What is ‘Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment’?
Tenants in Saskatchewan have a right to live in quiet and peace. This right is protected through what is known as the ‘implied covenant of quiet enjoyment’. Basically, this covenant prevents you from disturbing your tenant’s peace and quiet while they rent your property.
Additionally, as a landlord, it’s your responsibility to do everything possible to ensure you prevent or halt any disruptions that may breach this important covenant.
The following is a basic overview of the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment.
What Does the Term ‘Implied’ Mean?
If something is implied, it simply means that it is non-verbal and non-written – but, it is still legally binding. Therefore, your tenant possesses the right to quiet enjoyment regardless of whether your lease states so or not.
It is important to note that this right cannot be waived in a residential lease agreement.
What does ‘Quiet Enjoyment’ mean?
Legally, quiet enjoyment is defined as the right to undisturbed use and enjoyment of a rental property by a tenant. It basically guarantees your tenant the following important things.
- The right to live in a safe and habitable property in accordance with the Regina warranty of habitability.
- The right to live in peace and quiet, away from unnecessary disturbances.
- Exclusive use of the rental property.
The only exception to these guarantees right is when you have to access the property to carry out important responsibilities. For instance, as a landlord, you are able to enter the rental to conduct property inspections, or to show it to prospective tenants, buyers, or lenders.
What is a Habitable Rental Property?
For a tenant to enjoy their stay in your rental, the property must be habitable. In other words, you must provide your tenants with a property that abides by all of Regina’s safety standards and health, and structural codes.
Courts have determined that habitable means free from pest infestations. If your rental property is pest-infested, that would constitute a breach of the lease agreement. Consequently, your Regina tenant can request an order requiring you to address the issue and reimburse them for costs related to the infestation.
In more severe cases, your tenant may even have a right to end their tenancy.
What Must Landlords Do Prior to Entering the Rental Unit?
Landlords in Regina have a right to reasonable entry to the property their tenants are occupying. However, that right must be balanced against the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment.
Unless otherwise agreed to by the tenant, you must provide your tenant with an advance notice of entry. This notice can be provided to the tenant between 24 hours and 7 days before you enter the property.
You must include certain important information on the notice. Including:
- A reasonable purpose for entry.
- A maximum 4-hour period when you will enter the property which must be between 8 AM and 8 PM.
It’s important to note that the date of entry must not fall on a Sunday or any other day the tenant uses for religious worship. The only exception to these requirements is in the event of an emergency.
Common reasons for landlord entry in Regina, SK include:
- To inspect the unit in accordance with the lease agreement.
- To make needed or requested repairs.
- When looking to provide a service that the tenant has requested.
- To make property improvements.
- To serve the tenant with important notices.
- If you have a reason to believe your tenant has abandoned the property.
- Under court orders.
- To show the unit to prospective buyers, lenders, and tenants.
How Can a Landlord Violate the Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment?
You can violate the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment in any of the following ways.
- Restricting your tenant’s enjoyment of their rented premises. Examples of this include prohibiting your tenant from entertaining guests or ignoring your tenant’s maintenance requests.
- Creating conditions that impact their peace and quiet enjoyment, such as creating unnecessary disruptions. These disruptions can also be a form of landlord harassment.
- Failing to provide your tenant with amenities that the lease promises.
- Failing to minimize or remove disruptive noises or nuisances after being notified of their existence.
However, there are certain disruptions that may not violate your tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment. The following are some examples.
- Maintenance or repair tasks that are done after proper notice is served.
- Routine inspections that are done in accordance with the lease or rental agreement.
- Response to emergencies.
- Noise from outside traffic or wildlife.
- Footsteps from a neighbor that lives upstairs.
- A smoke alarm that goes off but is quickly turned off.
- Knocks on the door from a landlord seeking unpaid rent.
What Options Does a Tenant Have After Their Right to Quiet Enjoyment is Breached?
Failure to respect your tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment constitutes a habitability violation. This is especially true if your tenant has notified you of an issue multiple times and you have not remedied the situation.
If this happens, your tenant may be able to break their lease early per the Residential Tenancies Act. In this case, your tenant must fill out Form 6 – Notice to Landlord to Terminate the Tenancy.
Rent withholding isn’t a legal remedy for Saskatchewan tenants. In fact, if your tenant does withhold rent as a means to force you to address any concerns, you may use it as a basis for their eviction.
Do Tenants in Regina Have an Obligation to Abide by Noise Ordinances?
Yes! Just like every other citizen, your tenant must follow all civil laws and applicable noise ordinances. For instance, your tenant must respect their neighbor’s right to enjoy peace and quiet.
Since no lease exists between your tenants and their neighbors, any noise disturbance of this kind can be termed a nuisance. As such, an aggrieved party may have to call the police to file a nuisance complaint.
There you have it. An overview of the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment. Ultimately, respecting your Regina tenant’s rights is key. But if you’re just starting out as a landlord, it can take time to familiarize yourself with all aspects of the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment.
Luckily, Leenan Property Management can help! We’re a professional property management company in Regina, SK. We’ve been helping property owners in Regina and Saskatoon manage their rentals reliably and professionally for the last 6 years.
Get in touch today to learn more!