Your Right to Quiet Enjoyment of Your Rental (FAQ)
Authored By: Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA)
If you rent a place to live in Montana, this article will help you:
- Know about your right to quiet enjoyment of your rental
- What you can do if your landlord or neighbor violates your rights.
Quiet enjoyment refers to the right of a tenant to enjoy and use the rental in peace and without interference. Tenants have the right to reasonably use the place they rent without interference from the landlord or from neighbors.
Your right to quiet enjoyment of your rental may be violated by:
- Excessive noise or bothersome contact from other tenants in the same building.
- The landlord taking over part of the rental without your permission. For example, if the landlord takes over the garage without your permission or lowering the rent when it has always been a part of your rental.
- The landlord calling you often for no legitimate reason, or at unreasonable times.
- The landlord coming over to the rental often for no legitimate reason, or at unreasonable times. You can learn more by reading our article about when your landlord may enter your rental.
- The landlord putting unreasonable limits on the tenant’s right to have guests.
What can I do if someone violates my right to quiet enjoyment?
It is a good idea to give notice in writing to your landlord of the issue. You should also discuss the issue with your landlord, to give your landlord the opportunity to resolve the issue. If the landlord refuses to do anything and the issue is the landlord's responsibility, you may want to look at other options. You may want to:
- Contact the police. The police may help protect your right to be free from serious disturbances.
- File a lawsuit. You may file a lawsuit, asking the judge to order your landlord to remedy the violation of your right to quiet enjoyment. In your lawsuit, you may also ask the court for an award of money from the landlord for any actual loss you suffered because of the violation of quiet enjoyment. You would have to prove to the court that you suffered an actual cost or damage because of the violation, and that the landlord was responsible for it.
- It is a good idea to talk to a lawyer if you want to file a lawsuit. You may be able to find a lawyer who won’t charge you anything unless you win. Montana law says that if you win your lawsuit against the landlord, the judge has the power to order the landlord to pay your attorney fees. You can learn more about how lawyer’s set their fees.
- Move out. You must give proper written notice. You may be able to get out of your lease early if the violation of your quiet enjoyment is that serious.
- Warning: The situation has to be serious for you to break the rental agreement. If you end up in court the judge may find that the problem was not so serious and that you didn’t really have to move. Then, the judge could order you to pay the rent from the time that you moved out until when your lease would have ended, and maybe even the landlord's attorney fees. The landlord must still try to rent out the place to a new tenant after you move out. They have a duty to reduce their losses. If you have any questions, it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer.
- The State Bar Lawyer Referral Service may provide you with contact information for attorneys who provide the type of assistance you are seeking, for a fee. You can contact the State Bar Lawyer Referral Service at (406) 449-6577 or montanabar.org.
- Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) provides free civil, non-criminal legal help to eligible clients. Learn more about how to apply for free legal help in Montana.
- If you qualify for help from MLSA, you may be able to get free legal advice from a volunteer attorney by email using Ask Karla.
- Download our free Notice of Moving Out Letter to send to your landlord.
- Download a free Civil Complaint Packet to ask the court to make the landlord stop violating your right to quiet enjoyment.