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Monday, 9 December 2013

Tenancy Rights: Quiet Enjoyment

Q: I previously briefly mentioned quiet enjoyment in May 2010, but today I need to elaborate based on this question: Does the law allow for a single tenant to host an event which will disrupt the peace and quiet of other tenants?

A: Yes, as long as there is no continuous, long term disturbance.

Quiet Enjoyment 
Based on case-law, all landlords are under an implied obligation to allow their tenants “quiet enjoyment” of the rental premises. No one, including the landlord, his/her employee or agent shall interfere with a tenant’s right to possession of and to the lawful use and enjoyment of the premises. 

Substantial Interference
It has long been understood that the word “quiet” in quiet enjoyment does not mean the absence of noise, although a number of cases on the subject have been noise related.  “Quiet” in this context means without interference.  Interference with the right of quiet enjoyment must be substantial and what amounts to substantial will always depend on the facts of the case.  

For example: London Borough of Southwark v Mills, Baxter v LB Camden [1999] 3 WLR 939
Mills & Baxter were tenants in government properties owned by the Borough. Their complaints related to the lack of soundproofing in the apartments, which meant they could hear the daily activities of their neighbours, such as walking across the floor, using the toilet, watching television, so they brought actions in nuisance against the Borough.

House of Lords' decision:
There was no nuisance. Nuisance is based on the concept of the reasonable user, and.the use of the apartments was reasonable. The claimants had not sought to argue that the neighbours created excessive noise or act in ways which were unreasonable. The Borough could not therefore be liable for authorising a nuisance that did not exist.

A temporary interference is also unlikely to give rise to a successful claim.
Essentially, in order to be successful in claiming a breach of the quiet enjoyment covenant a tenant must prove that:
1.       there has been a new activity after the grant of the lease; and
2.       that there has been serious and persistent disturbance to the tenant’s occupation of the premises.


  1. Q : I will like to know

    police pounded on my front door at about 2am , then without identifying who they were kicked in my front door, completely removing it from the frame, leavingmy home open to intruders. They entered my apartment with a long gun, came into my bedroom, told us to come into the living room and sit on the couch . we asked them why didnt they identify who l=they were before the began to pound on the door. They said they did but we did not respond. I did not hear them, all i heard was a loud terrifying bang then a kick.

    It has been about 2 and a half years and i still cannot hear anyone banging on a door. My heart races off and i being to panic. even if i know the person banging on the door i get scared. this emotional trauma does not only happen at home but anywhere i hear a loud bang on a door, i become emotionally scared. What are my options?

    1. You have no options...

      Were they legitimately banging on the door?

  2. Hi Good day.
    I live on a very quiet residential street surrounded by personal residents and guesthouses. Recently a new owner bought the house next door and they or family or guests visits fairly often that is probably every 2 weeks or any holiday periods spending from 2 to 7 days average in length. However during that time it is a living nightmare especially for my family since we are nearest to their property. As soon a s they arrive they start playing music which is unbearably loud to the level that we cannot hear what each other is saying in a normal conversation, we cannot listen to the TV, we cannot sleep in our bedroom nearest the property. We have called the police on numerous occasions ...the police arrive and tell them to turn the music down to which they comply but they turn it back up as soon as the police leaves. This noise starts from about 10 am and goes maybe around 2am or 11pm if the officers come. They also look out for the police vehicle and sometimes turn the music off just before the car arrives and later turns it back up again. Its like having fun with the police while causing us immense distress. We pray for they to leave so we can find peace but as the norm they return about 2 per month on average and do the same thing again. We have also called EMA who told us that it is a police matter. At present we feel helpless. What are our options please.

  3. Good day! The house upstairs ours was rebuilt after ours from board to concrete due to termite infestation. since then, the owner upstairs has rented out the place. Whenever new tenants come we let them know that the flooring was never insulated properly. The newest set of tenants do not seem to care and walk very loudly as if on purpose. Sometimes for about fifteen minutes consistently at a time as if a giant is pacing. They bring two small children who run in the apartment even after several complaints. The noise gives me migranes, makes me aggressive and I lack proper sleep. I have made complaints to the landlady about it which have been ignored. What can be done about this.

    1. Do you expect them to tiptoe? Short of cutting off their feet, your only option is to find another place to call home.

  4. Good day i am a landlord and being a good landlord i told my tenants they can stay out their depowit and they need to leave motnh end meaning january 2018 but since i told them they hqve to leave the are causing a disturbance by plqying music loud and they threaten to damage the place etc now they domt want to answer my calls or when i gave them notice they didnt want to sigh that they collected it what should i do i cannot leave them until month end because i would loose more tenants


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