While tenants have the right to invite visitors, how do you define the line between a visitor, friend or relative staying for a longer time than you’d naturally expect and someone who’s moved in, for good? Perhaps your renter found a roommate who’s now living with them. To differentiate one from the other, here are some of the things you need to consider:
When the guest has stayed on for a very long time
Even though tenants get to decide who stays at their residence with then, the guest staying over every night for weeks might mean that it’s time you had a conversation with the tenant on the rules applicable to long-term guests.
For this confrontation to happen, the residential lease signed by the tenant must have a clause to address the duration during which a renter can have guests staying over. The clause might also mention that for guests staying for over one month, their names should be added to the lease. To avoid issues, however, you need to ensure that your lease adheres to the state laws on tenant guests.
When a guest has started paying rent
Note that of your tenant’s guest starts contributing monthly rent, every month, it means that he or she lives on that premise. This situation is not, however, clear cut since your renter might be having financial difficulties and the friend might be helping them out.
You will, however, know that the tenant’s guest has moved in if they hang around the premises regularly and if they’re paying rent too. If this is the case, talk to your tenant about adding their guest to the lease. To download a rental lease agreement PDF, click here.
Keep in mind that if you have concrete evidence that the tenant violates the lease agreement by allowing someone else to move into the premises without your consent, you might have to serve a Notice of lease violation to them. This notice should be, however, your last resort after you’ve spoken to your tenant about it.
When the guest starts receiving mail at the property
This is the other (obvious) sign that the tenant’s guest has actually moved into your rental property. Since they’re receiving mail there, it means that they’ve changed their address to match that of your tenant. But, don’t conclude before speaking to your tenant– their guest might be on a transition and in need of a temporary mailing address.
When the guest’s vehicle is parked at the visitors’ parking every day
Noticing your guest’s vehicle parked in the visitor’s parking every day is another sign that the visitor moved in. Since you make up the parking rules, look into things if the vehicle is parked there daily for over 72 hours. Once you have talked to your tenant, you might want them to register the vehicle.
Note that in as much as it is not unusual for guests to turn into tenants, you should establish rules in advance stating how long guests can stay over and if your tenants need to inform you when they’re living with someone else. Also, lay out the potential consequences of broken rules. You can download a free sample lease agreement here for better protection of your property rights.