Lease Basics: Putting a Time Limit on Visitors

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on March 22, 2011 under Landlord Paperwork and Forms | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tenant screening, tenant background checkHarry the landlord notices a broken window in Unit A during a routine maintenance visit to Unit B. He knocks on Unit A’s door to arrange a repair and is greeted by someone he’s never seen, much less approved to live there. The man asks Harry what he wants; Harry explains that he is the building owner. “Oh. I’m visiting,” the man replies.

Later, Harry asks the tenant in Unit B if she has seen the man in Unit A. “You mean Scott?” she answers. “He’s been there for a couple of months.”

There is a fine line between a visitor and an unauthorized resident. Explaining the difference to your tenants can be tough—but it’s something a landlord must do to avoid the risk and potential problems that come when unscreened and unauthorized tenants live in your rental property.

Luckily, making sure you’re legally covered is easy. Just make sure your lease specifies what tenants can and cannot do when it comes to guests.

Harry’s lease does prohibit unauthorized residents. When he brings this to Unit A’s attentions, the tenant replies that her friend is not a resident—he’s just visiting.

Harry reviewed his rental agreement and realized it didn’t specify any time limit for guests or visitors. He revised it to read:

“Persons other than those specifically listed on the Rental Agreement shall be strictly prohibited from staying in the rental unit for more than 7 consecutive days, or a total of 20 days in any 12-month period. Tenant shall notify Owner in writing any time the Tenant expects any guest will be staying in excess of the time limits herein. Additional residents will be subject to full screening procedures, additional rent and security deposit. Unauthorized residents are a violation of this Rental Agreement and grounds for termination of the Rental Agreement.”

Harry was still within his rights to notify the tenant in Unit A that her unauthorized guest had overstayed his welcome and that he would need to move or she would be in violation of her lease. Luckily, she didn’t push the issue and the visitor was soon gone.

Don’t expose your tenants or your business to the risks of unscreened residents. Require your tenants to clear it with you before allowing anyone to move in. Require the new roommate to fill out a lease application and undergo tenant screening and a background check before they unpack their first box of belongings!

Add A Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.