It's standard practice for rental property owners to require renters to sign a lease before tenancy begins. The lease agreement fleshes out, among other things, the rules the tenant must follow. This can include things like a pet policy, noise regulations, and rent payments.
Effective lease enforcement is a key part of being a successful landlord, but more often than not, you'll run into some challenges. Lease violations are common, and you must know how to handle them.
In this article, we're focusing on some of the most common violations and the steps you can take to enforce your rules.
1. Unauthorized Pets
Most Americans own a pet, which shows why most landlords have pet-friendly policies.
However, this doesn't mean all types of pets are allowed. You certainly have some restrictions. For example, it's not uncommon for landlords to ban large dog breeds that can cause damage to property or make loud noises.
Unfortunately, some tenants will find ways to sneak in pets that aren't allowed on your property.
Unless neighbors make a complaint or you spot an unauthorized pet on the property, it can be difficult to know when a tenant is violating this rule. But once you have information/evidence of a violation, move quickly to send a notice of lease violation and initiate the necessary procedures, such as asking the tenant to get rid of the pet.
2. Long-Term Guests
Tenants have a right to welcome guests into their rented home, but for how long? Long-term guests present various challenges to landlords.
For instance, a small property will feel cramped if a tenant hosts several family members. This can affect the quality of life of other tenants.
This is why landlords prohibit tenants from housing guests for longer than necessary. The specific duration will vary from landlord to landlord, but the issue of long-term guests remains a common violation.
Finding high-quality tenants you can count on not to make any violations is a good way to tackle this issue, but ensure the lease agreement is clear on how long guests can stay. Increasing the rental fee by a certain amount once guests stay longer will also help deter violations.
3. Late/Unpaid Rent
Having a steady rental income entirely depends on your property's occupancy rate and how promptly your tenants pay rent. Sadly, cases of unpaid rent and/or late payments are super common.
Although most tenants will only fall behind on rent when they're in financial difficulty, some do so out of negligence.
Hiring a rental property management company to enforce and handle rent collection is the best move. But also be sure to impose fines for rent payment violations.
Don't Slack on Lease Enforcement
Lease enforcement is one of your primary landlord duties. If you are the kind of landlord who only shows up to collect rent, not caring whether tenants are making other rental lease violations, trouble awaits.
It's understandable if you're a busy landlord. In that case, though, hire a rental management company to oversee your property.
Renters Warehouse is a full-service property management company, and has been serving landlords in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia since 2007. Contact us t to talk to an experienced, licensed professional.