Many people choose to own their home in the US, however, 34% of Americans rent their home. Depending on the location, homes can be expensive and not everyone can buy one. Some people lease to get a feel for the neighborhood or community before committing to home ownership. And others lease to keep a roof over their head.

For those who lease, property managers are the first line of contact for tenant needs. How a property manager handles these violations makes the difference between a good one and a bad one.

What is a Lease Violation?

A lease agreement is a contract between a landlord and a tenant. This contract outlines the terms of the rental agreement, such as when rent is due. A lease violation occurs when a tenant breaks one or more of the rules outlined in the lease agreement.

How lease violations are handled will differ based on your landlord. Eviction is not always the solution unless there is participation in illegal activities.

What are Common Lease Violations?

Long-term Guests

    • Tenants have overnight guests all the time, those are typically not an issue. However, the property owner can be placed under extra liability when a guest overstays. Long-term guests are just tenants staying on the property without the landlord’s permission. To keep this from happening, there is often a stipulation in your rental agreement.

      Check your lease agreement for the maximum number of days a guest may stay. There should also be consequences in place, should this occur. Consequences may be as minor as a monthly fee to cover additional guests to the termination of the lease.

Unauthorized Pets

    • Pets tend to cause some serious damage to a property. Many lease agreements have a strict pet policy. The lease agreement will outline the policy and the consequences if violated.

      First, the landlord may ask the tenant to remedy the situation. If the issue continues, the landlord may impose a fine up to eviction. Be sure to review your lease for all pet agreements.

Unpaid Rent

    • A common issue among tenants is unpaid rent. The lease agreement will have a clear definition of the due date, and late fees that result from unpaid rent. A single late payment is a violation of the lease. Evicting a tenant and then needing to replace them with a new quality tenant is more of a burden for a landlord.

      How property managers handle unpaid rent is different. Fully stipulating terms in the lease agreement for late payments will help rectify this. One option is to impose a late fee, this gives tenants breathing room and rent checks coming. When a tenant chooses to not pay for their rent, eviction proceedings are likely.

Property Damage

    • Property damages can be time-consuming and costly to repair. A property manager entrusts the property will be safe with the tenant.

      To eliminate liability for damages, the property manager and tenant should do a walk-through of the property before signing the lease. The tenant and property manager should document and sign off on all pre-existing issues.

      The property manager should do regular property inspections and make necessary repairs promptly. An inspection will also address property damage from a tenant. The tenant should be responsible for covering any property damage from neglect or reckless actions.

Commercial Use of a Property

    • Property managers rarely take action when a tenant freelances or has a small side hustle from home. These endeavors are quiet and don’t require a lot of foot traffic to the home.

      Some businesses force the property manager to proceed with further action. For instance, if the tenant begins running a production business or has an accessive amount of deliveries. The property serves as a residence, not a business. Check your lease agreement for home business stipulations.

    Lease Violations By Landlord

    Not only can tenants violate a lease, but so can the landlord.

    In the state of Iowa, tenants have the right to privacy. A property manager isn’t able to enter the premises as they wish. A property manager must give you 24 hours in advance notice before entering your home unless it’s an emergency.

    Tenants do have actions they can take if there are violations of the lease agreement or if their home is unhealthy or unsafe.

    1. Write and send a dated notice to outline the issues that must be resolved. Provide the landlord with 7 days to correct the issue or you end your lease. If the issues are not resolved within 7 days, you are released from the remainder of your lease.

    2. Write and send a dated notice outlining the issues that need to be resolved and the actions needed to make the repairs yourself. Have the landlord sign off that you are making the necessary repairs and taking the expense from your rent.

    3. File a lawsuit to gain back attorney fees and losses that may have occurred if the landlord has not taken the appropriate action to resolve the outlined issues.


    Many types of lease violations exist for both the tenant and the landlord. Knowing how to address these issues is key to a successful resolution. Take time to familiarize yourself with the conditions of your lease. Research tenants’ rights and know how to address issues if they occur.