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

Oshkosh Renter Looking at a Lease Violation NoticeIt’s not desirable, but having said that, periodically, renters violate the terms of their lease in ways that result in a fine. There are several reasons why a renter may risk being fined and several violations that could prompt a fine. On the other hand, it makes no difference 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 carry out and comply with the lease agreement. Let’s go through quite a few common reasons an Oshkosh property manager may fine a renter, best practices for doing so, and some important pitfalls to avoid.

When a Renter Violates the Lease

Quite probably the most typical reasons for fining a renter is after they’ve violated the terms of their lease agreement. This could be anything, but mostly entails:

  • 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 burdensome because you want to make sure that the fine is fair and proportional to the offense. It’s salient to have clear language in your lease referring to what will affect a fine and how much those fines will be. Penalties should further be consistently enforced for all renters, not just selectively applied.

Best Practices for Fining a Renter

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

When you have collected evidence, the next step is to issue a warning to the renter and make 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 comply, a fine can be issued according to the terms of the lease agreement. Employ 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 salient to earnestly document all communication and actions taken if the situation escalates and legal action has to be pursued.

Pitfalls to Avoid

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

Fines should also be consistent – not arbitrarily issuing them to particular renters but not others. This can cause a hostile living environment and lead to would-be legal problems. Overall, fines should be put to use as a last resort to check and ensure the safety and well-being of all renters and the Oshkosh property itself.

Likewise, it’s salient to follow all state and local laws regarding rent increases, late fees, and other rental regulations. Failing to do so could give rise to uncalled-for legal consequences.

Fining renters should never be the first resort, but, at times, it is relevant to nail down a safe and compliant living environment for all renters. By assimilating the reasons and best practices for fining a renter and avoiding potential pitfalls, you can practically manage lease violations and maintain a positive relationship with your renters.


Working with renters who violate their leases can be hard and time-consuming. As an option of going it alone, try calling in the experts at Real Property Management Lakeshore to help! We render a full range of property management services, freeing you from the distasteful business of fining renters. To learn more, contact us online.

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