College rental with boyfriends spending many nights

10 Replies

I have some new tenants living in my duplex and they are college girls. One of the girls has her boyfriend spending most nights with her. I don't mind it since they haven't caused any trouble at all yet ( Haven't even called me for anything yet), but I am wondering how you all handle this situation whether it be getting him on the lease or if there is an addendum I can make where he is a guest on the lease. I would like to find some way to make it where he is responsible for any trouble that he causes, but I wouldn't have to evict him if things got bad. I would like to know if this is even possible. Thank you all !

Hey Patrick - I am trying to understand your logic here, and hopefully learn some things. 

You have a tenant who has signed the lease, and is responsible for the property and any damages/problems. I am assuming there is nothing in the lease stating how many guests one can bring, how often etc...(I mean come on, who would sign a lease like that anyway-I'd be thinking "this landlord is a wacko")

Now, I don't know how the law works in Iowa and if they favor the landlord more or tenant. 

For example, if the boyfriend caused some damage in the property, and you sue the person who signed the lease - Will a court act logically and say "Dear lessee, you are responsible for the damage, pay the landlord then work it out with your boyfriend" Or will things get complicated when the person claims even though they are on the lease, they are not responsible for damages.

Additionally, how does eviction work for a guest of a lessee? Do they have a separate "case" or just get evicted together with the lessee?

Being able to prove that the boyfriend is actually living with her is going to be very difficult.  And since she has been an ideal tenant so far according to you,  I wouldn't worry about it at this point.  She and the other females--who are on the lease-- are going to be on the hook for any damage caused no matter who causes it.  I don't think there is any reason to bring it up at this point.  

If a tenant has a frequent overnight guest, the line begins to blur between guest and unauthorized occupant. I am not shy about asking if the guest has a residence elsewhere and even checking their driver's license to verify their address. I'm not on morality patrol, but I am concerned how the extra person's presence affects the other tenants and neighbors. Where is he parking, is he making himself too much "at home" and leaving personal items there, receiving mail at that address, has his own key, is there when the tenants are not, causes extra wear and tear, causes an uptick in utility usage, etc. 

I do emphasize to our tenants that it is the tenant's responsibility to make sure all guests abide by the terms of the rental agreement. Contrary to what you think, if he occupies the unit (with or without your consent), causes trouble and doesn't leave when you ask, you may need to evict everyone in the unit. That means he goes and so do the college girls. Hopefully it won't get to that. The best thing to do is to have a good rental agreement in place, communicate openly and honestly, and treat everyone with respect.

@Zlatan Omeragic : Restrictions on the number of guests and the number of nights a guest can stay are quite common in residential leases. Having said that, it's pretty difficult to enforce.

Originally posted by @Zlatan Omeragic :

Hey Patrick - I am trying to understand your logic here, and hopefully learn some things. 

You have a tenant who has signed the lease, and is responsible for the property and any damages/problems. I am assuming there is nothing in the lease stating how many guests one can bring, how often etc...(I mean come on, who would sign a lease like that anyway-I'd be thinking "this landlord is a wacko")

Now, I don't know how the law works in Iowa and if they favor the landlord more or tenant. 

For example, if the boyfriend caused some damage in the property, and you sue the person who signed the lease - Will a court act logically and say "Dear lessee, you are responsible for the damage, pay the landlord then work it out with your boyfriend" Or will things get complicated when the person claims even though they are on the lease, they are not responsible for damages.

Additionally, how does eviction work for a guest of a lessee? Do they have a separate "case" or just get evicted together with the lessee?

Here is an example from our rental agreement.... 20 years of landlording experience (16 rental units) and not a "wacko". I have a need to know who is living at our properties and an obligation to properly screen all occupants. This is especially important with multifamily properties. Our occupancy limit is two persons per bedroom. At our multiplexes, we pay for some of the utilities as well. Negotiate with your tenants for a win-win. If there is a problem, address it. If there is ambiguity, make it clear. If there is room for flexibility, be flexible if the situation warrants.

"OCCUPANCY.  Tenant agrees that the premises are to be used and occupied by Tenant and members of Tenant’s immediate family only as specified in this rental agreement, namely ____________________. Other persons may not move into the premises, even temporarily, without Landlord's prior written consent.  If Tenant allows a person to occupy the residence without Landlord’s consent, Tenant agrees to pay a penalty fee of fifty dollars ($50) per violation, per person."  

"GUESTS.  Landlord will allow Tenant to host guests on the premises and Tenant agrees to accept responsibility to ensure guests do not violate any of the terms of the rental agreement. Tenant agrees to obtain prior written consent from Landlord for any guest staying more than fourteen (14) days in any 12 month period.  Landlord may at any time ask guests to leave the premises for violation of any of the terms of the rental agreement.  If a guest stays for more than 30 days, Landlord will require guest to either leave immediately or, upon approval of Tenant and Landlord, enter into a written agreement for further occupancy or tenancy.  If a guest refuses to leave after being asked to do so, Landlord may give legal notice to terminate the tenancy, resulting in the removal of both Tenant and guest."

You should charge higher rent if additional adults move into the property. There's always more wear and tear with more people, in addition to parking problems, homeowners association violations, etc.

Check on possible local restrictions, such as the "U plus 2" policy in Fort Collins, CO:

http://www.fcgov.com/neighborhoodservices/occupanc...

Seems like a pretty standard occurrence when renting to college students. I've rented to college students for over 17 years. I care about rent payments, and taking care of my property, not how many times sheila had Dave spend the night.

Some of you all make this too hard. If they are good tenants, leave it be. If you run them off, you might actually get someone that shows you what a bad tenant actually is.

@Marcia Maynard Thanks for that!! That is exactly what I had in mind when I said "hoping to learn." Nothing in the lease section you posted would make me think "Landlord is a wacko" if I was a potential renter.  I think 14 days gives a nice balance between "Its none of your business who is staying in the apartment I am paying rent for", and your side "I am paying more money for utilities than was originally agreed upon" 

I definitely understand your concern regarding utilities that you pay for- that is something I failed to think of when I was writing my post. I am pulling the "beginner" card on that one. 

Thank you again for the very valuable insight you wrote on this topic!!

I guess I'm a wacko because mine says guests can't stay more than 7 days. The only major reason I'm asking is because I occupy the other half of the duplex with my family and want to know who is living next door. I don't know that he is technically living there but his car is parked in the driveway right now, and has been parked on the street almost every night that my tenant stays there. Technically they get two spots in the drive so that doesn't concern me. I guess since the girls already agreed that anything that happens is their responsibility so I'll let it ride for a while and see how it goes. Thank you all again so much!

@Patrick Donovan hahah! I was just speaking from your average renters perspective. I am on the side of the landlord :)

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