Long Term "Guest" of a Good Tenant - Advice?

5 Replies

Hi everyone,

I have a good tenant in a SFR (man, woman, and 2 kids). I've never had any problems from them, and they've always paid their rent in full and on time. I got a text from the tenant this morning asking if a friend of his could stay with them for the summer. The tenant is ex-military, and the friend is an army friend of his. The lease dictates that "the Tenant shall not allow any other person, other than Tenant's immediate family or transient relatives and friends who are guests of the Tenant, to use or occupy the Premises without first obtaining LL's written consent."

So, there are a couple issues, and I want to make sure I handle this in the best way possible.

1) Should I allow the friend to stay at all?

2) If I allow the friend to stay (conditional upon successful background check), could this affect the occupancy permit?

3) Should I require additional rent?

4) Are there any other legal or operational issues that I need to be thinking about before making a decision?

I'm leaning towards allowing the guest at this point because I don't want to interfere with the tenants' lives, these have been good tenants, and I'm always for helping out those who serve in the military, but I don't want to put me or my tenant in a bad situation or a situation that could spiral out of control.

Thanks in advance!

I know this can differ situation to situation...and a good situation can sometimes turn bad. But he's a guest, and I don't see why he'd need a background check. I see you're in Illinois and not sure if the property is Chicago or not, but Chicago seems to have crazy rental laws. 

But simply put, if they've been good tenants, and they've even actually asked you about the guest, just thank them for letting you know about it, and say that you'll check back in with them in August or so to confirm his departure.

Also, rent should not be based on the number of occupants. Rent is based on market rent of comparable size and quality rentals.

The tenant asked you about a guest.  You should feel very lucky to have them, 90% of tenants would just move someone in and face the consequences later if they got caught.  You can put whatever limitations you want on the guest that comply with your local laws, but I wouldn't see any major issues, if the tenant thought he was a bad actor they 1. wouldn't want him in their house. and 2. wouldn't have asked you expecting that you would say no.

Originally posted by @Andrew Webb :

Hi everyone,

I have a good tenant in a SFR (man, woman, and 2 kids). I've never had any problems from them, and they've always paid their rent in full and on time. I got a text from the tenant this morning asking if a friend of his could stay with them for the summer. The tenant is ex-military, and the friend is an army friend of his. The lease dictates that "the Tenant shall not allow any other person, other than Tenant's immediate family or transient relatives and friends who are guests of the Tenant, to use or occupy the Premises without first obtaining LL's written consent."

So, there are a couple issues, and I want to make sure I handle this in the best way possible.

1) Should I allow the friend to stay at all?

2) If I allow the friend to stay (conditional upon successful background check), could this affect the occupancy permit?

3) Should I require additional rent?

4) Are there any other legal or operational issues that I need to be thinking about before making a decision?

I'm leaning towards allowing the guest at this point because I don't want to interfere with the tenants' lives, these have been good tenants, and I'm always for helping out those who serve in the military, but I don't want to put me or my tenant in a bad situation or a situation that could spiral out of control.

Thanks in advance!

 Great tenants are like gold.  The way you describe them really makes me think they're great tenants.  If one of my great tenants wanted to have a guest come to stay with them for a while, personally, I wouldn't care.  It seems longer than just a normal visit, sure...but does the longevity really mean anything?  A tenant's guest can come for one hour and cause problems or they can come for 3 months and be no issue.  Personally, if these tenants are as great as you say they are, I'd just say "no problem" and wouldn't do anything else.  

If you piss off good tenants, they're going to leave, causing vacancy, turnover, and the risk that the next tenants aren't going to be so great.  

Weather they are good tenants or military is irrelevant. Those are not important factors in making decisions regarding tenant requests. The only thing you need to decide is if the request is in violation of their lease. If it is you tell them no, if it is not in violation of their lease then let them know it is OK and keep an eye on them till he leaves. 

The bond between those who served in the military together is stronger than your lease. Your tenant will overlook things in their Army buddy that you may not find acceptable. Had some great friends in the Marine Corps. Marines overlook a lot when the other guy has an EGA (Eagle Globe and Anchor). Army buddies are not much different. Someone who is or was willing to lay down their life for you will be excused a myriad of sins. Shed blood is sometimes thicker than family ties and your lease doesn't compare.

The question you need to answer is why is this guy homeless. PTSD? Drugs? Alcohol? Not saying don't let him stay, I am saying go into this fully informed.

If he stays the summer he is no longer a guest, he is a resident. Run a background check. Have him fill out an application and find some way to make him equally responsible for damages. Do you pay any of the utilities? If so consider a rent increase.

In effect your resident is subletting even if they don't charge rent.

Treat the army buddy as an applicant to rent. Get everything you can on him. Then make an informed decision.