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Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Quiet Enjoyment

The right of quiet enjoyment is the right of a tenant to enjoy a rented property without intrusion or disturbance by the landlord.

The leading Trinidad & Tobago case on this matter is:

Ram v Ramkissoon [1968] 13 WIR 332

The appellant was a statutory tenant of two rooms in a central portion of a building where he carried on business as a jeweller. The building was old and in a bad state of repair, and its two end portions had been unoccupied for several years. The respondent landlord, who owned the whole building, wished to obtain vacant possession of the central portion also.

While ejectment proceedings were pending, the respondent removed the galvanized iron sheets from the roof of both end portions of the building. The appellant complained that, as a direct consequence of the removal of the roof, rainwater seeped through the rooms he occupied, causing annoyance, discomfort and physical damage to his property. He claimed damages for breach of the landlord’s implied covenant for quiet enjoyment.

The damage suffered by the appellant was sufficiently substantial to constitute a breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment.

A covenant for quiet enjoyment must be implied from the respondent's contract of letting. To constitute an actionable breach, the interference with the tenant’s enjoyment of the tenancy must be substantial.
The course of conduct by the landlord seriously interfered with the tenant’s proper freedom in action in exercising his right of possession, tended to deprive him of the full benefit of it, and was an invasion of his rights as tenant to remain in possession undisturbed, and so would in itself constitute a breach of covenant.

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