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What Constitutes a Lease Violation?

A large portion of the country's population lives in rented or leased properties. Leasing is popular because:

  • it provides an opportunity for individuals to occupy houses and live in neighborhoods they otherwise might not have been able to afford, and
  • it also affords individuals who want to purchase a home the opportunity to live in the area and get a feel for the neighborhood prior to committing to the purchase of a property.

Regardless of the reasons, leasing is a vital method used by many people to acquire proper housing. Even so, there are things that can occur during a lease period that can result in a conflict with a landlord and might even result in the eviction of the tenants of a leased property.

A Serious Lease Violation Can Lead to Eviction

Prior to signing a lease agreement, tenants must fully read the agreement and understand all of the minute details that are held within the document. Long-term leases are different from month-to-month leases because landlords cannot simply remove tenants with a 30-day notice to quit, which usually does not require a specific reason.

Leased properties, however, require that specific violations of the lease agreement occur before a landlord can initiate eviction proceedings. Leased properties also have strict guidelines as to steps that must be taken by a landlord prior to an eviction and very specific timelines that must be met. With that said, there are certain things that a tenant might do or not do that constitutes a serious enough lease violation to incur eviction proceedings.

Failure to Pay Rent Is the Primary Cause of Eviction

The primary violation most tenants fall guilty of is non-payment of rent or late payment of rent. All lease agreements stipulate the due date for lease payments and many offer terms for late payments, but even one late payment can constitute a lease violation and give the landlord grounds for future action if they are so inclined. Generally, a series of late payments must occur for a landlord to initiate eviction and many landlords do not proceed with eviction for late payments as long as they are receiving the rent. However, non-payment of rent will force a landlord to issue a pay or quit notice, which demands rent payment by a certain time or forces the tenant out of the property if that time frame is not met.

A Pattern of Lesser Violations Can Lead to Eviction

There are other actions that constitute lease violations, and while some are not serious enough to result in eviction, a pattern of lesser violations can result in frustrating a landlord to the point they consider eviction, such as:

  • keeping a pet in a no-pet property,
  • repeated neighbor complaints for noise, or
  • not properly maintaining the property.

Causing damage to the property or partaking in illegal activity on the premises gives the landlord grounds to initiate an unconditional notice to quit, which can result in eviction within as little as five days depending on local and state law.

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