If my tenants have signed a non-smoking lease which states violation will result in forfeiture of all deposits and immediate eviction, what do I do about a breach?

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If my tenants have signed a non-smoking lease which states violation will result in forfeiture of all deposits and immediate eviction, what do I do about a breach?

Neighbors have seen the tenants smoking on the back deck. The lease states no smoking on the premisis or property. Also, prior to them signing the lease, I have an e-mail stating (in response to me directly asking if either of they smoke), “NO!!! We do NOT smoke!!!!” What proof do I need and what can I do? I am thinking a sending a warning letter sent certified mail, then I have grounds for summary eviction in accordance with state law. Is this correct? Also, can I inspect the premises with proper notice?

Asked on June 17, 2012 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country, a landlord upon reasonable notice can inspect a tenant's premises. Typically 24 hours is all that is needed. I suggest that you give a notice of an inspection to your tenants and appear with a third party and camera.

If ashtrays, cigarettes or cigarette smell is discovered, you now have the option of a 3 day notice to cure on the smoke issue or evict the tenants for breaching the lease. I suggest that you consult further with a landlord tenant attorney about the situation you are writing about.


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