c) Implied covenants
In the absence of express provisions in the tenancy agreement to the contrary, certain basic obligations will be implied in a tenancy:
Implied covenants of the landlord include:
- The tenant to have quiet enjoyment of the property. This is to protect the tenant against eviction or interference with the use and enjoyment of the property by the landlord during the tenancy.
- The landlord not to derogate from its grant. That means the landlord shall not do anything to defeat the purpose for which the premises was let to the tenant.
- Fitness for habitation. This covenant applies only to furnished tenancy and only at the beginning of the tenancy, where the landlord warrants that the premises is in such a condition that it fits for human habitation.
Implied covenants of the tenant include:
- To pay rent on the due date.
- To pay rates.
- To use the property in a tenant-like manner. The tenant is under a duty to use the premises in a manner as a reasonable tenant will do, fair wear and tear excepted.
- Not to commit waste. The tenant must not do any act which alters the nature of the premises, e.g. an act of destruction or damage.
- To deliver up possession of the property upon expiry of the tenancy.
For tenancies of domestic premises entered on or after 27th December 2002, where the tenancy does not already contain covenants substantially to the same effect, section 117(3) of the Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance (Cap. 7) implies the following covenants of the tenant:
- To pay the rent on the due date;
- Not to use or suffer or permit the use of the premises for an immoral or illegal purpose;
- Not to cause unnecessary annoyance, inconvenience or disturbance to the landlord or any other person; and
Not to make or suffer or permit any structural alteration to the premises without the prior written consent of the landlord.