As a tenent what is my right to quiet enjoyment?

I just began renting a small home. The place where the water heater is positioned is right by all bedrooms. The water heater makes extremly loud noises during the day and in the middle of the night. The property owner sent out a repair man who informed me that it is an old water heater and has a lot of sand acummulated in the bottom of the water heater and some of the sand has hardened and turned to rocks, therefore when the water heater is heating up the sand and rocks are bouncing around in the water heater thus the loud noise. I contacted the owners (investment company) and they told me that it is too expensive to change out a water heater. Being that the water heater wakes me and my 13 year old son up in the middle of the night and keeps us up until it stops which is about 40 min later. I have to get up early for work and my son for school. My rent is $2000 and the owner told me that it would be more than $1000 to replace and relocate heater. Isn’t that a violation of my right to quiet enjoyment,What rights do I have and what action can I take?

Asked on December 15, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The term "quiet enjoyment" is a legal term that should not be literally applied as you have with respect to the water heater issue that you have written about. In essence the term is applied to a situation where the tenant is to be allowed to use the rental that he or she has in such a manner so to have full benefit of it without interruption.

Examples would be where the landlord repeatedly threatens a tenant as to the use of the unit, shuts off the water or electricity and things of that nature. The water heater albeit an inconvenience is not something that amounts to a breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment under the law. I suggest that you write the landlord a letter about the need to replace the water heater in that what you have written, the build up of sand most likely will cause it to fail shortly.


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