What's the difference between a tenant and a long-term guest? They both occupy the rental and take advantage of apartment amenities. But only one of them is on the lease and is fully responsible for rent payments. The question is: "Who's this other person? And what are they doing in my rental property for a month or so?"
Most landlords don't think about establishing a well-planned strategy for dealing with long-term guests until it becomes an issue. If you're dealing with guests who are overstaying their welcome, it's probably time to develop a plan.
First, define who long-term guests are and look for warning signs they might be crossing the line. In general, a long-term guest is a person who is not listed in the lease, doesn't pay rent but keeps personal belongings and stays in the rental for long periods of time.
While there's nothing wrong with letting your tenants invite guests over or host friends and relatives, you should be careful with guests who don’t know when it's time to leave.
To be on the safe side, consider these simple tips to keep your tenants' guests from staying too long.
Have Everything on the Lease
A proper lease agreement is always a good idea. Make sure you include a few clauses addressing long-term guests and add a tenant guest policy outlining acceptable behavior, rights, and prohibitions in your rental property. You're not allowed to charge "guest" fees, though.
While it's up to you to decide when a long-term guest overstays their welcome, the visitors are usually allowed to stay in the rental for up to 14 days in a six month period. After that, you might either turn a blind eye to the issue or initiate a conversation with your tenant, since having long-term guests without a landlord's prior consent is a valid reason for eviction.
There's another possible solution: If a guest is likely to stay for a long period of time, consider renewing the current lease and adding a guest as a co-tenant. Also, you might want to add a lease clause that allows you to increase rent if an extra person is included in the agreement.
Beware of Subletting
To prevent issues with subletting, it's better to not allow it. But if you already have this option available, make sure your tenants ask your permission before taking action or you have specific clauses regarding subletting in your lease agreement.
Communicate with Your Tenants
Clear communication is the key to resolving most issues. Ask your tenant about their guest' background and how long they're planning to stay. It doesn't mean you need to be suspicious of them. But it's worth taking precautionary actions. Besides, if you don't have a chance to screen a tenant's guest, you can't be sure that they are reliable.
Inspect the Property Occasionally
To keep your rental properties under control, conduct regular inspections and only make personal visits with a 24-hour notice. By doing so, you'll be more involved in the "life" of your rental.
In simpler terms, rental inspections can be conducted to check the condition of the rental property, identify potential maintenance problems, and ensure the renters are following the terms of the lease agreement regarding extra people living there.
How do you deal with long-term guests in your rentals? Share your thoughts and ideas by leaving comments below. We'd love to hear what you think.