Occupants not on lease

7 Replies

In one of my units I have a single mom, her son and her friend living there. The mom is listed as the tenant and the son and friend are listed as occupants. The friend has since moved out and another friend has moved in. I have had no problems with the tenant, she’s paid on time and has been a great renter. It’s a duplex and I currently live in the other unit. I’m wondering if I need to go through and update the lease to add the new occupant?

It wouldn't hurt. How much time is left on the lease? You could update it at the next lease renewal.

If it aint broke why try and fix it? They are paying the rent on time, not causing problems, and hopefully taking care of your property.

You can still hold the single mom responsible for any issues.

I have a clause in my lease that if someone is in my property that is not on the lease it is an extra $$ per month. I can choose to enforce it if I need to.

AZ laws probably differ from CA, and some of this may depend on what your lease states, but I would suggest an amendment to the lease just in case. If all goes well, yes this would be a hassle and even a waste of time, but if something goes wrong, allowing an unlisted occupant of your lease could result in difficulties.

If you know that the new friend is residing in the unit, then s/he may become an occupant just by your allowing it. In this situation, you may want to be able to identify this new friend in the case of eviction and any issues of liability (to the tenant and landlord). In general, I would err on the side of caution and adhere to your lease.

I would amend the lease. If you have to evict for any reason, occupants have rights even if they're not on the lease. Having them on the lease would mean you could evict in one swoop instead of dealing with essentially two evictions. Just my opinion though, requirements will vary state to state.

Just reiterating what's been said: there are some eviction complications with an occupant who isn't on the lease. You will also have more security as a landlord (another guarantor, maybe another source of security deposit, etc.) In the future I would definitely recommend adding a clause to your lease that all occupants must be disclosed and adults must be added to the lease. 

For this particular situation: the cost-benefit analysis is really up to you. If there haven't been problems, maybe it's not worth it to you to upset this good tenant. But understand that there are potential risks to not adding this occupant to the lease. 

Hope this helps!

My thoughts. I would want to know who this person is. Does this person have a past that may put you at risk? I’ve worked in property management for 15 years in Florida & I want to know who’s living in the home & what’s their background. I would want them to fill out an application & run their background & see who this person is. Then if they have a good background, I would add them to the lease. Each state varies, but that’s how I would handle it in Florida. Hope this helps.