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5 Steps to Handle a Tenant That Violates Their Lease

5 Steps to Handle a Tenant That Violates Their Lease

What happens when your tenant is a week late paying their rent? There is no sign of a check and your tenant has not reached out to you, and you are starting to get upset. What about a scenario where the tenant has broken the terms of the lease agreement, and you need to get them out of your rental property ASAP? No landlord wants to deal with situations like these, situations where you have to confront your tenant, demand money, or have them vacate the promises.

Attorney Bucklin understands that no one can predict the future, and there is no “landlord crystal ball” that can warn you about a tenant before they enter your property. Attorney Bucklin also understands that when you find yourself dealing with tenant issues, it is crucial to follow proper protocol so the landlord-tenant relationship is handled correctly and more importantly…legally.

Here is a list of 5 steps you need to follow to handle a difficult tenant that does not pay on time or has broken your lease agreement.

Talk With Your Tenant

Respectfully talk with your tenant about the issue. Be understanding and open minded when it comes to the situation to ensure that you can get a better understanding of the situation. Let your tenant know that you care about their situation, but you also can not afford not to receive rent or have them break the lease agreement. Be firm and fair while reviewing the lease and your expectations of them as renters.

  • If the rent payment is late, this is a great time to give them a formal “late rent” notice while discussing the issue.

  • If they are breaking the lease agreement, this would be a good time to give them a formal document highlighting what needs to be addressed.

Know the Law and Timeframes Allotted By Your State

Every state has its own laws and regulations put in place to deal with landlord and tenant rights. It is essential to understand two things:


  • Time Restrictions: Each state has its own guidelines put in place when it comes to the amount of time that a landlord must give a renter to address any issue when dealing with late rent or breaking lease terms. It is important to give your tenant the correct amount of days to address the issues so that you are following proper protocol.

  • State Law for Eviction: Each state also has its own set of laws that must be followed to properly document and evict a tenant. The “Landlord and Tenant Act” goes into a detailed explanation of the legal side of the eviction process. Make sure to review and understand the laws that protect both the landlord and the tenant before you take the situation to the next step.

These laws and timeframes can change over time depending on the state and situation. It is more important to handle these situations with time and get it done correctly than to rush them. That is why we recommend following up with an Attorney that understands these regulations inside and out. Attorney Bucklin has been assisting landlords for many years in the state of Massachusetts to ensure that all situations are handled legally and thoroughly.

Send a Formal “Pay or Quit” Notice

Most states require you to send a “notice to quit” when a tenant doesn’t pay the rent or violates the terms of the lease. It is a reminder that the individual is not following the procedures outlined in the lease and has “x” amount of days to do so. Most states require that you give your tenant 7-10 days to address the issue. If the notice is ignored and the tenant does not pay, the next steps are more severe.

File an Eviction Action and Give a Notice

Now things are starting to get more serious. If your tenant still refuses to pay the rent or change their behavior to follow the agreed-upon lease, you have the right to file the proper paperwork at the courthouse for a formal eviction hearing. Make sure to bring all of the documentation needed to prove that you have tried to work with the tenant and followed proper protocol.

Here are some things to consider during the process:

  • The “notice to quit” letter you gave the tenant

  • Have a way to pay the court fees

  • Have your calendar to schedule the hearing

  • Know who is responsible to “serve” the tenant the paperwork

  • Get ready for your court date


Once the paperwork has been submitted, give your tenant the formal eviction notice. The notice needs to be placed on the front door, and some states make you send a copy via certified mail. Make sure to use a state-specific eviction form template so that you follow all rules and regulations outlined by your state.

Consider Hiring a Property Manager

If you are not the kind of person who wants to deal with a tenant and the many issues that arise when renting a home, contact a property management service. There are managers out there that understand common tenant issues and will work with you every step of the way when renting your property. Some of these services they may offer is marketing your property, locate prospective tenants, and show the property. Once a tenant is occupying your property they will collect rent, access and collect late payment fees, provide 24/7 maintenance, help with accounting, and deal with any court appearances in the event of an eviction. Having an attorney help you with your lease agreements can help you find the right tenants to avoid these headaches.

Contact Attorney Bucklin

If you are a property manager in the state of Massachusetts and are dealing with a difficult tenant that is either late on rent payments or has broken the lease agreement, get professional help from Attorney Bucklin. He has the experience and knowledge of the laws and regulations that are required to handle these situations. Get in direct contact with him by calling him at 781-632-8675 or by filling out a contact form on the website.


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