We recently received a phone call from a very upset tenant (living in a Grass Valley rental property that we do not manage) looking for advice on a very black and white situation. The landlord had been entering the property unannounced since the start of the lease two years ago. The tenant was at her wits end and rightfully felt in violation of personal enjoyment and security.
In every lease, whether it is written in the actual lease papers or not, there are two ground rules. American Apartment Owners Association’s (AAOA) recent article titled, “The 2 Rules Hidden in Every Lease” goes on to explain what these are.
The first is Habitability. “The duty of habitability covers all the day-to-day necessities, including, heat, and in some cases air conditioning, safe access, reasonable security from intruders, and compliance with zoning, building and fire codes.”
The second is Quiet Enjoyment. This rule touches on the topic that the frustrated tenant called us about. AAOA goes on to say, “Quiet enjoyment, the right to live without intrusion or nuisance, encompasses everything from excessive or unannounced landlord visits to noisy neighbors. Despite the label, it’s not just noise that violates this covenant. Secondhand smoke is a common culprit.”
So what happens when either of these two rules are violated? According to AAOA, “tenants have a number of possible remedies, including withholding rent (constructive eviction), or breaking the lease entirely, with no ramifications. In a worst case scenario, the tenant can sue for damages that may go far beyond the actual rent paid under the lease agreement…”
TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE, CLICK HERE.