Renting Property – Obligations under Tenancies Certain obligations are regarded by the law as being basic to the relationship between landlord and tenant. These are therefore deemed to be incorporated in every tenancy, where they are not expressly excluded by the parties. Indeed, some of these implied covenants cannot be excluded even by express agreement. Landlords’ Implied Obligations Under common law the landlord was obliged to compensate the tenant for any interference with the tenant’s quiet enjoyment, ie undisturbed possession, of the property.
This does not mean quiet enjoyment in the acoustic sense. The obligation is broken if the landlord cuts off his gas or electricity or tries to drive him / her out by persistent threats. But there was no implied obligation on the landlord to do repairs save in the case of a furnished letting where there was an implied condition that the premises were fit for human habitation when let. However, social legislation has imposed further requirements on landlords.
Thus, in leases of houses where the rent is under 8o a year in London, or /52 elsewhere, there is an implied covenant that the landlord will keep the premises fit for human habitation throughout the tenancy. More important is the Housing Act, 2001, which applies to houses and flats both humble and expensive which are let for less than seven years. There is an implied covenant by the landlord to maintain the outside of the house and the water, gas, electricity, sanitation and heating installations.
The landlord is liable only for defects of which he is made aware but he cannot get the tenant to take over this basic responsibility. Under the Defective Premises Act, 2002, a landlord who is obliged or entitled to enter to carry out repairs owes a duty to ensure that everyone using or visiting the building is reasonably safe from injury or damage to his belongings.