Fees for Lease Violations?

2 Replies

After our last tenant moved out, I reflected on how she left the property (it was not good) and how through the 2 years she lived there, she violated the lease several times (unauthorized occupant, changed locks, etc) and every time, my husband would say not to make a big deal of it, she pays on time, everything else is fine, it's not a big deal, etc etc. Fast forward to the end and she had an additional pet and had smoked in the place the last several months. I think by that time we appeared "laid back" about the lease, and I don't want that to happen again. So I need to be able to enforce the lease without necessarily evicting someone- and I'm thinking charging a fee sends the right message. I found the thread below, but would like to see what others charge as far as fees for lease violations.

http://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/52/topics/120987-dis-incentives-fines-for-bad-behavior

Good luck Angie! My husband is also laid back and I am more high strung about making tenants tow the line. Sometimes we can successfully play good cop/bad cop, but lots of times I have to let things go because it isn't worth constantly fighting over.

We charge for these items, as worded in the agreement:

Maintenance & Showing: Following proper notice, tenant shall allow access to unit at reasonable times. Failure to do so could result in a $100 fee.

If Tenant fails to property maintain smoke detectors, Tenant will be assessed a fine of $50.00 per visit with non-working detectors, after the second warning.

Unauthorized parking, storage, or accumulation of waste may be assessed up to $10.00 per day per violation.

Failure to set up water/sewer/garbage or electricity accounts promptly may result in a $35 charge (each).

Any rent due not paid by the 4th day of the monthly rental period is subject to a $30.00 late fee charge with an additional $5.00 for each additional day that the rent remains unpaid. The total late charge for any one month will not exceed $75.00.

Any dishonored check shall be treated as unpaid rent and be subject to the same late charge, plus a twenty five US Dollar ($25.00) special handling fee and must be made good by cash, money order, or certified check within 24 hours of notification.

Lease violation fees do send a strong message and provide some compensation to us for the trouble of dealing with "rule breakers". We outline fees in our rental agreement. I created a form that I use when I assess fees for lease violations. This is it:

[On Our Letterhead]

To: __________ From: __________ Date:__________

As per the terms of your rental agreement, we are assessing you with the following fees for violation of rental agreement terms. We hate to have to do this. We would much rather you follow the terms of your agreement.

Please review your rental agreement. The following items have a violation fee attached. We have marked the ones that apply to you with the date of the known violation.

____ Rent Late Fee - Rent not paid or postmarked by the 5th of the month ($50)

____ Non Sufficient Funds Fee - Check not honored by bank ($20)

____ Guest Fee - Approved Guests staying more than 14 days in any 12 month period. ($5 per day)

____ Unauthorized Occupant Fee - Individuals not on the rental agreement are staying in the unit past the period allowed for guests and without the approval of the landlord ($50)

____ Unauthorized Pet Fee - Pets/Animals not on the rental agreement have been in the unit without the approval of the landlord ($50)

____ Smoking Penalty Fee - Smoking in the unit or on the premises by either tenant or the guests of the tenant ($50)

____ Smoke Detector or Carbon Monoxide Detector Tamper Fee - Detection device in the unit has been tampered with and is not functioning (Up to $200)

____ Property Damage: _____________________

____ Service Charges - $20 for each legal notice served related to a violation, such as "Notice to Comply" or "Notice to Pay Rent or Quit".

TOTAL DUE _________

"All payments made by Tenant to Landlord after the tenancy commences, no matter how designated by Tenant, will be applied as follows: First, to any outstanding amounts due for damages/repairs, utilities, etc.; Second, to any outstanding service charges and fees from prior months; Third, to any rent outstanding from prior months; Fourth, to any service charges or fees due in the current month; and lastly to the current month's rent."

Time is of the essence. Please call us immediately to make arrangements for us to collect the fees in person. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter!

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