habitation, nevertheless if the defect is of a structural character—as, for instance, in the case of a defective drain—and amounts to a nuisance or a danger to health, the tenant may procure the intervention of the sanitary authority, and thus throw the burden of remedying the defect on the land-lord, provided the tenant himself has not by the terms of his lease undertaken to bear such expenses.
Implied Covenants.—In the letting of furnished houses there is an implied covenant by the landlord for quiet enjoyment; and in all cases the tenant, on his part, is under an implied covenant to pay the rent, and where there is a yearly tenancy, to use the premises in a fair and reasonable manner, but he is under no obligation to do substantial or general repairs. In the case of a tenancy for a term of years, the obligations of the tenant are, practically, in every instance expressly denned by special agreement.
Express Covenants.—Where an agreement is entered into for a lease to be subsequently executed but nothing is said as to covenants, or it is stated to be subject to the "usual" covenants, the only covenants that can be insisted upon are the following:
1. By the tenant. To pay the rent; to pay tenants' rates and taxes; to keep and deliver up the premises in repair; to allow the landlord to enter and view the state of repair. 2. By the landlord. That the tenant shall not be disturbed in his possession of the premises either by the landlord or by any person claiming under him.
A proviso for re-entry may also be required, but in the absence of express stipulation it must be limited to the case of a breach of the covenant to pay rent. If any other covenants are desired they must be expressly stated.
The following covenants are often stipulated for:—
That the tenant—Shall not assign or underlet the premises or any part thereof; shall not use the premises otherwise than as a dwelling-house; will insure the premises. The covenants which have been referred to will be found dealt with under their respective heads.
1. Covenant to pay Rent The fact that the premises have been destroyed by fire or other inevitable accident will not relieve the tenant from his obligation to pay rent, unless otherwise expressly provided. This is so, even where there is only an implied covenant to pay rent. Where there is a proviso that the rent shall be suspended in the event of fire, flood, storm, tempest, or "other inevitable accident," only such accidents as are of a similar nature to a fire, or flood, etc., are included. Thus if the building collapse by reason of the weight imposed upon it, such accident will not be within the exception.
2. Covenant to pay Rates and Taxes. In the case of furnished houses or apartments, the rates and taxes are paid, as a rule, by the landlord. So, too. in the case of flats. In yearly tenancies the tenant, as a rule, is only liable for the payment of what are known as "tenants' rates and taxes." In leases for a term of years, the payment of rates and taxes is usually the subject of express agreement, under which the tenant is generally made liable for something more than "tenants' usual rates and taxes." And unless particular attention is paid to the wording of the covenant, very onerous conditions are sometimes imposed upon the tenant. For instance, the inertion of the words "outgoings," "impositions" or "assessments" may involve the tenant in a liability to pay, among other things, for the cost of new drainage which has been ordered to be done by the sanitary authority or the expenses charged on the premises in respect to the making, paving and channelling of the road, on its being taken over by the highway authority.
Tenants' usual rates and taxes.—Unless otherwise provided, the following are payable by the ten ant. and are known as "the tenants' usual rates and taxes"—Poor rates (except in tenancies for not more than three months);
- A tenancy which may. but which will not necessarily, last more than that period, is within the exception. See further under Rates.