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When (and How) to Fine a Non-Compliant Renter

Highlands Renter Looking at a Lease Violation NoticeIt’s not pleasing, although every so often renters violate the terms of their lease in ways that result in a fine. There are numerous explanations why a renter may risk being fined and lots of violations that could result in a fine. But no matter the condition, fining for renter violations is a delicate business that is easy to get wrong. It should only be done after all other methods of communication have been exhausted, and the renter has declined to comply with the lease agreement. Let’s examine some common reasons a Highlands property manager may fine a renter, best practices for doing so, and some important pitfalls to avoid.

When a Renter Violates the Lease

Perhaps the most common reasons for fining a renter is after they’ve violated the terms of their lease agreement. This could be anything, but typically includes:

  • Late rent
  • Unauthorized pet
  • Unauthorized occupant
  • Unauthorized vehicle
  • Noise violation
  • Failure to provide an updated or renewed insurance policy
  • Property damage caused by renter negligence

Processing lease violations can be difficult because you want to ensure that the fine is fair and proportional to the offense. It’s important to have clear language in your lease about what will result in a fine and how much those fines will be. Penalties should likewise be consistently enforced for all renters, not just selectively applied.

Best Practices for Fining a Renter

After reviewing your lease terms thoroughly to ensure that your renter has violated them, you should first gather evidence of the lease violation. This can be done through pictures, written statements from other renters or witnesses, and documentation of any previous communication with the renter about the breach.

Once you have collected evidence, the next step is to issue a warning to the renter and allow them to correct the behavior. The only exception is late rent; late fees or fines related to late rent payments can usually be applied without warning.

If the renter does not comply, a fine can be issued according to the terms of the lease agreement. Use official communication methods such as a certified letter or email to inform the renter of the fine and how it will be collected. It is crucial to cautiously document all communication and actions taken if the issue escalates and legal action must be pursued.

Pitfalls to Avoid

It’s important to note that fining a renter should never be used as a form of retaliation or harassment. Fines should only be issued when they are fair and required to enforce the lease terms.

Fines should also be consistent – not arbitrarily issuing them to certain renters but not others. This can create a hostile living environment and lead to potential legal issues. Overall, fines should only be used as a last resort to ensure the safety and well-being of all renters and the Highlands property itself.

Additionally, it’s important to follow all state and local laws regarding rent increases, late fees, and other rental regulations. Failing to do so could result in unwanted legal consequences.

Fining renters should never be the first resort, but occasionally it is essential to ensure a safe and compliant living environment for all renters. By knowing the reasons and best practices for fining a renter and avoiding potential pitfalls, you can successfully manage lease violations and maintain a positive relationship with your renters.


Working with renters who violate their leases can be difficult and time-consuming. Instead of going it alone, consider calling in the experts at Real Property Management Piedmont to help! We provide a full range of property management services, freeing you from the unpleasant business of fining renters. To learn more, contact us online.

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