One important scenario that you may encounter as a landlord is when your guest has a tenant who stays longer than expected.
As a landlord, one of the most important things you must do is enforce your lease because, if your tenants invite guests to live with them for weeks, or months at a time, they are in direct violation of the lease and should be held accountable.
If you’ve never encountered this situation before, this article will share with you five ways to know when a tenant has become a guest and how you must deal with it.
#1 – They’ve Stayed Longer Than 2 Weeks
One of the first ways to know that a guest can now be classified as a tenant is when they stay in your rental property for more than two weeks.
Two weeks is the most common length of time that anyone will go on vacation or visit family members for an extended stay. If your tenant has guests that are staying for longer than that period you must A. Contact your tenant and inform them, they are violating the lease, and B. Their guest must be added to the lease if they are going to be living there.
#2 – The Guest Is Moving Their Belongings In
Another easy way to tell if your tenant has guests that can now be classified as tenants themselves is if those guests are moving their personal belongings into the rental property.
It’s very uncommon for people to travel with anything other than just a few bags of luggage so, if you spot your tenant’s guests slowly but surely moving their personal belongings into the rental property, this is a sign that they are planning on staying for a longer period.
#3 – They Are Paying the Rent
If you’re still unsure that your tenant has guests that can now be classified as tenants, another easy way to know for certain is that the guest is now a tenant as if the guest starts paying the rent.
Paying the rent is a clear sign that the guest is planning on staying for longer than two weeks and it shows that they are more than just a guest who will be gone soon.
It’s never a good idea to accept rent payment from a guest because this implies that you’ve entered into an informal landlord-tenant agreement with them, and that guest can now enjoy the same rights and privileges as the tenant who is currently on the lease.
#4 – Your Mailing Address Is Now ‘Their’ Mailing Address
A mailing address is a very personal thing since it’s also part of a person’s identity so if your guest tenant is now using the tenant’s mailing address as their mailing address, this should also be another clear indicator that they can now be a tenant themselves who is living at that rental property full time.
#5 – You’ve Spoken with Them About Maintenance Requests
Last of all, but most important, another sign that a tenant has become a guest is when the guest is submitting maintenance requests to you.
The average guest will not contact a landlord or an owner about maintenance issues unless they are planning on living on the property for any length of time so if your tenants’ guests begin communicating with you regarding things that need to be repaired or replaced at the rental property, this is another easy to decipher sign that they are now living in that property full time.
How To Deal with Guests Who Overstay Their Welcome
There’s no denying that the rental market has changed drastically over the last two years and some people are letting their friends/family members stay with them to keep them off the streets.
Obviously, your goal is not to be the bad guy, but, your rental property is still a business, and you must enforce your lease, otherwise, your tenants will continue to walk all over you during the length of time that they’re living in your property.
Here are several things that you can do to deal with guests who have overstayed their welcome:
Communicate – If you currently have a lease with a clause regarding how long tenants can have guests, you should contact your tenant if you’ve noticed that their guest has stayed with them for more than two weeks at a time.
Talk with your them one-on-one to let them know that the guest must leave and if they informed you that they are trying to keep their friend or family member off the street, you should direct them to local social services so that their guest can find an alternative place to live.
Enforce – After you’ve taken the time to communicate with your tenant, they must be made aware that you plan on enforcing your lease, including requiring them to cure or quit.
This means that if they do not ask their guests to leave, the tenant will face eviction and since no tenant wants to be evicted, especially since COVID, it’s highly likely that they will take the steps to ask guests to leave the rental property before their landlord moves forward with the eviction process.
Keep in mind that someone who’s living in your rental property illegally in some cases may enjoy the same rights and privileges as the tenant, so it’s important to consult with your attorney before you take the steps to move forward with the eviction process.
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