Check The Lease: Potential Violations That Student Tenants Should Avoid

Monday, August 10, 2020

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While comprehending all of the terminology and legal jargon in a document such as a lease might be difficult, it’s important to carefully review the rules and regulations before signing. On occasion, tenants of student housing may be in violation of their lease without even knowing it. This is why it's critical that they know what can and cannot be done within their rental.

We’ve compiled a list of 10 possible lease violations that student tenants may not be aware of. Please note that every lease is different, so these violations may not be relevant to a specific lease.

1. Friend from out-of-town comes to visit for a few weeks and plans to stay at the rental.
Depending on the duration of the friend’s stay, this may potentially be a violation of a guest policy in the lease. Typically, there is a rule pertaining to how long a guest can stay before they are technically considered a tenant. If the guest only stays for a few days, this likely won’t be a problem. But if the person stays for over a week, this might be a violation.


2. Roommate bails and stops paying rent, and the other tenant assumes that it’s the roommate’s problem.
Unfortunately, in most scenarios the other tenant will be responsible for the roommates portion of rent. Many leases have a clause that all roommates are jointly and severally responsible for paying the full monthly sum of rent. In other words, if a roommate stops paying the rent, the landlord can hold the other tenant responsible to pay the other person's share. Not paying the full rental rate would be considered a lease violation.


3. Friend brings over a dog for a brief visit.
The lease specified “no pets”. The tenant's friend is only visiting with a pet for a few hours. This is still technically a violation, as the lease likely stated "no pets inside the premises", even if the pet doesn't live there. This can become even more of an issue, if it’s a shared living accommodation and one of the other tenants has a pet allergy.


4. Renter sublets the rental without notifying the landlord or receiving consent.
Just because subletting is a common occurrence, doesn’t mean a tenant can do it without written consent from the landlord. Most leases will contain a section stating that a landlord must first approve subletting to another tenant and written consent must be provided.


5. Tenant modifies the rental unit, such as changing a light fixture or putting a few nails in the wall to hang up photos.
A lease agreement might specify that no modifications can be done to the rental unit without authorization by the landlord. This could include something as small as putting up a picture on the wall. Before making any modifications to a rental, be sure to get approval from the landlord first.


6. Renter discovers a serious problem in the rental unit, such as a leak in the basement or an electrical hazard, and fails to report it to the landlord.
While these issues might not be of immediate concern to the tenant, a lot of leases contain a provision where the tenant must alert the landlord immediately, if there are any dangerous or hazardous conditions noticed. Failure to report such findings can result in a lease violation.


7. Tenant signs up for a satellite TV subscription without landlord consent.
Much like making modifications to a rental, a landlord’s consent is usually required before signing up for services like satellite TV, which requires the installation of a dish on the property.


8. Renter goes on vacation for an extended period of time without notifying the landlord.
Some leases will include a section stating that a tenant must notify the landlord if they plan on taking an extended vacation that exceeds a certain number of days. This is to provide the landlord with permission to access the rental unit during the tenant's absence. It can be particularly important during winter months, when the pipes could freeze and cause damage.

9. Tenant purchases a new car, swaps out the parking permit from the old car, but fails to notify the landlord.
This lease violation applies more towards apartment communities where parking is monitored and regulated. If a tenant purchases a new car, there’s a good chance they’ll be required to inform the landlord or property manager. Otherwise, the car might get towed.


10. Tenant starts up a small freelance business based out of the rental unit.
The rental could be zoned for ‘residential purposes only’, so this would mean that operating an out-of-home business would be a lease violation. 

SEE ALSO:  Tips for Maintaining a Safe and Clean Living Space

The Team