d be unlawful for your tenant to infringe on other people’s right to quiet enjoyment.

Tenant Relaxing On The Couch

There are endless ways in which noise can be created.

Common examples include noise from:

  • Parties and gatherings
  • Children crying
  • Children playing, running, or yelling
  • Pets
  • Heavy walking, running or stomping overhead
  • Loud music or television

If the neighbor is also a tenant, then you’d be able to invoke a term of the lease that addresses the issue. However, in the absence of a lease, then the disturbance would simply be a nuisance. As such, the neighbor could choose to make a nuisance complaint by calling the police.

If the issue contains over some time, it may be in your best interest to evict the tenant. Otherwise, the city may decide to sue you for the disturbances instead.

Bottom Line

Landlords in Florida have a legal duty to ensure their tenants enjoy their property in peace and quiet.

If you’re just getting started and don’t know your landlording obligations, Florida Property Management & Sales can help!

Contact us today.