An unusual request from my tenant

8 Replies

A tenant of mine has an out-of-town “friend” that regularly visits him. Earlier this week, they (tenant and friend) told me that her parents would be in the area for a few days. They then asked if it would be ok for them to park their camper on the property while they visit. I told them I needed a few days to think about it. I really could care less. However, before saying yes, I wanted to seek advice from the BiggerPockets community.

Are there any legal issues you could see arising from this?

If I talked to them about how long first, I'd be ok with it. Liability is a trickier subject but if someone was injured it'd go right back on you.

Make sure your locality will allow it, and put a time limit on the visit. Specify where it can be parked, and that they cannot dump their sewage on your property.  Charge them a fee for using water or electricity IF you pay for either.  Lastly, have them sign a mini-lease with these details. 

My bigger concern is that the tenant has a regular guest who isn’t on the lease. Do you have anything on your lease about overnight guests?  It sounds like she should be listed on the lease. I think I would put her name on your primary lease. 

@Carleen L. I do have a clause in the lease about guests. It allows for overnight guests but extended stays must be approved by landlord. I think extended is defined as anything more than 3 consecutive days. She visits often, but it’s only for a day or two at a time.

I find having a general policy on requests from tenants is best, that way you can apply it without getting caught up in the issues it may present or the need to ”think about it.” Which would not help the situation.

1. If I am approached with a request when I am at the property- I give a hard no.

2. If a tenant calls me I do not pick-up and if they leave me a message I will deliberate on the issue and almost certainly respond no.

3. If the tenant texted me see #2.

I do not appreciate being ambushed and most of my tenants know that.

My city has ordinances regarding where a camper can be parked.  If its on the property it has to be certain distances away from the lot lines.  Has to be on a hard surface, not the grass.   If its a trailer on the street it must be connected to the tow vehicle.  Can't be left on the street for more than a specific period of time.  Cannot be occupied regardless of where its parked.  Many areas are stricter, sometimes MUCH stricter.  I'm sure yours has some regulations.  You really want to deal with all of that?  

If you're willing, I would look up the code and give a copy to the tenant.  And I would have them sign a written statement agreeing that 1) they will comply with all codes, and 2) if there are any fines they will pay the fines plus a fee to you for the trouble.  I'd make the fee significant, like $500.  My lease has a clause that states money I receive can be applied to other fees first, then the rent.  So, if the were to get fined and refused to pay, this would be the start of an eviction for non-payment of rent.

I think this is an issue that really depends on the kind of relationship you have with your tenant and if you've had issues with them in the past with favors that they have asked. Personally, I wouldn't want a big camper in front of my property. I would say no.