Co-existence of the covenant for quiet enjoyment and landlord’s repairing covenant

Whether the steps taken by a landlord to perform his repairing covenant amount to a breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment depends on whether all reasonable steps have been taken to minimise the potential risks. It is not necessary to show that all possible steps have been taken.

In Goldmile Properties Ltd v Lechouritis ([2003] EWCA Civ 49, CA (Eng)) L was the tenant of restaurant premises on the ground and basement floors of a seven storey building. The lease contained a covenant for quiet enjoyment and a covenant by the landlord to keep the structure and exterior of the property in repair. The landlord’s contractors erected scaffolding outside the building to do work necessary for compliance with the repairing covenant. This made the tenant’s restaurant feel dingy inside and made it appear closed to passers by. The tenant claimed that this amounted to a breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment but this failed. It was necessary to make the two covenants compatible with each other; this was to be done by holding that the parties must have contemplated the possibility of some kind of interference when repairing works were being carried out. The covenant for quiet enjoyment was subject to this understanding. The question then became whether the landlord had taken all reasonable steps to minimise the risk to the tenant of interference caused by repair works. On the facts, the landlords satisfied this test.

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