Lease Violation - Potential Legal Issues?

5 Replies

I came to find out that my tenants have acquired a "long term guest".  One roommate just left for several months and the long term guest has now moved into their room and pays them a portion of rent.  This new person also has a dog.  This is all a violation of the lease because it was done without my knowledge and approval.  I am wondering if I need to be concerned legally that this person is living there and not on the lease?

Have a talk with them. Let them know you know about the new resident and dog. You might want to do a background check on the person and tell them that so they can be added to the lease. Controlling whether or not that person moves if you demand it is difficult and also hard to evict over. Weigh the pros and cons. If the rent is still paid to you on time and the place is kept in decent order, it shouldn't be too much of a worry for you.

However, with the dog, you should enforce a pet fee. Either a deposit or a monthly pet fee.... I personally do not have a deposit but I do have a monthly pet fee. My tenants are able to stomach a little increase in monthly rent than coming up with hundreds of dollars all at once. Get this pet agreement in writing. Include that they must clean up after the pet or there will be a fine for each occurrence of poo found in the yard (mine says $15 per occurrence.) Meet the dog...does he/she seem friendly and calm overall? You'll know what's right. But don't over-react either.

Follow the lease terms.  If there is a no-pet policy and they are violating the guest policy, send them proper notice that they have violated these specific terms of the lease and have x days, whatever your state requires, to remedy the problem.  If you allow pets and or changing roommates, then include what steps they must take to bring current conditions under your approval, such as providing full application and pet deposit, etc., for new tenant, security deposit issues, etc.  

Dear (Tenants)

I have been advised that you have an extra person living with you and a dog.   Since I didn't approve this tenant or their dog, you are in violation of our lease agreement, and therefore  I am enclosing a Termination of Tenancy with you making your last day with us,   (type in the date)

Whoa you say to yourself as you are reading this post.  Wow, she's going to kick out two paying tenants without so much as a blink of an eye.

Well, for one thing they didn't ask the landlord's permission and they brought in a dog.  Clearly they didn't think the landlord deserved to know and what else would they think the landlord shouldn't know.   So this letter has given the landlord an upper hand with these tenants, showing them who is in control and who isn't.

I'm sure these tenants don't want to move and they will call the landlords office post haste to plea for forgiveness, and you will say to them.  (if you want the other guest and the dog) this is what you have to do. 

Your guest will have to fill out an application form and he or she will have to qualify just like you did.  If they check out okay, I'll put him or her on the lease, if  they don't qualify,  they have to go.

If you want the dog you say this.

As far as the dog is concerned there will be a $250.00 Non Refundable Pet cleaning Fee and an extra $25 a month pet rent. 

And if you don't want the dog, you will say, As far as the dog is concerned, it has to go. 

You must take control now!  If not you will always be tested.  Whether with them or someone else.  

Nip it in the bud, when stuff like this happens, right away!

Nancy Neville

@Nancy Neville

Thank you very much for the great responses.  All were very helpful!

I don't know about SC but I can tell you that in Texas those are all good ideas BUT if they take you to court it could go either way unless you can't prove they violated the lease (and they will lie for sure) in which case you will loose for sure. The only sure eviction is for non-payment of rent.

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