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Quiet enjoyment – what does it mean in a tenancy?

During a tenancy, the tenant has the right to enjoy the property as their own home. To help ensure tenancies run smoothly for everyone involved, it’s important for tenants and property agents/owners to understand their rights and responsibilities, particularly with regards to quiet enjoyment in a tenancy.

Quiet enjoyment means the tenant is entitled to reasonable peace, comfort and privacy and must be able to make full use of the property they have rented. Quiet enjoyment is enshrined in common law and is referred to by the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act).

It is an offence under the Act for a property manager/owner to interfere with a tenant’s quiet enjoyment and doing so can incur fines through a prosecution process. The RTA recently prosecuted a property owner for interfering with his tenants’ quiet enjoyment of their rental property, resulting in a $3000 fine.

Residential Tenancies Authority Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Smith said the court’s decision will help deter people who are doing the wrong thing.

“Everyone has the right to enjoy the privacy, security and comfort of their home, and this court ruling sends a strong message that breaking Queensland’s tenancy laws has consequences,” said Ms Smith

The most common breaches of quiet enjoyment occur when the property manager/owner does not comply with the rules of entry, which are outlined on the RTA website.

Other scenarios which may be considered interference with a tenant’s quiet enjoyment include:

  • Dictating how many visitors a tenant can have, or who can visit the property
  • Conducting an open house (for either selling or renting) without the tenant’s consent
  • Using advertising images of a tenant’s possessions without the tenant’s consent for the purposes of selling or renting a property
  • Visiting the property without the appropriate entry notice or prior agreement
  • Disruption of a tenant’s use of a property by shutting off the electricity or changing the locks.

If you have questions or concerns about quiet enjoyment in a tenancy, contact the RTA on 1300 366 311 to discuss your options.