Handling Lease Violations: What Every Landlord Needs to Know

February 6, 2024

As a landlord, dealing with lease violations can be tough. But knowing how to handle them is key to maintaining your property and relationships with tenants. In our latest episode of Be A Better Landlord, we delve into what constitutes a lease violation—from late rent payments to disruptive noise—and the best practices for landlords to address them.

Jonathan and Krista, aiming to assist in better landlord practices, delve into the topic of lease violations. They define a lease violation as any action by a tenant or landlord that contravenes the terms set out in the lease agreement, including implicit expectations such as the warranty of habitability.

Common lease violations from tenants include non-payment of rent, noise disruptions, and parking issues, often stemming from unawareness of the lease stipulations. They underscore the bilateral nature of lease agreements, highlighting that landlords can also be violators, emphasizing the importance of familiarity with the lease’s contents for both parties.

Addressing lease violations involves documentation and communication with the tenant. They suggest initially handling violations informally, through direct conversation or email, citing specific lease clauses that have been breached. However, for persistent issues, a formal approach is recommended, which should be aligned with local legal requirements.

Jonathan and Krista discuss the importance of understanding local laws regarding lease violations, pointing to resources like TurboTenant for state-specific legal information. They explain the ‘cure or quit’ notice, a legal term that gives tenants a specified timeframe to rectify the issue or vacate the property.

For formal notices, they advise including comprehensive details of the violation, evidence, and required tenant actions, stressing the importance of a receipt acknowledgment by the tenant. Delivery of formal notices should ideally be through certified mail to ensure undeniable proof of receipt.

They also cover scenarios where tenants’ actions, not explicitly mentioned in the lease, disrupt others’ living conditions. In such cases, landlords have a legal basis to request behavior changes to protect other tenants’ warranty of habitability. For issues not covered by the lease, a polite, solution-focused conversation is recommended.

When drafting or updating leases, they suggest utilizing tools like TurboTenant for creating state-specific agreements, emphasizing the addition of clauses for any new issues identified

Video Transcript


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