There are several reasons why you’ll eventually have to give your tenant the one-on-one, one of which is a violation of the lease agreement. Whatever their reasons are for violating the lease, it is critical to impose the specific penalties outlined in your rental contract. After all, you are the property owner, therefore you have the authority – and the duty – to carry out certain sanctions.
In this article, we will outline what you need to do in case your tenant breaks the terms of their contract. Since there’s no one single solution for all situations, we’ll be going through them one by one.
#1 Parking Spot Violation
Tenants are often tempted to park at the first parking spot they see when they pull into the parking lot. They don’t know that someone owns that parking spot, or they intentionally took that spot as someone else took theirs. Whatever the reason is, tenants can’t park in places that aren’t theirs, so it’s important to solve the situation.
Fortunately, it’s an easy fix. All you need to do is contact your tenant and tell them that they can’t park in a parking spot that isn’t theirs. However, if they fail – or refuse to – comply, and they park in a parking spot to vex a tenant, that can be grounds for eviction.
#2 Non-Payment of Rent
This is a very common lease violation that will occur in every real estate investment. You will have one or two tenants who fail (or “forget”) to pay their rent promptly. This wouldn’t be a problem if it was a one-time thing, but it can be a burden if becomes a regular thing.
In case you have a tenant who does not pay their rent promptly, you need to deal with the situation ASAP. Contact the tenant to tell them about the problem. If they truly forgot, try to be understanding as long as they pay the amount due immediately. However, if they ignore you or if this isn’t their first offense, you can evict them, as they’ve already gone too far.
#3 Pets on a “No Pet” Property
Property owners and property management companies prohibit pets due to the destruction they can cause. If you’re concerned about property damage, it would be ideal to include a “no pets” clause in your lease agreement. Nonetheless, pet-owning tenants will still sometimes sneak their pets into the property. When this occurs, your tenant should face the appropriate penalties, as pets in a no-pet property is a serious offense.
If your tenant does not remove the pet from the premises, you should serve them a notice to move out. Alternatively, you can also collect a fee. Do note, however, that you can’t remove service animals or emotional support animals from the property.
Pro Tip: When you partner with a property management company, they can verify whether or not your tenant truly needs a service animal. This is typically part of their strict tenant application process.
#4 Long-Term Guests
Tenants can invite guests over, however, those guests can’t overstay their welcome. When long-term guests “morph” into long-term tenants (tenants who haven’t even signed the lease agreement), you need to get rid of these “freeloaders”.
To prevent this, your rental contract can state that tenants will only be allowed to stay for a certain number of days (e.g. three days maximum). If a guest stays longer than the specified period, you can collect a fee of, say, $400 per person. This should be able to deter your tenants from allowing their friends to unofficially move in.
#5 Noise Violation
This is another common violation that every property owner will have to resolve. Wherever your real estate investment is, your tenants (along with their neighbors, whether they’re other tenants or non-tenants), are entitled to a peaceful life. They should be able to use their property, disruption-free. In case your tenant causes noise in their community (particularly one with local laws on noise), you should nip the problem in the bud immediately.
If your tenant’s noise constitutes excessive noise, warn them never to do it, otherwise, they will face eviction. You can also implement a quiet hours requirement in your rental property, particularly a multi-family property, to force tenants to respect other people’s peace.
#6 Neglecting the Property
Tenants are obligated to care for the rental property as if it were their own. With that said, if they cause damage that goes beyond regular wear and tear, they should cover the costs of repairs and replacements.
Prior to move-in day, document the property’s condition. This will be your baseline for future assessments of the property, particularly the move-out inspection. Partner with a South Florida property management firm with an inspection in process in place, that way, you can ensure that the property is documented properly.
Then, conduct property inspections multiple times throughout the tenancy. That way, you can check if your tenant is following through with what they signed up for.
However, if you discover that your tenant has trashed the rental (e.g. damage that’s more than wear and tear), you can evict them due to negligence. You can also use their security deposit to cover the associated costs.
#7 Use of Property For Commercial Purposes
Your tenant can’t use your residential rental property for commercial purposes. If they do, you need to immediately serve them a warning, as using it as a place of business is a blatant violation of the terms. If they refuse to comply, you can evict them. However, if they stop their commercial activity, they can continue to use the rental property – for residential purposes only, of course.
The Bottom Line
There are only a couple of common lease violations in South Florida rental properties. You may or may not encounter other violations not stated in this list, which is why you should partner with a property management professional. At Luxury Property Care, our experts are trained to handle all types of lease violations, from the non-payment of rent to unallowed activity in a rental property.