Common Lease Violations and How to Handle Them


A lease agreement serves as the foundation of the landlord-tenant relationship. It outlines the rules that tenants must abide by while living on the property. However, violations can and do occur, sometimes inadvertently, other times intentionally. This guide provides an in-depth look into the most common lease violations and offers practical tips for handling them effectively.

Understanding Lease Violations

A lease violation transpires when a tenant fails to adhere to the conditions stipulated in the lease agreement. These conditions, varying in their severity, can lead to differing consequences. For instance, parking in another tenant’s spot might result in a warning, while continued non-payment of rent could lead to eviction.

Lease Violation

Whether you’re a seasoned property owner or a newbie landlord, understanding these violations and knowing how to deal with them is crucial. Here’s a rundown of some of the most common lease violations and how to handle them:

Common Lease Violations and How to Handle Them

1. Habitual Late Payment of Rent

Recurring late payments constitute a significant lease violation. Although an occasional late payment might be excusable, a pattern of delays can be detrimental to your cash flow. Here’s how you can navigate this:

  • Implement a late fee: A late fee provision in your lease agreement can help deter late payments.
  • Offer an early payment discount: Encourage tenants to pay their rent on time or earlier by offering a small discount.
  • Serve a notice: If late payments persist, serve a notice demanding payment or threatening eviction.

2. Noise Disturbances

Excessive noise can disrupt the peaceful living environment for other tenants. If you’re receiving multiple noise complaints about a tenant, consider these steps:

  • Issue a warning: Let the tenants know about the complaints and remind them about the noise regulations in their lease.
  • Serve a notice: If noise disturbances persist, serve a notice asking them to rectify the violation or face eviction.

Noise Complaint

3. Unauthorized Pets

If a tenant acquires a pet without your knowledge and violates your pet policy, here are some options:

  • Charge a pet fee: This fee can cover potential damages caused by the pet.
  • Serve a notice: If you don’t want pets on your property, serve a notice giving the tenant a few days to remove the pet or face eviction.

4. Long-Term Guests

If a guest starts living with your tenant without your knowledge, it can be considered a lease violation. Here’s how to handle it:

  • Require guest application: If a guest wishes to become a permanent resident, they should submit an application and be included in the lease.
  • Serve a notice: If the guest doesn’t comply, serve a notice for them to leave or face eviction along with the tenant.

Long-Term Guest

5. Unauthorized Renovations

Tenants may not make significant changes to the property without your approval. If a tenant alters the property without your consent, consider these actions:

  • Discuss with the tenant: Speak with the tenant about the changes and your policies.
  • Serve a notice: If the tenant refuses to reverse the changes, serve a notice demanding compliance or eviction.

6. Unsanitary Conditions

Unsanitary living conditions can invite pests and create an unsafe environment for other tenants. Here’s how to handle it:

  • Speak with the tenant: Discuss the issue with the tenant and remind them of their responsibility to maintain cleanliness.
  • Serve a notice: If conditions don’t improve, serve a notice demanding cleanliness or face eviction.

7. Property Damage

Damage beyond normal wear and tear can be costly. Here are steps to address this:

  • Document the damage: Record the damage and compare it with the condition of the property before the tenant moved in.
  • Discuss with the tenant: Talk to the tenant about the damage and the cost of repair.
  • Deduct from security deposit: If necessary, deduct the repair cost from the security deposit.

Property Damage

8. Illegal Activities

Illegal activities on your property can cause legal problems. Here’s how to navigate this:

  • Notify the authorities: Report any suspected illegal activities to the local authorities.
  • Serve a notice: Serve an eviction notice immediately to remove the tenant engaging in illegal activities.

9. Parking Violations

If a tenant is consistently parking in reserved spots, these steps can help:

  • Warn the tenant: Let the tenant know about the parking violation and remind them of the parking rules.
  • Serve a notice: If the violation continues, serve a notice demanding compliance or eviction.

Handling Lease Violations: The Legal Approach

When dealing with lease violations, it’s essential to follow legal guidelines. For instance, serving an eviction notice or a ‘Notice to Quit’ is often the first step towards addressing serious violations. These documents notify the tenant of the violation and the impending consequences.

Notice to Quit

A lease violation notice should include:

  • The names of all adult tenants residing in the unit
  • The property’s address
  • The date the lease was signed
  • The date the violation occurred
  • The violated condition of the lease
  • The consequences of the violation

Wrapping Up

While lease violations are common and sometimes unavoidable, property owners can manage them effectively with a solid understanding of the lease agreement and a well-defined protocol. Remember, it’s not just about knowing the rules; it’s also about enforcing them fairly and consistently. As a landlord, staying informed, proactive, and legally compliant is key to maintaining control over your property and ensuring a harmonious landlord-tenant relationship.

Landlord and Tenant