Ways You Are Breaking Your Lease

With a lot on my mind about apartment living lately, I figured I would bring to light some of the things that may actually be against your lease. The thing is, you may or may not realize that you’re actually breaking your lease. Always keep a copy of your lease for reference and as a rule of thumb, read it about every 3-6 months to make sure you won’t forget the rules. When in doubt about doing something new at your apartment, look at your lease.

1. Bringing Your Pets

Landlord’s may or may not allow pets. It all depends on their pet policies. Some landlord’s will allow one or two pets. There may be pets that are banned from an apartment complex such as certain breeds of dogs, cats, exotic pets, rodents, and reptiles. Some apartment complexes do not allow puppies or kittens due to their lack of training. Tell the landlord/leasing agent that you have pets, what they are, and how many. If you decide to get a new pet during your leasing term, get approval from the leasing office or property management before doing so.

2. Not Taking Full Responsibility For Your Guests

A lease usually states that you are the one responsible for your guests. This often entails that your guests are not allowed to bring their dog to that summer cook out you decide to have at the complex or break the rules at your on property pool party. Stress the rules to your guests or it could cost you a fine or worse – your lease.

3. Bringing Weapons

Yes, some apartment complexes do not want you to have weapons on their property and that can also mean your car as well. Other complexes allow them, but not as an open carry around the property. If you like to have a private weapon in your residence, you may want to check your lease.

4. Keeping Fireworks

These are often referred to as “explosives” on a lease. Check your lease as they may not be allowed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at apartment complexes and other residents decide on New Year’s or the 4th of July that they are going to launch fireworks somewhere on the property. Even if the fireworks are state legal, they still may violate your lease.

5. Cursing and Swearing

If others can’t hear it, you’re not in violation of your lease. This goes for your music, movies, and television shows as well. If other residents can hear it, you may receive complaints and you would be in violation of your lease.

6. Smoking

Some apartment complexes have aimed to become smoke free and have succeeded in their efforts. Other apartments only encourage smoking outside as it is not allowed inside apartments.

7. Installing a Fish Tank

That fancy fish tank you brought with you may not be allowed according to your lease. This is often on the basis of the possibility of water damage and humidity build up inside the apartment. Some landlord’s will allow a fish tank if you can prove you have renter’s insurance.

8. Using a Water Bed

Same thing for water beds – major water damage if they tear. Some landlord’s ban these all together while others will need proof of renter’s insurance.

9. Honking Your Horn

If you’re in the property’s parking lot, it may actually be against your lease to honk the horn in your car. However, I have a hard time thinking they would hold you liable if you were trying to prevent an accident.

10. Ignoring the Pool Rules

If the complex you live in has a pool that you routinely use, you may be breaking rules without realizing it. Many apartment complexes don’t allow food or drink, pets, diapers, radios/cd players, or glass in the pool area. Even if you have a pool key, there may be set hours in which you can use the pool. Sometimes apartment residents have a maximum guests limit of so many people to go to the pool with them. Propping open the pool gate (probably one of the scariest infractions for those of us with young children) is more often than not against the rules.

11. Leaving Your Laundry Unattended

Yes,it is generally easiest to throw your clothes in the wash and go back to your apartment for 45 minutes until they are ready for the dryer and then go back home. A lot of apartment complexes don’t seem to mind as long as your laundry isn’t mindlessly sitting for hours at a time or left in the washer or dryers overnight. However, they are not responsible if someone decides to steal or sabotage your clothes.

12. Running a Business Out of Your Apartment

Some leases don’t mention this while others do. Often times it is prohibited to run any type of business or sell anything out of your apartment.

13. Installing a Satellite Dish

If satellite dish is your preferred method of watching television, it may not be allowed. While some apartments may already have a satellite dish, others do not. Some apartment complexes allow installation of satellite dishes under certain guidelines while others ban them all together.

14. Not Reporting Your Bed Bug Problem

In some properties, this is a violation of your lease. This is because bed bugs can quickly spread from one unit to another and it is an expensive problem to fix.

15. Doing Your Own Repairs

It usually depends on the repair. There are actually certain fixes you are required to do yourself. Sometimes this means changing your own light bulbs. It all depends on your lease. There is maintenance to call for repairs and never try to do repairs that are against your lease. Often times these are repairs to plumbing, air conditioning/heating unit, refrigerators, ovens, etc. When in doubt about doing a repair yourself, contact the office or refer to your lease.

16. Disconnecting Your Smoke Detector

Some people disconnect the smoke detector for many reasons. Perhaps it chirps or goes off for no reason at all. Maybe you are trying to smoke without setting the smoke alarm off. For whatever the excuse, it is usually a direct violation of your lease. This is because if it were disconnected and a fire started in your apartment or even spread to others, there would have been no warning until someone else’s alarm went off. Landlord’s are required to provide an fully functioning smoke detector. If your smoke alarm chirps, notify the landlord (the battery is probably low). If your smoke alarm goes off for no reason (no humidity, no steam, no smoke, no dust) report it to the office and more than likely they will replace it.

17. Hanging Items On Fire Sprinklers

If your unit has fire sprinklers inside, it is important not to set them off. This can cause thousands in water damage. Using fire sprinklers as a hanging hook for plants and such may be a violation of your lease.

18. Remodeling Your Apartment

This is often a big no-no. There are many reasons for landlord’s not to allow residents to completely re-do their apartments. This can be concerns of accidental damage to the apartment to aggravating settled asbestos that may become airborne during remodeling. This can include anything from painting to hanging pictures on the walls. Whatever there reason, never do any type of remodeling unless you get written permission from the office.

19. Blocking Out Windows

Whether you’re using cardboard to reflective sunshades to keep heat or cold out of your apartment, it may be against your lease. Often times these are not allowed.

20. Putting Your Garbage at the Front Door

You may be thinking, “I’ll take this out in a minute, let me set it in front of the door or on the patio,” or perhaps the bag is leaking and you need somewhere to sit it for a moment. This can be against your lease. It is not only a safety hazard, but downright disgusting if it is left sitting there all day.

21. Hanging That Wreath On Your Door

Plenty of apartments don’t want you to cover the peep hole on the door for your safety. There may also be other reasons your apartment complex does not want a wreath onĀ  your door. Whatever the reason, it is best to ask permission from the office before getting festive.

22. Using a Barbecue On Your Patio/Balcony

Not only is this more often than not strictly against fire codes and ordinances, but it is probably against your lease as well. Some properties do not even allow you to have your own barbecue and request you only use the ones they provide in designated areas.

23. Blasting Your Music

This can be a void of your lease at anytime, even if you are playing your excessively loud music within noise ordinance hours.

24. Not Picking Up After Your Pet

“I can skip taking the responsibility of bagging up my pets mess. I pay rent here so the groundskeepers/maintenance will get it for me.” Think again. Many apartment complexes realize it is unsanitary, unsightly, and downright disgusting to have piles of poop everywhere on their property. Hefty fines can be assessed each time you don’t pick up after your pet. This can be anywhere from $25 – $150+. It all depends on the property, but it is important to remember that the potty areas for your pet aren’t your own personal backyard.

25. Riding Your Bicycle/Skateboard On Property

Some properties prohibit riding your bicycle or skateboard through the apartment complex as the walkways are for pedestrian use. This can vary by lease, but in general as far as laws goes, sidewalks are meant for pedestrian use, not bicycles.

26. Going Away On Vacation

You heard it. That two to three week vacation get away you were planning may be against your lease. It isn’t the vacation itself, but rather the length of time you will be away from the apartment. According to many leases, if you are away from your apartment for so many consecutive days it is considered “abandonment”. If any complex suspects abandonment of an apartment unit, they are legally entitled to take possession of your apartment. If you are going away on vacation, look to see if your lease requires you report the intention of returning and paying your rent to cover the time you are away.

27. Allowing Your Guests to Stay a While

Thinking about letting Uncle Bob and Aunt Sue crash at your place to save them money on hotel costs while they visit? It’s a good intention, but this might break your lease. Most apartment complexes state how many consecutive days someone must stay in the apartment to qualify as a “resident”. The amount of time can vary. For example, if you have a guest that stays, we’ll say one week, according to the lease you would be required to put them on your lease as a resident. All residents must be reported on a lease.

28. Allowing Guests to Use Apartment Amenities

Thinking about allowing your guests to use the pool while you run to the store? Perhaps your guest would like to wash an outfit before their work shift. You might want to think again. Some apartment complexes have specific rules on guests and use of amenities. Often times if guests use certain amenities they must be accompanied by a resident. Pay attention to “guest limits” that may apply to amenities such as the pool area. There are times when it is forbidden for guests to use certain amenities that are for the sole purpose of resident use.

29. Not Disposing of Trash Properly

It is against many leases to place your garbage bags in front of the dumpster even if the dumpster is full. Get to know what days the trash is collected so you can avoid this issue. Some apartment complexes ask that you fold down all cardboard boxes to make room for other residents to dispose of their trash. Don’t even get me started on throwing away whole beds or sofa’s in the dumpsters. Not only is this obnoxious and a waste of space, but it is often against a lease.

30. Not Wiping Condensation Out of Windows

Sometimes condensation happens in the winter or summer when it is hot outside and cold inside or the reverse.


Are they any I forgot? Post below!

[Image Credit: Jace Grandinetti on unsplash.com]

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