Resolving a Lease Violation: Tips for Landlords and Tenants

Learn and explore common lease violations, their consequences, and how to address them effectively.

By
Nichole Stohler
|
Last Updated
October 23, 2023
Resolving a Lease Violation: Tips for Landlords and Tenants

Have you ever faced problems due to the violation of a lease? If you have, you're not alone. They can create headaches and conflict for landlords and tenants alike. They're common occurrences that require professional resolution.

In this article, you'll discover the most frequently encountered ways a lease is violated, as well as the legal consequences. You'll learn tips to avoid violations as a tenant. And, if you're a landlord, you'll find out how to address violations while maintaining positive tenant relationships.

Discover the ins and outs of lease violations, their impacts, and how to resolve them effectively today! 

What is a lease violation?

A lease violation is a non-compliance with the lease agreement's rules. Depending on how serious and often it happens, there are consequences for different violations.

Each lease agreement has rules about what counts as a violation and what will happen if there is one.

Types of lease violations

Both tenants and landlords need to be aware of common lease violations. Here are the types of violations that can occur:

Tenant violations

As a tenant, understanding your lease agreement's rules and avoiding common violations helps to maintain a positive and hassle-free rental experience.

  • Failure to pay rent on time: Late payments are among the most common violations. They affect the landlord's cash flow and put both parties in a tough spot.
  • Unauthorized pets or occupants: Lease agreements often state how many people can live in a rental unit, as well as whether pets are allowed. Breaking these rules can cause problems like property damage, disruptive noise, and legal issues if the extra person or pet hurts someone or the property.
  • Neglecting property maintenance and repairs: Tenants must keep the property in good shape. Neglecting repairs or failing to maintain the property can cause more damage and lower the property value.
  • Violation of noise regulations: Excessive noise can disturb the peace of a community. For the comfort of all the tenants, lease agreements will commonly contain rules about noise during certain hours. Ignoring these regulations can result in complaints from neighbors.
  • Illegal activities on the premises: Engaging in illegal activities on the leased property is a major violation of the lease agreement. It compromises the safety of other tenants and exposes the landlord to legal issues. Illegal activities include drug offenses and operating an illegal business from the premises.

Landlord violations

Much like tenants, landlords can be guilty of violating a lease. For this reason, it's equally important for landlords to be aware of their responsibilities. These are some common ways landlords violate leases:

  • Failure to provide habitable conditions: Property owners are legally required to keep rental properties safe and livable. Clean facilities, working heating and cooling, functional plumbing, and a secure environment all help keep a property in a viable state.
  • Unauthorized entry or invasion of privacy: Landlords must respect tenants' privacy. Entering the rental property without proper notice or a valid reason violates tenant rights.
  • Failure to make necessary repairs: Landlords are responsible for promptly addressing rental property maintenance issues and making necessary repairs. Neglecting or delaying repairs can violate the rental agreement and risk tenants' health and safety.
  • Improper handling of security deposits: Property managers and owners must follow state laws when handling security deposits. This includes depositing the funds in a separate account, keeping a detailed list of deductions, and returning the tenant's security deposit within a specific timeframe after the lease ends.
  • Discriminatory practices: Landlords must follow fair housing laws. Any discrimination during the rental process or while the tenant is living in the rental unit breaks the lease agreement and can have legal consequences.

How to handle a lease violation

Finding a solution to a lease violation requires landlords and tenants to work together. It's important to address the issue promptly and professionally.

Steps to resolve a lease violation

Follow these steps to address the violation effectively and reach a resolution that benefits all parties involved:

  • Review the lease agreement: Review the lease agreement to understand broken terms. Gather any evidence, like photos or messages, that support your case.
  • Document the violation: Document the lease violation and record important information such as dates, times, and supporting evidence like photos, emails, or witness statements.
  • Communicate with the other party: Contact the other party to discuss the violation. Clearly and respectfully explain the situation, present evidence, and ask for a solution. Avoid using confrontational words and focus on finding an agreement that works for both sides.
  • Seek mediation or legal advice: If your communication doesn't achieve the desired outcomes, you may seek help from a mediation services provider or a lawyer. A neutral third party can assist in finding a solution, while an attorney can guide your legal options.
  • Understand your rights: To know your rights as a tenant, research and understand federal laws and regulations. Knowing your rights can help protect you when problems arise and provide you with guidance on how to navigate the situation.

Keep a record of all communication and actions. Cooperation and fairness are important for successfully handling lease violations.

Lease violation notice

A lease violation notice, also known as a notice to cure or comply, is a written document that notifies a tenant of a breach in the lease agreement. It serves as a formal communication, outlining the specific rule violation and providing an opportunity for the tenant to rectify the situation.

The landlord sends the notice in writing and retains a copy for documentation purposes. It clearly states the rule violated and provides a timeframe for corrective action. This way, the landlord can make sure the renter has a chance to fix their mistake.

Legal considerations for landlords

Before issuing a lease violation notice, landlords should consider legal factors:

  • Review the lease agreement to identify broken rules.
  • Validate compliance with laws regarding notice issuance.
  • Treat all tenants fairly and avoid discrimination.
  • Document violations for potential legal actions.
  • Seek legal advice for complex situations or local law guidance.

Contents of a notice of lease violation

A notice of lease violation should state the name of the tenant and the specific unit or rental property address. It should outline the provision or provisions of the lease agreement that the tenant violated, providing a detailed description of the violation.

Specify the timeframe in which the tenant must remedy the violation, and inform the tenant of any potential consequences or penalties for failing to address the violation.

Response to a lease violation notice

If you've received a lease violation notice, following these steps will allow you to address it effectively:

  • Review the notice for lease violation to understand the exact claims and terms of the lease agreement mentioned.
  • Understand tenant rights and review the lease agreement to help you evaluate potential violations and decide the most suitable action.
  • Gather documents, photos, and messages that support your response. It may include your conversations with the landlord, maintenance records, or any other evidence that can help explain or dispute the reported violation.
  • Respond to the notice in writing to keep a record of your communication. Address each point in the notice separately and provide explanations or evidence to support your position. Remember to be polite, concise, and professional in your response.
  • If the violation is valid, suggest a plan to fix the situation within a reasonable timeframe. This displays your willingness to work together and resolve the problem in a friendly manner.
  • If you need help with how to reply or have complicated legal problems, seek advice from a lawyer specializing in landlord-tenant law. They can guide you and make sure your rights are protected.

Impact of lease violations

Lease violations can have consequences for both tenants and landlords, including:

For tenants:

  • Written warnings and notices: Landlords usually give written reminders or notices to document the agreement breach when a lease violation happens. These formal messages act as proof and give tenants the opportunity to fix the issue.
  • Fines and penalties: Most landlords impose fines or penalties on tenants based on the seriousness of the violation. These financial consequences discourage breaking the rules and encourage following the lease terms.
  • Eviction proceedings: Landlords may start eviction when the tenant repeatedly violates the lease agreement and fails to fix the problem. Eviction is a last resort and involves legal action.

For landlords:

  • Legal consequences: Landlords who break the lease rules can get in trouble with the law. There can be legal liability, such as a landlord being taken to court by the tenant in order to have an issue addressed.
  • Financial liabilities: Landlords who violate leases may face financial repercussions. These can include compensating tenants for damages, refunding excessive fees or deposits, or covering tenants' legal expenses.
  • Reputation damage: Landlords who break the lease rules may harm their reputation. Bad reviews or complaints online can affect their chances of attracting new tenants.

Violation of lease agreement

When both parties abide by the rules set forth in a lease agreement, it promotes a positive relationship between property owners and tenants.

If any problems arise, it's best to talk openly, solve them quickly, and get legal advice if needed. Remember, respecting the lease helps everyone have a positive living experience.

Lease violation FAQs

What is a severe breach of the lease?

A severe breach of a lease would involve actions that significantly harm the landlord's rights or damage the rental property. Here are some serious breaches:

  1. Tenant fails to pay rent for an extended period.
  2. Serious damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear.
  3. Engaging in illegal activities on the premises.
  4. Unauthorized subletting or assignment of the lease without permission.
  5. Violation of health, safety, or building codes that pose a significant risk.

How can I prevent lease violations?

To avoid lease violations, read and understand the lease agreement carefully. It's important to follow the terms and conditions.

Promptly communicate and address any concerns or issues on time. Being responsible and abiding by the lease terms is key to maintaining a harmonious tenancy.

What can I do if the lease violation notice is unjustified?

If you think the notice for breaking the lease is unfair, collect proof to support your arguments and write a letter to your landlord explaining your side.

If the problem persists, you may want legal advice or mediation help.

Nichole Stohler

Nichole co-founded Gateway Private Equity Group, with a history of investments in single-family and multi-family properties, and now a specialization in hotel real estate investments. She is also the creator of NicsGuide.com, a blog dedicated to real estate investing.

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