Due to the role that property plays on a social and economic level, the state of North Carolina has several rental laws that govern property transactions. It also gives involved parties rights and privileges.
One such right is “the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment.”
What exactly does this right provide? And how is a landlord responsible for it?
As the leading management company in the Winston-Salem, TE Johnson & Sons has the answers to these questions and more. Read along for some tips that will keep you on the right side of the law.
The Meaning of “Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment”
First, let's unpack what the term 'implied covenant' means and its significance in a lease agreement.
An implied covenant is a provision that holds true regardless of whether or not it's stated in your lease agreement. As a landlord, you cannot include a clause that goes against the provisions of an implied covenant.
Specifically, the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment is the tenant’s right to enjoy their rented spaces free from undue interruptions, noises, and nuisances. These nuisances and disturbances could be from the landlord, an agent, fellow tenants in the case of multi-rental properties, or rowdy neighbors.
The meaning of “quiet enjoyment” can be pretty open to interpretation. In general, there are a few implications you should abide by:
Exclusive Use of the Property
When you've leased out your property to a tenant, the tenant should be guaranteed exclusive use of the premises.
The exception to this property is during an emergency, or when the landlord/agent needs to access the property to perform their responsibilities or obligations as per the lease.
Reasonable Comfort and Privacy
As a landlord, it's your responsibility to ensure that you don’t interfere with your tenant’s peace, privacy, and comfort. The rule also applies to your tenants.
Availability of Utilities and Proper Systems
This applies to the building’s essential utilities such as electricity, HVAC, plumbing, and hot water. All these items and appliances should be working perfectly and be in good condition.
Should there be a need for repairs, it's the landlord’s responsibility to handle replacing or fixing them.
A Landlord’s Entry into the Premises
NC law provides circumstances and situations wherein a landlord can enter a tenant's rented premises.
From our experience and knowledge of NC state law, a landlord can enter the premises...
• To perform an inspection of the unit. This could be when the tenant is moving out, or whenever is agreed upon in the lease.
• To perform repairs and other maintenance responsibilities. You should still provide a notice of entry of at least 24 hours.
• To provide other maintenance services requested by the renter.
• In the case of an eviction. For an eviction, the property owner must be accompanied by a law enforcement officer.
• If given the right by a court order.
• If there is an emergency or life-threatening situation, like a fire.
You should only enter a tenant's rented property during reasonable hours, usually between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. or any other agreed time between the two of you.
Violations of the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment
As the premier property management company in the Winston-Salem area, we protect our clients from this kind of legal trouble. If you're a self-managing landlord, you should be aware of what could be considered violations to this covenant.
Some examples include:
• Entering the premises without prior notice
• Showing up unannounced and inspecting the property
• Constantly calling and disturbing the tenant
• Failure to keep down nuisances and loud noises
• Termination of essential services and utilities
• Not providing services agreed on in the lease agreement.
What Happens if you Violate the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment?
There are certain consequences once you've violated the tenant’s enjoyment or privacy of their premises. Some of these are provided for by law, even if they're contrary to the terms of the lease agreement.
• The tenant can choose to withhold the next month’s rent . This is permitted according to some municipality and state laws.
• The tenant has the right to terminate the lease without notice to the landlord and before the expiry of the lease agreement.
• Legal action. The tenant can also decide to sue you. Depending on the severity of the breach of covenant, you can find yourself in a small claims court.
As a landlord, a clear understanding of the law is essential for succesfully running your real estate investment. Failure in this particular element could have serious legal and financial consequences.
To prevent this, you can also get in touch with an experienced property management team. A reliable property manager in NC will protect your investment property and make sure it stays legally compliant.
Exceptional Property Management in Winston-Salem
Rental management requires experience and knowledge in multiple fields.
Many times, people buying rental a property will focus mostly on rental income and reducing maintenance costs. But you also need to comply with the provisions of local, state, and federal laws.
You can rely on the experience and expertise of the premier management company in Winston-Salem for help.
Serving Forsyth, Guilford, Davidson & Davie Counties, TE Johnson & Sons is the company to call for property management services. As members of the National Association of Realtors and the Institute of Real Estate Management, you can be guaranteed the best quality services in the state!
[Reach out today]https://www.tejrentals.com/contact-us() and get a quote for our reputable property management services!
Please note that the content in this article does not constitute legal advice.