3 Common Lease Violations and How You Can Handle Them
Updated: Jan 3
In an ideal world, a landlord gets tenants who uphold all the postulates of the lease agreement throughout their occupancy period. But since we don’t live in an ideal world, things don’t pan out that way. It is pretty common for landlords with multiple rental units to come across tenants that commit lease violations.
In simple words, lease violation is a breach of contract that is signed between a landlord and a tenant by the latter. What makes an experienced landlord stands apart from a newbie is how they plan a response for a lease violation.
In this post, we will walk you through some of the common lease violations that are committed by tenants and how you should approach to handle them.
1. Late Payments
When you sign a lease agreement with a tenant, you also set out the details for rent payment. This includes the mode of payment and the total timeframe to pay the rent. A good lease agreement also sets the rule and repercussions for late payments. It imposes a late payment fine or rent protection lease violation fee on the tenant. So, first of all, make sure your lease agreement feature similar stipulations because only then a late payment will be considered a lease violation.
How to Handle It?
● If a tenant is generally regular with their payments and delays rent payments for a month or two, you should give them a chance.
● For habitual late payers, you must charge fines and penalties as prescribed in the lease agreement.
● If the late payments are getting compounded and the tenant doesn’t pay the relevant fines either, you should initiate the eviction process. If you don’t want things to reach the court, issue a pay-or-quite notice. But if it doesn’t work either, you won’t have any other option but to take the legal route of eviction.
2. Commercial Use of Property
While you can’t stop tenants who work from home or do freelancing, you certainly have the prerogative to intervene if they have started a full-fledged business from your property.
How to Handle It?
● First, make sure your lease agreement categorically prohibits any type of commercial use of the property.
● Make sure you have irrefutable evidence to prove the commercial activity (e.g. clients coming all day, supplies offloading at the property too often) before reaching out to the tenant.
● If the warning doesn’t work, proceed with the eviction process.
3. Long-Term Guests
Just like any other household, tenants also welcome guests now and then. Some of them also stay overnight. It is perfectly normal and shouldn’t bother landlords. However, if guests are coming over too often and staying for extended periods, you can escalate the issue with the tenant.
How to Handle It?
● Again, make sure your lease agreement outlines the conditions for guests. You can limit the number of nights a guest can stay on your property. For violation, there can be a daily or monthly penalty. If you want to adopt zero-tolerance for extended guests, you can link the violation to immediate termination of the lease agreement.
● Start with a warning and ask the tenant the reason for the extended stays of a guest.
● Move with fines and termination of the contract if guest stays are becoming permanent or very frequent (e.g. some days every week).
If you are not a fan of pets and don’t want them on your property, you can also make pet-keeping a lease violation stipulation in your agreement.
4. Final Thoughts
Dealing with lease violations becomes easier when you have a dedicated and experienced person to monitor and track those violations and effectively communicate with tenants. As a landlord, if you already have too much on your plate, consider hiring a seasoned property manager. A property manager will make sure that you don’t have to suffer mentally and financially from lease violations.
Click here if you want to hire a property manager and learn more about how an experienced property manager can share some of your burdens.