Your tenant just signed the lease to live on your rental property, so they should follow all of the agreed-upon rules, right? They should, but as a property manager, you know that's not always the case.
What do you do if one of your tenants is acting out of contract? A landlord must follow certain steps to lease enforcement legally. Read on to find out how to do that.
Provide a Written Notice
If a tenant violates the terms of a lease in Atlanta, Georgia, you should serve them a written notice. This lease enforcement notice must include the following:
- Tenant name
- Property address
- Summary of the issue
- Date the issue must be remedied
In general, the tenant will have three days to comply with the contract or vacate the premises. For example, if a tenant is late on their rent payment, you can give them a three-day notice.
On this written notice, you must provide the above information along with the amount due.
Serving the Tenant
To legally serve a tenant, the notice must be hand-delivered or registered through the mail. You can provide a copy of the certified mail to a person of age living with the tenant.
The law in Georgia also says that you can hand-deliver the notice to a tenant's place of employment.
Whatever way you choose to serve a tenant, it is essential to keep your own copies. If three days pass without the tenant complying or vacating the property, the landlord is allowed to file with the court for eviction.
Hard Lease Provisions to Enforce
As property owners, it is important to know which lease provisions are hardest to enforce. Even if stated in the lease agreement, certain laws and judges will be on the side of the tenant.
There are a lot of limitations to tenant fees such as application and late fees. Illegal fees must be returned to the tenant.
Most states will prevent tenants from charging application fees more than general out-of-pocket costs. Often, nonrefundable fees are going to make the courts mad if a tenant does end up using that against you in the future.
Keep in mind that tenants can file a class-action lawsuit by drawing in other current or former tenants. With the use of social media to find anyone, this is a very possible scenario if you are overcharging with fees.
Owning a pet may be a tenant violation, but companion animals are not. No matter the rules on a property, the law says a landlord cannot reject a tenant for a companion/support animal.
Do You Need a Lease Enforcement Plan?
A lease contract is not always going to be followed. If you are sure to maintain your end of the contract, providing legal notice to a violating tenant shouldn't be a problem.
A property manager has a difficult but important job to uphold. Yet, it is normal to need extra help every once in a while.