Misinformation Regarding Quiet Enjoyment Clauses in Landlord-Tenant Leases Prevalent on the Internet
It's a tenant's worst nightmare. Soon after signing a lease agreement and moving into an apartment you begin to hear loud, wall-shaking noise. Maybe its from a barking dog, maybe from your neighbor playing Xbox, or from a loud bar down the street. You can't sleep. You can't think. You can't enjoy your apartment. What are your rights?
Perhaps you turn to Google to help determine if you can get out of your lease due to the noise. Watch out. While it is no secret that the internet is rife with misinformation, when it comes the the topic of the "Implied Warranty of Quiet Enjoyment," following legal advice found on certain websites could end up putting you on the losing end of a lawsuit from your former landlord.
First, what is the "Implied Warranty of Quiet Enjoyment?" Is is some clause in a lease agreement that allows a tenant to break his or her lease due to excessive noise? In short, no. Absolutely not.
As defined by Hamilton Brownfields Redevelopment, LLC. v. Duro Tire & Wheel, 156 Ohio App.3d 525, 532 (12th Dist., 2004), in Ohio the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment is a "covenant [that] protects the tenant's right to a peaceful and undisturbed enjoyment of the leasehold. This covenant is breached when the landlord obstructs, interefes with, or takes away from the tenant in a substantial degree the beneficial use of the leasehold."
"Peaceful and undisturbed" does not, however, refer to a level of noise faced by the tenant. It refers to the proposition that the tenant's possession will not be disturbed by individuals with paramount title to the property. The landlord is impliedly warranting to the tenant that it is the landlord, and not some other individual, who holds title to the property, and thus the tenant will not be forced from the property by someone with actual or greater title. The implied covenant is actually breached when the tenant is evicted (completely or constructively) from the premises.
Misinformation, such as this ehow article ( http://www.ehow.com/how_8535987_break-lease-ohio-because-noise.html) supposedly written by a University of the Pacific law school graduate, states that "quiet-enjoyment clauses guarantee to the tenant that his home will be free from excessive noise." In the context of implied covenants of quiet enjoyment, this is flat-out wrong. Furthermore, the article offers the reader tips on how to document noise, and then suggests the tenant break his or her lease. Breaking a lease can render a tenant liable for unpaid rent for the remainder of the rental term as well as court costs and attorneys fees and other damages.