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Spokane Property Management Blog

Lease Enforcement: How to Handle a Lease Violation

Home River Group - Spokane - Friday, September 2, 2022
Property Management Blog

Spokane, WA is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country right now. Thousands of new renters are moving in every year, and they're all looking for places to go. If you're a property owner, you need to get ready to rent out your space!

You also need to get ready to handle lease enforcement. It's not uncommon for the occasional lease violation to happen, even if it's accidental. We're here to talk about some of the most common lease violations and what you can do to either avoid or combat them.

Read on to learn more.

Property Damage

Do you have a tenant who's causing serious damage to your property?

Often, the damage is accidental. It's more than possible for an otherwise fantastic tenant to cause damage by moving furniture, falling and breaking something, or a variety of other potential mishaps.

There are other tenants, however, who will be more purposefully destructive. They may break windows or even cause damage to common areas.

Before the tenant moves in, take a photo or video tour of the unit and document as much as possible. This way, you'll have photographic evidence later on if your tenant leaves damage behind.

You can also do routine inspections, just make sure that you warn your tenants about them ahead of time.

Long-Term Guests

It's inevitable that your tenant will have guests from time to time. They may have partners, family members visiting, friends sleeping over, and more. You do not want to discourage socializing.

However, if a guest stays more than just a few nights, things get tricky. You don't want a guest to turn into an unofficial tenant. 

We recommend highlighting a guest policy in your lease. If a tenant is in violation, send a note on their way to let them know that their guest needs to leave. 

Late or Unpaid Rent

Sometimes late rent happens. Your tenant may have forgotten that rent was due, or they may be facing financial distress.

First, make sure that you have an online portal available for rent payments. This makes it so much easier for tenants to keep track of and pay on time. It's also a good idea to have a several-day grace period.

After your tenant has missed their rent payment, get in contact with them. Because this is often the result of a misunderstanding, this is often enough to get your tenant to pay.

If your tenant is late to pay due to financial struggles, consider working out a payment plan with them.

It's not helpful or necessary to move forward with legal action unless you've already exhausted your other options.

Unauthorized Pets 

So you have a no-pet policy, but you suspect that one of your tenants has a furry, scaley, or feathery friend in their apartment. Now what?

Make sure the pet policy in your lease is clear. If there are any loopholes, there may be nothing you can do. When you talk to your tenant, you should also note that it's possible they've gotten a psychiatrist's permission for an ESA (which allows them to have an animal, even without disclosing it).

You need to get evidence that the tenant has a pet. If you can, you can send them a notice to remove the pet or leave. 

Lease Enforcement Is Important

Lease enforcement is one of the toughest parts of being a landlord. Both good and bad tenants can break the terms of a lease, often accidentally. Make sure that you know how to handle these potential problems ahead of time!

Are you in need of help with lease enforcement and more? At HomeRiver Group, we help property owners in Spokane with all of their property management needs. Contact us so we can start working together today.