What Do Detroit Landlords Need to Know About Enforcing the Lease Agreement?

By Own It Detroit

Man in a suit looking through a magnifying glass reading a document

As a real estate investor in Detroit, Michigan, you must protect your rentals and income. However, without a strong lease agreement (and a solid plan for enforcing it), property owners put their investment at risk and can lose money. 

A well-crafted lease follows the law and leaves no room for interpretation when working with tenants and enforcing the rules. We understand that holding renters (and yourself) accountable to abiding by the lease can be stressful—and even unpleasant at times. Today, we hope you help you understand the importance of consistent lease enforcement and give you some expert Detroit property management tips to manage renters and leases successfully! 

Property insurance. House miniature covered by hands

Be An Excellent Example

One way to inspire residents to follow the lease is to make sure you also follow it yourself! An excellent lease is a binding document that helps tenants pay the rent on time and follow the rules. Your lease also documents guidelines and responsibilities that landlords must follow when operating legal rentals in Detroit

If you don't uphold your responsibilities in the lease, tenants won't follow the rules, either. Be an excellent example of the standards you expect from residents and follow the rules that apply to you in the lease. When it's time to enforce the rules with renters, you can highlight how you honor your responsibilities and expect the same from them. 

Understand Rental Property Lease Violations

Enforcing the lease requires understanding the document and what counts as a violation. As it applies to a tenant, any time they fail to pay the rent on time, don't keep up with their responsibilities (like lawn care or taking out the trash), or cause property damage, they've violated the lease. 

However, if your lease doesn't document their responsibilities thoroughly, renters can take advantage of gray areas to avoid penalties (or eviction) when they don't pay the rent on time or refuse to cut the grass at your rental property. Work with a Detroit property manager to review your lease and ensure that it empowers you to enforce the rules. 

Your lease should include specific details about:

  • Rent due dates (including when it's considered "late" and the penalties for past-due rent)
  • Tenant rental responsibilities (including some maintenance tasks, lawn care, trash schedules, and penalties for neglecting these duties)
  • Pets (whether you allow them or not)
  • Who is allowed to live in the property (and each resident's name)
  • If you allow subleasing (or not)
  • How often you'll inspect the rental 
  • Your responsibilities to the tenant and property regarding maintenance, responses to repairs, and how to reach you in an emergency)

Handsome businessman with magnifying glass study contract

The lease agreement should be detailed and follow landlord-tenant law with required disclosures and appropriate wording. Your lawyer and a property manager can help you get the wording just right to make sure you can enforce the lease as needed. 

Be Fair Across Multiple Real Estate Investment Properties

When building a significant real estate investment portfolio in Detroit, landlords must enforce the leases fairly across all rentals and tenants. Showing favoritism to one resident or specific rental can lead to misunderstandings and lawsuits from other tenants who are subject to your strict enforcement (while others aren't). 

With multiple properties, it becomes even more important for investors to create air-tight leases and enforce the rules consistently. If multiple residents don't pay the rent on time or stop taking good care of their rentals, you have multiple costly problems on your hands! Work with the best property management in Detroit to keep an eye on rentals and tenant behavior and enforce the rules throughout each lease term. 

Consistency Sets the Stage for Success

Building your reputation as a fair, yet compassionate rental property owner helps set the stage for your success. When tenants see that you operate fairly, they're more likely to follow the rules based on your consistent example. 

Small violations that go without enforcement can lead to more serious infractions. It can also open the door to illegal activities taking place in your rentals when tenants believe they can get away with breaking the rules because they haven't experienced any consequences as outlined in the lease. If you're dealing with bigger problems than a tenant that hasn't cut the grass in a few weeks, let a Detroit property manager handle lease enforcement. A property manager allows investors to enjoy a buffer between bad tenant behavior (and potential reactions) while protecting their rentals and income. 

Enforce the Lease With Help From a Detroit Property Management Company!

Tenants need to know there are consequences for late rent payments or leaving a car on cinder blocks while it drips oil on the driveway. However, if it's not in the lease (or you don't enforce it), your property and income are at risk! 

Own It Detroit helps a landlord manage tenants and enforce the lease, whether you have one property, several rentals, or a significant portfolio of rentals. If we can help you review your leases (and enforce them), we're here to help protect your investments!

Learn more about protecting rental income with our free resource, "Protecting Your Investment Property: A Guide."

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