Students are turning our block into party central

We've tried complaining to the landlord but it makes no difference. The managing agents say they need a "mutually enforceable covenant" - what does this mean?
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Question: We live in a block of nine flats. One of the flats is let to students who cause us so much aggravation with parties, noise, and rubbish left outside the flat. Many of the owners have complained to the landlord but it makes no difference. We have asked the managing agents to get him to enforce covenants in the lease outlawing this sort of behaviour but they just go on about needing "a mutually enforceable covenant" —what does this mean?

Answer: a lease is a binding contract between the landlord and the lessee. All the leases for the flats in your block are likely to be in similar terms and have similar covenants. If you breach any of the terms of your lease, your landlord can take action against you for breach of covenant.

Your landlord can act against the owner of the student flat for breach of covenant if he chooses to do so.

However, you cannot force him to act unless your lease includes a mutual enforceability covenant, which means that if required by a tenant, the landlord must take action to enforce a breach of covenant committed by another tenant in the same block.

The covenant will usually require the tenant who is asking the landlord to enforce it to provide an indemnity against the costs of the action.

Check your lease to see if it contains a covenant of mutual enforceability. If there is no such covenant, try reminding your landlord about the covenant for quiet enjoyment which requires him to ensure there is no interference with your possession and enjoyment of your flat.

What's your problem?
If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here. Fiona is legal director in the real estate group of Foot Anstey LLP in Exeter (

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor. 

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