Skip to Content

How Much Should You Fine Renters for Lease Violations

Ferndale Renter Looking at a Lease Violation NoticeAs a Ferndale rental property owner, putting together very clear expectations for your renter is vital. Part of doing so is securing particular consequences for violating some terms in your lease. One measure to encourage renters to abide by their lease agreement is to issue fines for violations. However, are such fines or penalties legal? And how much should the fines be? Are there limits on the amount you can fine a renter? Let’s check out these and related subjects.

Are fines or penalties legal?

Generally speaking, yes. However, fines and penalties ought to be specifically detailed in your lease agreement before you can charge them. If it’s not included in the lease, you cannot charge extra fees. As long as your lease agreement comprises language specifying the penalties and the violations they apply to, you are within your rights to issue fines.

How much should a fine or penalty be?

When identifying sufficient fine amounts, think about the severity of the violation and the impact it has on you as the Ferndale property manager. It’s vital to bear in mind that fines should not be excessive or unjustly punishing. If the penalty you charge is much greater than the incurred damages, possibilities are that it will be regarded unenforceable, and you possibly won’t win your case in court.

Another thing to be concerned about is your ability to collect the charges from your renter. Fining a renter should only be used as a last resort by reason that it carries such a serious risk of permanently impairing any nice relations you may have with them. If you regard you have no other choice, then setting reasonable fine amounts will improve your possibilities of actually getting it. Renters are a lot more likely to refuse to pay excessive fines or to sue you to avoid paying them. It’s crucial to weigh the potential benefit of collecting a fine against the consequences, for instance losing a renter or facing a legal dispute.

Are there limits on the amount you can charge?

It’s imperative to also know that some states do have limits on how much can be charged for certain violations. For example, states like Delaware, Nevada, and Washington, D.C. limit late rent payment fees to 5% of the monthly rent amount. A few states have regulations that state the late fee must be “reasonable” and that it must be specifically detailed in the lease.

Different states may have other limitations relating to fines for lease violations. Therefore, it’s vital to figure out state and local laws before ever setting fine amounts in your lease agreement. It is likewise an excellent thought to consult a lawyer or local rental market expert before setting fine amounts in your lease agreement.


In conclusion, fines and penalties for lease violations can be advantageous for prodding renters to keep their agreements. Although it’s necessary to guarantee that any fines or penalties you charge are legal, rational, and in line with state and local laws.


Real Property Management Advantage has qualified and expert experience with all things property management, including lease agreements and tenant relations. If you need a review and feedback regarding a lease agreement or any other matter involving your rental property, contact us online to see what we can do for you.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

The Neighborly Done Right Promise

The Neighborly Done Right Promise ® delivered by Real Property Management, a proud Neighborly company

When it comes to finding the right property manager for your investment property, you want to know that they stand behind their work and get the job done right – the first time. At Real Property Management we have the expertise, technology, and systems to manage your property the right way. We work hard to optimize your return on investment while preserving your asset and giving you peace of mind. Our highly trained and skilled team works hard so you can be sure your property's management will be Done Right.

Canada excluded. Services performed by independently owned and operated franchises.

See Full Details