What is the Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment?
A covenant of quiet enjoyment is a landlord’s promise that once a tenant takes possession of the property, the landlord and third parties will not interfere with the tenant’s possession of the property.
This means that the landlord is not allowed to block the tenant from entering the leased premises, the landlord is not allowed to enter the leased premises without sufficient notice, and the landlord is not allowed to cut off access to necessary utilities.
This covenant is implied in all leases in Washington state, and is only undercut in the case of a court order. Speak to a Tukwila Landlord Tenant Attorney today if you have questions.
What is a Breach of Quiet Enjoyment?
If the landlord denies a tenant exclusive possession of the leased property, then the covenant is breached. Washington tenants have the right to live in a leased property without fear of their landlord entering without notice or cutting off utilities.
This interference might occur if the landlord physically prevents the tenant from possessing the property by locking out the tenant or significantly obstructing access to property with physical barriers (RCW 59.18.290). Penalties for a landlord who denies entry to the premises include termination of the rental agreement, damages, and costs of the prevailing party’s lawsuit.
Other examples include entering onto or into the property without a proper 24-hour notice or 48-hour notice to enter, or frequently disrupting tenants’ access to utilities (RCW 59.18.300). If the landlord does terminate the tenant’s utilities, they are liable for their tenant’s damages as well as up to $100 for each day the tenant has to go without utilities, and may have to pay some of the prevailing party’s legal costs.
If you believe your covenant of quiet enjoyment has been breached, speak to a Landlord Tenant Attorney today. No tenant should feel unsafe in their residence, and landlords who deny tenants their rights must be held accountable.
Dimension Law Group has a team of experienced Tukwila Landlord Tenant law Attorneys that are ready to help landlords with legal disputes. If you are a landlord and you have any further questions, please contact our office to schedule a phone consultation.
Disclaimer: Washington Landlord Tenant Laws have changed substantially over the last few years. This information may not be up to date. The information on this site is general information and not a substitute for legal advice. Please contact Dimension Law Group to schedule a consultation on the most up to date information.