As a landlord, you always need your tenants to abide by your rental agreement.
When you have a tenant violating a lease, it can be incredibly tricky to deal with. Although eviction is always an option, it's not the first thing you want to jump to because it can be a protracted and complicated process. That said, lease enforcement is essential to maintain order in your rental properties.
In this post, we're going to tell you what to do when dealing with a lease violation. The most important thing is to ensure it doesn't happen on a regular basis, so keep reading and we'll help you with managing your rental tenants in a positive and constructive manner.
Start With a Conversation
Lease violations can include any variety of issues, from late rent payments to property damage. Everything should be clearly stated in the rental agreement that you and the tenant both have copies of.
Whatever the tenant has done wrong, the best course of action is to talk to them and give them a chance to rectify the problem before taking further action. Of course, if criminal activity or severe property damage is involved, you may have to take legal recourse.
In most situations, however, speaking with the tenant to let them know what's expected of them - as outlined in the rental agreement - shows that you're acting in good faith.
Understand Landlord-Tenant Laws
Having made your stance clear to your tenant, it's important to understand landlord-tenant laws. California is a tenant-friendly state, but that doesn't mean egregious lease violations can't go unpunished.
For instance, with late rent payments, you aren't required to give tenants a grace period. You can even charge late payment fees if you choose.
Should they violate the terms of the lease once again, all you need to do is serve them a 3-day pay or quit notice. If they fail to pay at this point, you can begin the eviction process.
Keep Written Records
Lease enforcement may require you to take legal action if your tenant continues to violate the agreement. It's always in your best interest to keep records of your correspondence with your tenants. They'll come in handy when you're trying to deal with an eviction.
When it Comes to Eviction...
When it comes to a tenant violating a lease repeatedly, eviction may be the only answer. You need just cause to perform an eviction in California, which includes nonpayment of rent, breach of lease terms, criminal activity, and causing a nuisance.
First, you'll need to give them a warning with a pay/perform covenants or quit notice. In the case of a serious lease violation, you can go straight in with a 3-day notice to quit.
Once the notice is given, you can file the eviction papers in court and get the process started. If they so choose, the tenant will have a chance to tell their side of the story, which will result in a court case. Most evictions take between 30-45 days to complete in California.
How a Property Manager Can Help with Lease Enforcement
Lease enforcement is part of the job of being a landlord, but it doesn't have to be your job. If you hire a property manager, they can take care of everything we've discussed in this post. For property owners in Folsom California, your best full-service property manager is Residential Equity Management.
Our services include rent collection and dealing with tenant issues, but we offer so much more. From property maintenance to tenant screening, we can help you maximize profits on your investment and avoid any headaches. Contact us today to learn more about what we do and how we can help you.