It is unavoidable that renters will have visitors come and leave during their stay in your rental home. These visitors might be friends, family members, or even significant others. However, issues occur when these visitors decide to stay for an extensive period. At that age, they have the potential to become long-term guests.
What are Long-Term Guests
Long-term guests are those who have moved into your home without your consent or agreement. Most of the time, people move in with the expectation that they would only be there for a few weeks. But, before you know it, they’ve been living there for months with no previous consent.
Most landlords allow visitors to stay for a maximum of 10-14 days in a six-month period. From there, you may determine if a guest spends 15 days or longer whether you will remove the renters for breach of lease or change your contract and, if so, whether the rent would rise as a result. It is important to note that the time it takes for a guest to become a tenant varies based on the regulations or legislation in your area.
Why is it an Issue to Have Long-Term Guests
These long-term visitors might quickly turn into a liability for you. They aren’t on the lease; thus, they aren’t subject to the terms and conditions that your actual renters must obey. If they cause damage to your rental property or threaten your legitimate renters, it may be challenging to hold them legally responsible. There’s also the issue of not collecting rent from them.
They can complicate the procedure and become a more significant liability in the case of eviction. For example, if someone claims to reside in your rental unit but isn’t on the lease or rental agreement, that individual could stake a claim to it and refuse to leave.
When Does a Guest Turn Into a Tenant?
The distinction between a guest and a tenant is contractual. The lease binds a renter but not a visitor. The problem arises when guests begin to act as tenants. The law refers to these visitors as long-term guests or rogue tenants. Unfortunately, these visitors are not legally obligated because they are not on the lease. Below are some examples of guest vs. tenant.
Nannies that care for your children are guests if they are just on-site during regular business hours or remain for a single night. However, they are considered tenants if they are full-time nannies who reside on the premises.
If romantic partners visit and merely stay overnight once in a while, they are called guests. However, they should be regarded as tenants if they spend most of their days and nights at your home and remain overnight for many days in a row. It is especially important if the guest routinely parks and keeps furniture and personal goods there.
College students who return home for weekends or short holidays are guests. However, if they return home for extended periods, such as the summer, they will be considered tenants as long as they are 18 or older.
One of the most typical reasons for your tenant’s elderly parents to come into your home is that they cannot live alone. When this occurs, it is necessary to add them to the lease as a renter to the home. However, if they are coming for a few weeks or assisting with a new infant, they would be considered visitors.
What to do In the Event of a Long-Term Guest
Now that you’ve identified whether or not you have a long-term guest, you must decide what to do. While it may not appear to be a big concern at first, it has the potential to spin out of control swiftly. Therefore, it is in your best interest and your right to ensure your property is protected as a property owner.
Lease Clauses for Long-Term Guests
When creating your lease, be sure to include a restriction on how many consecutive days or nights visitors of your renter can remain, or have them seek permission from you if they wish to stay longer. Check your state or local laws to see how you may enforce your restrictions. Suppose this situation arises after your renters have signed your lease and you do not have a section in your lease that covers long-term guests. In that case, you can have both parties sign an addendum to the lease, adding the long-term guest to the lease as an additional tenant after they have gone through your standard tenant screening procedure. The only method to enforce your property’s lease terms and conditions is to have them sign an addendum.
A long-term guest who considers your house his home requires different wording in a lease agreement than a typical guest. Even if this long-term visitor was not there during the original lease signing, it is in a landlord’s or property manager’s best interest to ensure that any individual residing at the rental property is on the lease and responsible for all lease conditions. A long-term visitor is not always a negative thing, but they must be held liable for your property’s lease terms and conditions, and the only way to do so is to have them sign an addendum adding them to the lease.
Addendums to the Lease
If your tenant’s long-term guest refuses to sign the addendum to the lease, you may be entitled to nullify the entire contract and evict your renter because they did not comply with the lease terms. Eviction, for this reason, is subject to state rental restrictions governing long-term visitors. Remember that the eviction procedure may get more problematic if your state considers the guest an unregistered renter who may lay a claim to your property and refuse to leave.
Protecting Your Property
No matter how you handle long-term visitors, make sure the law is on your side by researching your state and local legislation. Your state may additionally have rules about how to enforce long-term visitor agreements. Consult a landlord and tenant lawyer about the landlord-tenant legislation in your region. The most simple approach to prevent a problematic scenario is to ensure that your lease is legal and complete, like with any legal subject. Using the services of a lawyer to ensure that your lease is sound will prevent difficulties from arising.
Property Management Specialists
Being a landlord is not an easy task. There is a lot of stress to deal with when negotiating a lease, screening candidates, and maintaining your rental. When it comes to long-term guests, your stress level may skyrocket. Long-term guests, after all, represent a risk to your renters, your rental, and your financial account. However, these less-than-ideal circumstances are manageable by using the proper wording in your lease, screening long-term guests appropriately, and acting quickly to rectify any issues.
At Real Property Management Consultants, our team is here to help you navigate the issues that can arise from managing property. Our friendly and professional staff have over 30 years of experience in the industry and are here when you need us. We hope you found this article on long-term guests helpful and look forward to working with you in the future!
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