Ideally, the relationship between tenants and landlords will be harmonious, and both parties gain from the rental experience. However, there are instances where things don't go according to plan or according to the binding legal contract of the lease agreement.
A rental lease agreement provides guidance to a tenant and protection for a landlord. As a landlord, are you prepared to protect your investment and enforce that agreement when a tenant is in violation?
There are appropriate strategies to employ when addressing a breach of contract. Read on to discover four tips to enforce a rental lease agreement.
1. Talk to the Tenant
Be proactive and avoid further infractions and any legal action by having a conversation with your tenant. It could be that a verbal reminder of the lease agreement and pointing out their violation is all it takes to correct the behavior.
This step also fosters a positive tenant-landlord relationship, making for smooth interactions in the future. Lease management with transparency and diplomacy is good practice, so it's best to approach the situation as though the tenant made a mistake rather than purposefully committing a violation.
2. Serving the Tenant Written Notice
After the verbal warning, if the tenant's behavior continues, the next step in lease enforcement is to more formally address the situation with written notice of violation.
Enforcing a lease may require serving the tenant with a notice to quit. A notice to quit is an official legal document that informs a tenant they must comply with the lease agreement or move out by a specific date or face eviction.
Illinois law dictates specific timeframes before landlords can initiate eviction proceedings. A five-day notice to quit indicates the tenant is guilty of nonpayment and has five days to pay in full. A ten-day notice states that the tenant must move out for a lease violation within ten days.
Send the notice by certified mail or deliver it directly to the tenant for the notice to be legal.
3. Keep Detailed Records
Do not underestimate the power of documentation. If a situation continues, it may develop into an issue that requires a court hearing. Although the prospect of eviction proceedings is unpleasant, prepare to protect your property.
Expect to provide proof of any violations and the steps you've taken to remedy the situation.
Documentation examples include:
- Printed pictures
- Police reports
- Copies of written notices
- Printed emails
- Printed text messages
Be sure to record the dates and times of any interactions or correspondence.
4. File for Eviction
After sending the proper notice to quit documents, if the tenant does not comply, a landlord can file for an eviction. A tenant will be served with a summons and a court date set.
The court may decide the eviction case, or the landlord and tenant may reach an agreement. If the judge enters an eviction order, a date is set for the tenant to leave the property.
Enforce Your Rental Lease Agreement
A rental lease agreement is in place to protect the rights of all parties involved in a tenancy. Ensure that you know the steps to enforce it by following these tips.
Contact us today with questions or to receive information about any of our property management services.