What Is This Thing Called Quiet Enjoyment?


Ruminations doubts that most readers know what is really meant by the “covenant of quiet enjoyment.” Understandably so. Because quiet enjoyment is a common law concept; case law being the sole source of its definition. The definitions constructed in real property treatises come from case law. Even in civil code jurisdictions, where an implied covenant of quiet enjoyment in leases is imposed by statute, the definition of quiet enjoyment is found only in case law. The Restatement (Second) of Property – Landlord and Tenant tells where the law is going, or where its authors think is ought to be going, not where it is.

[For reasons hinted at the end of this posting, Ruminations will sound a lot more lawyer-like than usual today. Don’t let that confuse you. Our website’s disclaimer is still very much in effect.]

[Also, the “quiet” in “quiet enjoyment” has nothing to do with decibel levels, and the “enjoyment” has nothing to do with pleasure.]

Dealing with quiet enjoyment would be a lot easier if the concept was implicated and analyzed in only a small number of well reasoned opinions which were consistent both over time and from state to state. Alas, were that the case. Anyone who has ever searched cases for a point and come up dry should remember the ancient Chinese proverb, “be careful what you wish for, you may get it.” Thousands of reported cases deal with the covenant of quiet enjoyment. [Read more…]