Explanation of Tenants Rights to Quiet Enjoyment

Almost all rental laws include a provision that tenants have the right to have a quiet enjoyment of the property they are renting.

What does this actually mean?

In basic terms, it means that a landlord or property manager cannot just walk into the apartment any time they wish.

A written notice must be given in many communities before any entrance can be made unless there is a health emergency or court order granting entry.

It also means a property owner might not be able to show an apartment or house for sale as often as they'd like. The term “quiet enjoyment” is very generic. This means that different types of tenants will have different requirements. Here are some things to consider.

Does Your Tenant Work From Home?

If you have a tenant that works from home, then you are disturbing their quiet enjoyment at any point you need entry during their normal business hours.

Unfortunately work from home professionals don't always keep standard business hours, which means your request for entry by fall at an unreasonable hour for them.

Although standard reasonable times are generally 8am to 8pm, someone who works from 4pm to 1am would find the 4pm to 8pm window unreasonable and could file a claim.

Does Your Tenant Have Young Children?

Families with young children generally put their children to bed between 7pm-8pm at night.

They may also have a parent stay at home during the day to assist in the care of the child.

This means evening hours are definitely out in most circumstances because you'd be interrupting bath and bed time routines.

Day hours are generally fine unless your tenant is also homeschooling, which creates additional disruption issues.

Does Your Tenant Have Pets?

If your tenant is out during the day most of the time, then notified entries while they are gone are generally not an issue.

This becomes an issue, however, if your tenant has pets that are kept inside while they are away from the rental unit.

Dogs are the biggest issue because of their territorial nature. Your entry may cause a ruckus which could generate noise complaints and although some might try to pin that on the tenant, it could be construed as a landlord issue.

You do have a right to show the property to new prospective renters or to potential buyers.

It's the amount of showings that you have that can affect the quiet enjoyment that a tenant is entitled to have.

For most households, one or two showings per week is generally considered fair, especially if you work with the tenant and their schedule.

If you have four or five showings per week that interrupt your client's job or their ability to school their children, it could be considered excessive.

Just remember: don't show up and expect your tenant to just let you in.

Unless there is a written notice of intent to entry or a severe emergency that requires evaluation and repair, a tenant doesn't have to let you in.

If you're consistently ringing the doorbell or even if you just arrive on the property three or four times per week to take care of the landscaping, it could be considered excessive and a violation of landlord-tenant law, even if there are lease provisions that allow your entry or presence on the property.

Posted on Aug 21, 2014


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