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

Dahlonega Renter Looking at a Lease Violation NoticeIt’s not acceptable, but now and then, renters violate the terms of their lease in ways that, unfortunately, result in a fine. There are multiple reasons why a renter may risk being fined and multiple violations that could cause a fine. Having said that, it does not matter the situation, 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 refused to obey and comply with the lease agreement. Let’s check out some common reasons a Dahlonega property manager may fine a renter, best practices for doing so, and some important pitfalls to avoid.

When a Renter Violates the Lease

Probably the most basic reasons for fining a renter is after they’ve violated the terms of their lease agreement. This could be anything, but normally implies:

  • 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

Managing lease violations can be arduous because you want to completely make sure that the fine is fair and proportional to the offense. It’s relevant to have clear language in your lease concerning what will cause a fine and how much those fines will be. Penalties should equally be consistently enforced for all renters, not just selectively applied.

Best Practices for Fining a Renter

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

As soon as you have secured evidence, the next step is to issue a warning to the renter and let them 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 care and doesn’t comply, a fine can be issued according to the terms of the lease agreement. Apply official communication methods like a certified letter or email to inform the renter of the fine and how it will be collected. It is relevant to fully document all communication and actions taken if the situation escalates and legal action needs to be pursued.

Pitfalls to Avoid

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

Fines should also be consistent – not arbitrarily issuing them to some other renters but not others. This can result in a hostile living environment and lead to, most likely, legal issues. Overall, fines should entirely be applied as a last resort to ascertain the safety and well-being of all renters and the Dahlonega property itself.

Not only that, it’s relevant to follow all state and local laws regarding rent increases, late fees, and other rental regulations. Failing to do so could result in unneeded legal consequences.

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



Working with renters who violate their leases can be a pain and time-consuming. In place of simply going it alone, try calling in the experts at Real Property Management Stellar to help! We tender a full range of property management services, freeing you from the undesired business of fining renters. To learn more, contact us online.

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