Apart from the obligation for a tenant to pay rent, there is no more fundamental a covenant in a lease than the landlord’s covenant to provide quiet enjoyment of the premises to the tenant. A ‘quiet enjoyment’ clause will be quite broad and will require the tenant to comply with all the provisions of the lease but with subsequent clauses that qualify the broad, quiet enjoyment clause.

Implied by Law

Do not be concerned if your lease does not contain a quiet enjoyment clause – it will be implied by law. In general, it will be the only covenant offered by a landlord, in the circumstances where it is included in the lease explicitly. In the event that the quiet enjoyment clause has been breached, the tenant will be able to recover damages from the landlord. You can request a property lawyer to review your leasing documentation.

What is Quiet Enjoyment?

Quiet enjoyment covenants vary; however, generally cover some different rights and obligations. Typical provisions include the right for the landlord to place a “to let” or a “for sale” sign in the last three months of the term of the lease. Landlords also have the right to inspect the premises with given notice. Moreover, the landlord may enter the premises to carry out structural repairs and inspections, and retains the right to enter for the purposes of installing electrical equipment, electrical wiring, plumbing, and air conditioning equipment. Most importantly, there is a right to enter the premises to comply with any legislation or the requirements of any authority.

Termination of Leases

Can a lease be terminated and such notice not constitute a breach of the quiet enjoyment covenant? In some circumstances, yes. A landlord can give the notice to terminate a lease for the purposes of redeveloping or refurbishing premises. This notice will either trigger a termination of the lease or an abatement for the repairs, structural alterations or renovations. However, to terminate a lease for renovation or refurbishment, a landlord must give conclusive evidence of the need to do so.

Commercial Leases and Quiet Enjoyment

Quiet enjoyment provisions also apply to commercial leases, for example, shopping mall complexes. These leases often contain relocation clauses that permit the landlord at any time to order the tenant to be removed and relocated elsewhere for the purposes of renovation or repairs. Ensure you have your lease reviewed to determine whether you are compensated for the cost of the fit out or loss of business. A tenant is required to carry out new fit out in the premises at the direction of the landlord. Often relocation and redevelopment clauses are rolled into one, which leaves the tenant with a lease at will.

Conclusion

LegalVision can provide assistance in answering any of your questions you may have about a quiet covenant clause for residential or commercial leases. LegalVision has a team of great property and leasing lawyers who can assist you in drafting and reviewing leases. Please call our office on 1300 544 755 and our Client Care team will happily provide you with an obligation-free consultation and a fixed-fee quote.

Anthony Lieu

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