Ideally, your tenants will follow your lease agreement to the letter, and you’ll never have to write a lease violation notice. But on the off chance that you need to remind them of the lease terms, you should have a process in place. In this article, we’ll explore common lease violations, how to write a lease violation notice, and how long a tenant has to fix the issue.
Common Lease Violations
Some lease violations happen more often than others. According to LegalNature, common lease violations include:
- Regularly failing to pay rent on time
- Keeping a pet in a no-pet property
- Repeated noise complaints
- Smoking in a no-smoking property
- Neglecting assigned property maintenance
Remember, you are also bound by the terms of the lease – so be sure to follow them to a tee. The most common landlord lease violation is not respecting the tenant’s privacy, which can lead to withheld rent, fines, and/or a broken lease agreement. If you’re in severe violation of the lease, you could be charged in court.
To avoid any such issues, prioritize your relationship with tenants. Be attentive to their requests, especially those that relate to habitability, and take their concerns seriously. Maintaining a healthy landlord-tenant relationship can reduce lease violations on both sides of the agreement.
What to Include in a Lease Violation Notice
A lease violation notice, or lease violation letter, serves to alert the tenant that they have acted against their lease agreement in some way. This official notice provides a time period during which the tenant must correct the problem or face consequences – including the start of the eviction process. In most cases, landlords deliver a lease violation notice before submitting a notice to quit. Here’s a lease violation notice template.
If you decide to create your own lease violation notice, it should include:
- The rental unit’s address
- The name of the tenant(s)
- The date
- The lease violation (along with supporting details like date and time as available)
- A reference to the section of the original lease agreement that has been breached
- The deadline to correct the behavior
- The consequences of continuing to violate the lease
Be polite but firm when writing your letter. Keep in mind that tenants can violate their lease mistakenly, so it’s important to use non-accusatory language. Doing so will promote a healthy landlord-tenant relationship, which is key!
How to Send a Lease Violation Letter
You may be tempted to mention the bad behavior to your tenant in passing, but it’s best practice to document all landlord-tenant interactions – particularly when it comes to violating the lease. To ensure your lease violation letter is received, send it via certified mail.
This method allows you to prove that your tenant received the letter and can follow your guidelines to correct the problem before greater consequences arise.
How Long Does a Tenant Have to Fix Their Behavior?
The consequences of violating the lease should be clearly spelled out in the original contract and can vary by landlord and their state. For example, Colorado landlords must serve their tenants with a 10-day notice to fix the problem, after which point an eviction lawsuit can be filed – unless it’s a recurring issue.
According to Nolo, “if a [Colorado] landlord has already served a notice to cure or quit for a lease violation and the tenant repeats the same violation at a later time, the landlord can send the tenant a notice to quit without an opportunity to fix the matter (sometimes called an unconditional notice to quit).”On the other hand, California landlords only need to give their tenants three days to correct lease violations or move out. Given the variation in required timelines, it’s more crucial than ever for landlords to be familiar with federal, state, and local landlord-tenant laws.