As a property owner, part of your duty is knowing the identity of the tenants who live in your rentals. Sometimes, tenants can abuse their freedom and allow overstaying guests in the rental space. When you ignore this issue, you risk the safety of other tenants in your property.
Some tenants do resort to opening up the rental property to other people to save further on rent. This can lead to subletting or having your unit transformed to an Airbnb space. If you’re not careful, this could also lead to property damage.
Defining a Tenant
A tenant is someone whose background you have looked into. You have a standing leasing agreement with them to take care of the rental unit and pay a certain amount of rent for a given period. Ultimately, if there are property damages in the rental property, the tenant is liable and bound to pay for the repairs if the damages are caused by their negligence. Tenants are also given due protection and have rights when they stay in the rental property.
Defining a Guest
Guests are people known to the tenant. They’re allowed to stay within a prescribed reasonable period. They don’t have the liability and responsibilities of a tenant. If there are damages, they aren’t responsible of paying. Guests are also not given the same rights as the tenant. Since they didn’t sign a leasing agreement with the landlord, they aren’t offered the same protection as the tenants.
Signs to Determine if a Guest Turns into a Tenant
If you’re checking whether a guest has converted into a resident tenant, ask the following:
- Has the guest been using the rental property’s address to receive mail and packages?
- Has the guest used the parking lot for his or her vehicle while staying overnight for a prolonged period of time?
- Is a guest sleeping over in the rental unit more times than not?
- Is a guest bringing over furniture and personal belongings in the house?
- Did the guest approach you and make an offer to pay for rent while staying in your rental unit?
- Did the guest obtain a duplicate key of the rental unit?
Reasonable Period for Guests to Stay
In the leasing agreement, you should specify the amount of time a guest can stay over. A period of 10 to 14 days on average is generally acceptable. It’s important to highlight this and communicate it to the tenant.
You can emphasize the security reason behind the restriction.
Ways to Prevent the Conversion of a Guest into a Tenant
You have considerable control to discourage the practice of guests turning into tenants. Here are effective solutions to use:
1. Have a dialogue with the tenant.
Before taking drastic actions, such as sending a notice of eviction, allow your tenants to explain their side. You can then come up with alternative solutions, such as changing the leasing agreement to include the name of the guest as a tenant. The rent can also be adjusted higher. The new tenant will be afforded the same rights and bear the same renter responsibilities.
If the guests choose not to become a tenant, then you can request them to keep to the confines of being a visitor. This would mean that they cannot stay longer than the acceptable period. Otherwise, the tenant can be guilty of violating the contract.
2. Be careful of the pitfalls of accepting rent from a guest turned tenant.
Some guests offer to pay rent in exchange for their stay. If you allow this practice, things can get complicated. Legally, they’re now under your protection. Additionally, you won’t be able to serve a violation notice to the tenant because, if you accept the payment, you’ve technically allowed the guest to stay.
3. Design proactive systems to keep this situation from occurring.
When crafting your leasing agreement, include provisions on visiting guests. This has to be specific. You can include information, such as:
- The number of days guests can stay in your rental
- The tenant’s requirement to seek prior permission for a long-term guest
- The consequences of breaking the provision of visiting guests
By stating this in the lease, you’ll guard yourself against subletting situations or tenant violations.
Tenants are allowed to have visitors, but there are also limits to the privilege. As a landlord, you’re exposed to risks when unscreened people are continually staying in the rental property.
You are expected to know who is living in your property. You’re legally accountable for everything that’ll happen while tenants stay in the rental space. That’s why tenant screening is a vital component before accepting tenants. However, some tenants can allow their guests to take up residency which can compromise the safety of the rental. If you’re not vigilant, you can expose yourself to a ton of risks.
For more information, contact Trusthome Properties today.