Tenant fails to notify landlord about guest

17 Replies

My tenant moved in about one month who has been having her boyfriend staying overnight every weekend since week one. In my lease, it states "Residents may have a single overnight guest for no more than three nights per calendar year." Clearly, we were strictly trying to avoid unauthorized tenant to move in. We just wanted to rent to sole tenant. 

I confronted her right after we found out the case and asked about her guest. Her response was "as long as I pay you the rent, I can do whatever I want to." I confronted her again with the highlighted rule in our lease. Her response was "I didn't see this when signing the lease." I then asked her to continue following the rule and notify me when she has guest over, she said "ok". However, she still has her boyfriend stay overnight every weekend. What should I do? Thanks in advance! 

Decide if it's worth fighting. If it is, send cure or quit notice according to landlord tenant law in your state. From what you described, it doesn't sound like this boyfriend has moved in. He is simply visiting on weekends. That sounds pretty normal for people in a relationship that don't live together.
Originally posted by @Jade Wong :

My tenant moved in about one month who has been having her boyfriend staying overnight every weekend since week one. In my lease, it states "Residents may have a single overnight guest for no more than three nights per calendar year." Clearly, we were strictly trying to avoid unauthorized tenant to move in. We just wanted to rent to sole tenant. 

I confronted her right after we found out the case and asked about her guest. Her response was "as long as I pay you the rent, I can do whatever I want to." I confronted her again with the highlighted rule in our lease. Her response was "I didn't see this when signing the lease." I then asked her to continue following the rule and notify me when she has guest over, she said "ok". However, she still has her boyfriend stay overnight every weekend. What should I do? Thanks in advance! 

I guess I have a couple of questions on this.

Why did you pick 3 days?  That seems pretty arbitrary.  Are you sure that's even legal?  Most leases I've seen will say 7 days or 10 days - at a time, with a maximum number of nights of 30 or 45 or something like that.

I thought in California, residency was not established unless/until there were 31 days of continuous presence.

Since he's only there for 2 or 3 days at a time, I don't see how he could be establishing residency, but California can be weird and maybe this is true.  Is he causing a problem at the property?  Noise complaints?  

Originally posted by @Max T. :
Decide if it's worth fighting. If it is, send cure or quit notice according to landlord tenant law in your state.

From what you described, it doesn't sound like this boyfriend has moved in. He is simply visiting on weekends. That sounds pretty normal for people in a relationship that don't live together.

Thanks @Max Tanendaum! I don't want to over-react but kinda irritated by her attitude. Shall I add more rent to her lease since his stay does add up to the bills. 

Hi Jade!

Is he damaging the property or have you gotten any complaints when he is visiting? My concern would be that he is not tied to the property in any way. So if they have a fight and he punches a hole in the wall and then your tenant doesn't want to pay for it (she sounds a little snotty from your post, I could be wrong!) because she didn't do it... Is there a way that you can ask for his information if something does happen? I don't know if that is even legal... 

This is a tough one.. You could let it slide because that is very common for couples. On the other side how do you choose what to let slide and what not to let slide? I don't think I was much help!! Good luck!!

Liz

Originally posted by @Linda Weygant :
Originally posted by @Jade Wong:

My tenant moved in about one month who has been having her boyfriend staying overnight every weekend since week one. In my lease, it states "Residents may have a single overnight guest for no more than three nights per calendar year." Clearly, we were strictly trying to avoid unauthorized tenant to move in. We just wanted to rent to sole tenant. 

I confronted her right after we found out the case and asked about her guest. Her response was "as long as I pay you the rent, I can do whatever I want to." I confronted her again with the highlighted rule in our lease. Her response was "I didn't see this when signing the lease." I then asked her to continue following the rule and notify me when she has guest over, she said "ok". However, she still has her boyfriend stay overnight every weekend. What should I do? Thanks in advance! 

I guess I have a couple of questions on this.

Why did you pick 3 days?  That seems pretty arbitrary.  Are you sure that's even legal?  Most leases I've seen will say 7 days or 10 days - at a time, with a maximum number of nights of 30 or 45 or something like that.

I thought in California, residency was not established unless/until there were 31 days of continuous presence.

Since he's only there for 2 or 3 days at a time, I don't see how he could be establishing residency, but California can be weird and maybe this is true.  Is he causing a problem at the property?  Noise complaints?  

Hi Linda, thanks for your response. It's from my lawyer, it's intense but trying to protect my property and everyone in the house. 

They were loud in the beginning. Our other tenants were complaining about their noise in the mid night. After the conversation with her, they're fine now. 

Which bills are increasing?  If you are providing water in your lease, that would be the compromise I'd suggest: switch the water bill to your tenant.  Otherwise, your tenant has no incentive to conserve water.

"Residents may have a single overnight guest for no more than three nights per calendar year."

Three nights per year? Harsh!  And the way that's worded means they can have one overnight guest at a time and for no more than three nights per year for all guests.  Did your attorney OK that language?  That seems overly restrictive to me.

Are you willing to evict for this?  If so, post the notice and start the process.  But I'm skeptical you can make that hold up in court.  Its tough to prove someone else has moved in at all.  The tenant just claims they're visiting and you have to prove otherwise.  And combine that with your very tough lease language and I think you may have a hard time winning that case.

Expecting tenants to notify you they have guests seem to me to be completely over the top.

you can't increase her rent unless she agrees to it in writing. Have a month-to-month lease you can change the terms unilaterally as long as you give proper notice, but your tenant may choose to move out if you do. I know I would!

If this is the biggest problem you encounter as a landlord, consider yourself lucky.  If the tenant is otherwise good- paying rent, not causing problems, etc; I say let it slide.

When its a different " boyfriend " each hour , I would concern myself . 

Dont expect a tenant to call for permission each time their boyfriend spends the night , you wont like calls at 1 am 

Good luck finding a tenant who will actually follow this ridiculous provision. 3 nights a year? Ask yourself if you would sign that lease and follow it. Not going to happen in the real world.

Originally posted by @Jade Wong :

Thanks guys for all your great inputs! I think I'm just over-reacting. 

 Mine has a provision that anything over 20 days within a year needs written permission. Really, a lease is written to protect you from those that want to take advantage of you and so everyone is on the same page. With most tenants provisions like these become an opportunity to talk and make sure that everyone is in agreement with the direction things are going. Are there other provisions that are "never cross" lines - absolutely, like no smoking. 

Originally posted by @Jade Wong :

Thanks guys for all your great inputs! I think I'm just over-reacting. 

 Yes you are.  You are basically restricting your tenant from having an adult relationship.  Treating your tenants like they are your children is enough to provoke them to act like children.  They are paying you, not damaging the property or bothering other tenants and you still have an issue?  Good luck.