If you've noticed a tenant is violating their lease agreement, you're not alone. A recent study found that landlords file over 3.5 million eviction cases each year. Not every eviction case leads to an eviction, but it efficiently enforces the lease, making the rules of the agreement known.
To help you through this process, we've found all you need to know about enforcing a lease. That way, you can start lease enforcement quickly and correctly.
Read on to learn more about how to enforce a lease:
Communicate With Tenant
When you've noticed a tenant has breached the lease agreement, you'll first want to communicate with them. Send them a 10-day notice explaining the breach and how they must correct their behavior by the deadline or face consequences like an eviction.
This notice acts as an official warning. Some tenants may not even realize they're breaking the lease; thus, sending a notice ensures the tenant is aware and can solve the problem by acting accordingly.
During this period, make sure to document all communication from the tenant; this includes keeping copies of emails, text messages, and notices. Keeping documentation will help prove your case during the legal process.
Keep in mind a notice must be sent before any legal action occurs. Doing so shows that you tried to remedy the situation, but the tenant didn't obey the notice, leading to a quicker eviction process.
File for Eviction
If you've seen no improvement from the tenant by the deadline and they're still breaching the lease agreement, file for eviction. A hearing will likely take place two weeks from the filing date.
Once the hearing has occurred, the judge will rule to approve or deny the eviction. If the eviction is approved, the tenant has 10 days to file an appeal.
If no appeal is filed, the tenant is given a week to move out. If the tenant hasn't moved out by the stated deadline, a Sheriff will physically remove the tenant from the premises.
Sue for Rent or Damages
As the landlord, you also have the right to sue for unpaid rent or any damages the tenant caused to your property. However, remember that suing for damages is often a lengthy process on its own.
It's better to request compensation during the eviction hearing rather than filing a separate case. Depending on the tenant's financial situation and behaviors, the judge may order them to pay a portion of the assessed damages or all of it.
Begin the Lease Enforcement Process Today
Lease enforcement is difficult but necessary. In order to run a safe and successful rental property, you need to ensure all your tenants follow the lease agreement. If you are unable to manage the lease or other essential duties, we can help.
We at Wilkinson Property Management provide 24/7 property management for our Charlotte, North Carolina owners. Our team will collect rent, take maintenance calls, and handle the bookkeeping, ensuring your property is looked after and continues to make a profit.
Contact us today to learn more about our property management services.