The main terms implied by common law are detailed below:
2.3.1 The Right Of A Tenant To Quiet Enjoyment Of A Rented Property Without Intrusion Or Disturbance By A Landlord
This right is implied into all tenancies which entitles the tenant to live in the property without disturbance from the landlord or people acting on the landlord’s behalf. Despite the name, the right to quiet enjoyment does not have anything to do with noisy neighbours! Generally a landlord does not have the right to turn up unannounced to check on a property or tenant. It must be agreed mutually beforehand, where the landlord wishes to enter for a specific purpose, such as repairing a window. It has been held that breach of the repairing covenants can also be considered to be breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment. A right of quiet enjoyment is often written into the tenancy agreement because then the landlord can limit or widen the scope of the implied obligation, or even make the covenant for quiet enjoyment conditional on the tenant complying with their own obligations. Where there is a covenant for quiet enjoyment written into the tenancy agreement, the tenant will be entitled to have the landlord comply with that covenant.
2.3.2 Tenant Must Use The Property In A Tenant-Like Manner
This has been defined in case law as ‘to do the little jobs about the place which a reasonable tenant would do’ such as unblocking sinks when blocked by the tenant’s waste, keeping toilets and drains clear, regular cleaning including windows, putting refuse out for collection and gardening if applicable. The tenant must not wilfully or negligently damage the house (nor allow others to do so).
2.3.3 The Tenant Shall Not Permit Waste
The tenant has the responsibility to ensure the property is not damaged deliberately and is kept clean and free from rubbish during the course of the tenancy.
2.3.4 Fair Wear And Tear
The tenant will be entitled to an element of fair wear and tear.
Fair wear and tear has been defined as “reasonable use of the premises by the tenant and the ordinary operation of natural forces”. The word ‘reasonable’ can be interpreted differently, depending on the type of property and who occupies it. In addition, a landlord is not entitled to charge his tenants the full cost for having any part of his property, or any fixture or fitting put back to the condition it was at the start of the tenancy.
A landlord should not end up, either financially or materially, in a better position than he was at start of the tenancy, or than he would have otherwise been at the end of the tenancy after having allowed for fair wear and tear.
When considering repayment of a deposit, landlords should keep in mind that the tenant’s deposit is not to be used like an insurance policy where you might get ’full replacement value’ or ’new for old’.