A lease default letter is a document served to a tenant or landlord to notify them that they are in breach of one or more clauses of the lease agreement.
Although tenants commonly use lease default letters to inform the landlord that they are in breach of the lease agreement, the lease default letter can also be used by landowners to inform the tenants of the same. However, one key thing to note is that the lease default letter is not an eviction notice; but it would be unwise for the tenant to ignore it as the consequences could be significant.
If written by the landlord, the lease default letter’s purpose is to let the tenant know the particular problem and provide them with a time frame for remedying such problems. Should the tenant fail to remedy the problem within the provided time frame, action may be taken against them depending upon the default and the lease agreement’s provisions.
Types of Lease Default Letters
There are two main types of lease default letters that can be served to a tenant depending on the type of default.
Default due to late rent
This is the most common type of lease default letter and is served to tenants for non-payment of rent. Should the tenant fail to remedy the default within a specified period, the type of action taken against them would depend on the default duration and the lease agreement’s wording. It is recommended that landlords use the Notice to Quit for Non-payment if the tenant fails to pay their rent over a long time.
Default due to non-compliance
Another reason why a tenant may be served a lease default letter is due to Non-compliance, e.g., damages caused to the property, failure to comply with the parking requirements, taking part in activities prohibited in the lease agreement. Should the tenant fail to resolve the problem after being served the lease default letter due to non-compliance, the landlord may opt to serve them with a Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance instead.
Writing a Lease Default Letter
It is common for landlords to find themselves in situations where they have to issue their tenant(s) with lease default letters for non-compliance or late rent payments. As such, it is important that they learn how to properly craft the letter professionally to avoid future litigations that may be both costly and time-consuming.
Here is how the lease default letter should be crafted:
Define the recipient
Include the tenant’s full name as indicated on the lease agreement. It is important that the name included matches the exact name included in the lease agreement, as a small error in the name may mean someone else entirely. For example, if the tenant’s name is Peter Michaels, ensure that the name is written in full and not shortened to Peet Michael, as the tenant may dismiss the letter as having received it by mistake.
Identify the default lease by date
When drafting the lease default letter, it is important to inform the tenant of the lease agreement that they signed when leasing the premises. Most lease agreements can be identified by the name and address of the premise leased, the parties involved in the agreement, and the lease date, i.e., the date of execution. Include the exact date of execution of the lease agreement in the lease default letter to help the tenant and court, should the issue escalate, understand the lease agreement in question.
Explain the default
There are various ways in which the tenant may default on their lease agreement, including:
- An act of insolvency
- Breach of permitted use
- Breach of the repair agreement
- Failure to pay rent
- Unauthorized alterations etc.
The tenant must be informed of their specific default to help them remedy such defaults or plead their case on time. Explain in detail and if need be, quote the specific clause that they have defaulted on from the lease agreement to help them understand why they are receiving the default notice.
Document the amount of notice being afforded
The lease default letter should notify the tenant of the exact number of days afforded to them to remedy their defaults. The amount of notice should be calculated from the date the notice is issued. However, one needs to check with their state and federal government laws to ensure that the notice period that they provide doesn’t go against the laws governing such notices.
For the tenant to take the default letter seriously and for it to hold up in court should the issue escalate, the landlord should provide their contact information, i.e., their print name, phone number, email, and signature. The letter should be signed and stamped to show that the landlord acknowledges the letter and should be hand-delivered to the tenant or sent via certified mail and the receipt to show that the tenant received the letter.
Things to Consider While Writing the Lease
There are things that the landlord must consider when sending the lease default letter to their tenants.
- Send the letter prior to sending an eviction notice: Before issuing the tenant with an eviction notice, they should first be issued with a lease default letter and be afforded time to rectify their default.
- Send the letter via certified mail: It is recommended that the landlord sends the default letter via certified mail to ensure that the tenant receives the letter.
- Attach a copy of the lease agreement to the lease default letter: A copy of the lease agreement should be attached to the default letter to help the tenant understand the clauses they have breached and actions that would be taken against them should they fail to remedy the breach.
Lease Default Letter Template
[Date of Notice]
[Address of Leased Premise]
[City, State Zip Code]
[Title and name of tenant]
[Address of tenant] [City, State Zip Code]
Dear [Title and name of tenant],
We regret to inform you that you are in default of the lease agreement that you signed on [date]. As per the terms of the agreement, we are providing you with written notice of your breach.
The following are the reasons for your default on the lease agreement: [List all defaults in a clear and concise manner]
Please be advised that you have [number] days from the date of this notice to cure the defaults outlined above. Failure to do so will result in the termination of the lease agreement and the filing of any collection proceedings for damages.
We remind you that this letter is made under all applicable laws with the rights stipulated in the lease agreement reserved under this letter.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us using the information provided below.
[Your name and title]
[Your contact information]
Lease Default Letter Sample
Dear Mr. Kelvin Hollard,
I am writing this letter to address the concerns regarding your tenancy at Trisha Apartments. Our records indicate that you have breached the lease agreement dated January 4th, 20XX, which we have enclosed for your reference.
As a tenant, it is important to comply with the lease agreement to ensure a peaceful and comfortable living environment for all residents. Unfortunately, we have observed the following violations on your part:
>Failure to pay for the repairs as agreed
>Disrupting the peace by playing loud music and inviting visitors to your otherwise private residence
>Late payment of rent for the past three months
We understand that situations can arise that may cause delays in payment or other difficulties. As such, we are giving you the opportunity to remedy these defaults within 60 days, as per the lease agreement. If you fail to do so, we may have no choice but to demand that you vacate the premises. In the meantime, you will be required to pay a fine of $700, as outlined in the lease agreement.
Please note that we take our community and tenants’ welfare seriously, and will take swift action on any issue that may interfere with their comfort or safety.
We appreciate your cooperation in this matter and hope that we can resolve these issues promptly.
Manager, Trisha Apartments
Phone: [Your Phone Number]
Email: [Your Email Address]
Following are the free editable lease default letter templates for you that can be customized as per needs
Frequently Asked Questions
What does tenant default mean?
Tenant default means that the tenant has breached one or more clauses in their tenancy/lease agreement.
Can landlords see defaults?
No, when doing background checks on prospective tenants, landlords only look at the publicly available information, including if the tenant has ever been bankrupt. Missed or late payments and any serious arrears or defaults don’t usually appear on the “public” versions that they can see. However, any negative payment history may be seen and may affect the chances of being approved for tenancy.