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Common Lease Violations (And How to Combat Them)

When it comes to the property management industry, there are certain concessions every landlord must make. Whether you compromise on the rent you charge, the policies you enforce or the tenants you accept, there comes a time in every property manager's career when concessions have to be made. That said, a lease is a legally binding document, and the things you're unwilling to compromise on should be highlighted there. Inevitably, says Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management, you'll have a tenant who breaks your rules and you'll have your lease to point to. Prepare yourself for the following most common kinds of lease violations:

Pets

Perhaps you don't allow certain breeds of dog in your apartment complex, or maybe you have forbidden pets altogether. Whatever your rules, tenants will inevitably try to sneak their furry friends past you. While you can't prevent all pets from getting in, you can shine your spotlight on those you believe to be violating your rules. Notify your tenant of the violation and document every conversation you have with them. Take photographic evidence if possible. Arm yourself with information.

Decor

It can be difficult for some tenants to follow your rules about decor, especially if you've got strict policies about damage to the paint or drywall. Most people simply want a home that feels like them, and many apartments can be devoid of any real character. The solution? Provide your tenants with a setting that's chic from the day they move in. Take a page out of the book of PKSL, an apartment community in Sunnyvale, California that's lightly themed with Atari in mind. Even the slightest of tweaks to decor can keep your tenants happy and content to leave the walls as they are.

Guests

In the sharing economy, short-term rentals are more popular than ever before. Even if you've forbidden the use of Airbnb, VRBO or other short-term subleasing options, many tenants will disregard your rules altogether. Often times, short-term guests turn into long-term unofficial roommates if your tenant is allowing a buddy to crash or a girlfriend or boyfriend to spend the night. To combat this common lease violation, find a way to work with your tenants to get long-term guests on the lease.

You can't please everyone, but you and your staff can always look to your lease and hold folks accountable when they disobey your policies. It's one of the least fun aspects of property management, but it's a task we all must shoulder some of the time.

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

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