What Do You Do When Tenants Violate Their Basic Legal Responsibilities?

Almost every state allows you to terminate the lease of a tenant who violates basic legal obligations. Violations may include serious lack of hygiene practices that lead to unhealthy conditions, such as allowing waste to accumulate; serious misuse of electrical appliances, such as ice pick defrosting; or severely damaging property, such as a hole in the wall.

Your lease or rental agreement should already include an obligation to guarantee the property is livable and to refrain from damaging it. If a tenant or guest causes material damage to the premises, you have the right to use an ‘unconditional quit’ notice. The law does not require you to give tenants a second chance if they are accused of serious misconduct. Tenants who receive such termination notices usually have only five to ten days to move out, depending on the state.