San Diego Property Management Blog

Lease Enforcement 101: What You Need to Know

Lease Enforcement 101: What You Need to Know

44.1 million American households are renters, which also means all of these households have some form of a landlord, owner, or property management company to answer to.   

Asking tenants to sign a lease means the landlord is asking them to enter a contractual agreement about the rental. Signing a lease means the tenant is agreeing to the terms. Does that mean the landlord has free reign over what goes into the lease?

No, the landlord can only practice lease enforcement for those items in the lease that are actually legal under state and federal law. The landlord can place reasonable expectations in the lease, yet still has to abide by the laws that protect a tenant's rights. 

Read on to learn more about lease enforcement for a landlord. 

Landlord's Written Notice

If a tenant is in violation of something from the lease, the first step is to provide written notice of the violation. The landlord would write a three-day comply or quit notice. 

This puts the tenant on notice that they have 3 days to fix whatever they are out of compliance with. This notice should include:

  • Tenant's name
  • Property address
  • Summary of the problem 

Then the notice should include a clear date by when the problem should get resolved. 

Serving the Tennant With the Notice

In order for the three-day comply or quit notice to be enforceable, it must be correctly delivered to the tenant. You can't simply type up the notice and drop it in the mail.

There must be some kind of verification that the notice got delivered or served to the tenant. The landlord needs to either serve the notice in person, which can be done to the tenant's employment location too. Or the notice must get sent certified mail so there is a record of it. 

Keep copies of the notice you sent and careful records including when it was sent and if the tenant complied in the correct time frame. 

Landlord Notice

Sometimes the problems with a lease lie not with the tenant, but instead with the landlord. What if the landlord has not done something they should have done? What if there's a repair needed and the landlord won't do it?

The tenant can't just opt to not pay rent or to remove themselves from the lease. They, too, must follow some guidelines. They should provide the same kind of written notice and have it sent certified to the landlord. 

Removing a Tenant

The landlord must follow state laws regarding removing a delinquent tenant or even a tenant whose lease has expired. The lease can't allow for the landlord to go in and simply remove the tenant and their belongings. it doesn't matter if the lease is expired or not. 

The landlord has an obligation to provide the notices and clearly state the intent, following state housing laws. 

Lease Enforcement Done Legally Through the Steps

Every landlord wants to find tenants who will do what they are supposed to do. Lease enforcement can be complicated and slow if the tenant isn't compliant. 

If you're a property owner looking for help managing your properties and dealing with your tenants, we can help. Contact us today so we can discuss your property management needs in San Diego.