Tenant letting friends to stay or park

22 Replies

I have a scenerio that I have not experienced before, and doesn't even have any written rules against this in my lease agreement.

I have a single family residence 3/2 in Fort Lauderdale that I rented out to several roommates who travel a lot.  They are airline pilots and the house is close to the airport.

A month after moving in, I received a call from the tenant saying he is out of town at the moment, and a friend who is on town for one night needs a place to stay and he offered his place.  He wonders if his friend can come to me to get a copy of the key, let himself in, and tomorrow when he leaves he can return the key to me or hides it somewhere outside the house for him.  I explained that I do not have an extra key with me and that it while I have nothing against a guest of his staying at the house, it's highly irregular for that guest to stay there without the tenant's presence.

Another month gone by and I drove by the place on my way to another property and noticed six vehicles parked outside.  Three on the driveway and three drove onto the lawn.  There is a clause to prohibit parking on the lawn itself due to sprinkler heads etc...I let them know.  They moved the vehicles back to the side of the street except one, because it belongs to a friend who is now on a cruise and they don't have the key to the vehicle.

So they are letting friends stay overnight while they are out of town, they are letting friends park there since it's closer to the airport.  I don't think they are collecting "rent" for it, but there is no way I can be sure.

I do have clauses in my lease for:

(1) No subletting, assignment of the lease or short term rental without Landlord's written permission.

(2) Vehicle parking allocation shall not exceed one vehicle per bedroom.

(3) Occasional overnight guests are permitted. An occasional overnight guest is one who does not stay more than 7 nights in any calendar month.

Yet none of these really apply.  They are not renting it out to strangers, and are not collecting rent (as far as I know and no way to verify).  Those staying are not staying over 7 days, they are staying one or two nights, and may be fellow pilots.  Sometimes they are given access to the property with the tenants totally absent.  They are also letting friends park there because it's close to the airport.  Yes I have enforce the "one vehicle per bedroom" rule but that's intended for an extended guests parking there all the time, but not quite for being used as a parking lot for friends.  Technically no rules are broken or so it seems.

Thoughts on how best to approach?

What you have is a pilot crash pad.  People will stack and sublet to other pilots going thru town for a few hundred a month for a place to stay coming in and out of their “base” station.  

     Saves them money but if the landlord isn’t aware of it or know how to handle it the pilots/flight attendants get super cheap housing and you get a majorly worn out home when they move out.  

Originally posted by @Dante Feria :

I would increase the rent or don’t renew . 

They are 4 months in on a one year lease.  So those are not options.

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

What you have is a pilot crash pad.  People will stack and sublet to other pilots going thru town for a few hundred a month for a place to stay coming in and out of their “base” station.  

     Saves them money but if the landlord isn’t aware of it or know how to handle it the pilots/flight attendants get super cheap housing and you get a majorly worn out home when they move out.  

I have never been in this situation before.

It's possible they are letting buddies stay for free, I don't know.  It's not like they are advertising on Airbnb or vrbo.  So the standard overstaying guest rule or the no sublet no short term rental rules don't apply here.

I am scratching my head on this.  A pilot crash pad?  Oh boy...kind of like a truck stop but higher end LOL.

Originally posted by @Sam Leon :
Originally posted by @Eric C.:

What you have is a pilot crash pad.  People will stack and sublet to other pilots going thru town for a few hundred a month for a place to stay coming in and out of their “base” station.  

     Saves them money but if the landlord isn’t aware of it or know how to handle it the pilots/flight attendants get super cheap housing and you get a majorly worn out home when they move out.  

I have never been in this situation before.

It's possible they are letting buddies stay for free, I don't know.  It's not like they are advertising on Airbnb or vrbo.  So the standard overstaying guest rule or the no sublet no short term rental rules don't apply here.

I am scratching my head on this.  A pilot crash pad?  Oh boy...kind of like a truck stop but higher end LOL.

 Haha, no think couch surfing.  If your tenants are all pilots they most likely just advertise it within their circle of pilot friends.  You could talk to them and if that’s what their doing readjust their leases and get everyone on it. More then likely they aren’t all going to be there at the same time and do occupancy rates don’t apply.  

     As far as what a crash pad is it’s really a home away from home.  Your place is in Fort Lauderdale.  So they work out of that airport to start their week of work.  But their family (and them) actually live in say Knoxville Tennessee.  They fly into work the afternoon before their shift starts and crash at their crash pad for the night then go and fly their rotation (a day to 10 days depending). They get back to home base and maybe crash another night before catching a flight back to home in Knoxville. 

    Hope that makes sense.  Replace Knoxville with any town not local and that’s possibly what you’ve got on your hands.  

You could go through your lease and cite your interpretations of the violations and send a notice to cure.

You could take a less direct approach and meet with the tenants (or send them a letter if logistically impractical) and explain to them what you are observing, and that your intention when you rented to them was X and you are clearly seeing Y.  See if they are open to providing additional security deposit funds as a gesture of good faith, since the property is clearly getting more use.

As a take away, you now know never to rent to pilots again, and/or change your lease in a way to prevent a crash pad (perhaps use that very term in your lease and define it).  That way you only make this mistake once.

Also change your lease to prohibit vehicles left at the property not registered to signed lessees on the property and post a sign (and in lease) that they will be towed, and collect vehicle data at lease signing.

Originally posted by @Account Closed :
Originally posted by @Sam Leon:
Originally posted by @Eric C.:

What you have is a pilot crash pad.  People will stack and sublet to other pilots going thru town for a few hundred a month for a place to stay coming in and out of their “base” station.  

     Saves them money but if the landlord isn’t aware of it or know how to handle it the pilots/flight attendants get super cheap housing and you get a majorly worn out home when they move out.  

I have never been in this situation before.

It's possible they are letting buddies stay for free, I don't know.  It's not like they are advertising on Airbnb or vrbo.  So the standard overstaying guest rule or the no sublet no short term rental rules don't apply here.

I am scratching my head on this.  A pilot crash pad?  Oh boy...kind of like a truck stop but higher end LOL.

 Haha, no think couch surfing.  If your tenants are all pilots they most likely just advertise it within their circle of pilot friends.  You could talk to them and if that’s what their doing readjust their leases and get everyone on it. More then likely they aren’t all going to be there at the same time and do occupancy rates don’t apply.  

     As far as what a crash pad is it’s really a home away from home.  Your place is in Fort Lauderdale.  So they work out of that airport to start their week of work.  But their family (and them) actually live in say Knoxville Tennessee.  They fly into work the afternoon before their shift starts and crash at their crash pad for the night then go and fly their rotation (a day to 10 days depending). They get back to home base and maybe crash another night before catching a flight back to home in Knoxville. 

    Hope that makes sense.  Replace Knoxville with any town not local and that’s possibly what you’ve got on your hands.  

These pilots actually live in Fort Lauderdale.  They are single.  There are times they are gone a week or two in a row, but their schedules do not overlap.  So usually one of them is here and the other two travelling.  There are times all of them are out.

I selected them because I thought it will be less wear and tear if they are gone half the time, and easier to schedule repairs and improvements.  Lesson learned.


Originally posted by @Wesley W. :

You could go through your lease and cite your interpretations of the violations and send a notice to cure.

You could take a less direct approach and meet with the tenants (or send them a letter if logistically impractical) and explain to them what you are observing, and that your intention when you rented to them was X and you are clearly seeing Y.  See if they are open to providing additional security deposit funds as a gesture of good faith, since the property is clearly getting more use.

As a take away, you now know never to rent to pilots again, and/or change your lease in a way to prevent a crash pad (perhaps use that very term in your lease and define it).  That way you only make this mistake once.

Also change your lease to prohibit vehicles left at the property not registered to signed lessees on the property and post a sign (and in lease) that they will be towed, and collect vehicle data at lease signing.

I will have a conversation with them just need to consider all my options before I can articulate what it is I am objecting to when technically no rules have been broken.

I do have vehicle data, it's part of the application and I have a clause in my lease which states one vehicle parking allocation per bedroom.  So a 3/2 has 3 vehicles.  But that rule is designed to avoid someone other than the tenants parking there all the time (such as a BF or GF) not a different vehicle every few days.  On the other hand I cannot prohibit any other vehicle to park there, they may have a dinner party and invite friends, and they need to park and that's perfectly fine.

@Sam Leon   What you need to articulate to them is the difference between the spirit of the provisions in your lease, and what the words actually say.  Sure, you would not object to a dinner party and thus do not have any hard rules about "visiting vehicles", but you can impress upon them the problem their use of your property is causing.  Try to get them to see it from your side; you are a reasonable person and would like people to have the quiet enjoyment of their home and thus have tried hard to avoid having many restrictive "house rules", but your intention in renting to them was for them to use this single family residence in a typical way.

An imperfect analogy:

When Hertz or Avis rents you a car, sure you have "use of it for X days" - but they are not expecting you to enter a race with it at Watkins Glen, or use it to transport 150 bags of potting soil, stacked into every space in the trunk, back seat, passenger's seat, and roof.  Or 600 lbs. of concrete in the trunk, bottoming out the suspension.  All these uses are not expressly prohibited by the contract (I'll bet they are, but suspend disbelief for now), but all those uses will generate premature wear and heightened expenses and/or limited use of their asset in the future.  If you told them you'd like to rent their vehicle to do one of these things, I'll bet they would refuse your attempt at patronage.

@Sam Leon I would address this head on. Don't get hung up on the specific wording in your lease, but rather focus on the intent of the clauses. Subletting is someone living there when you are not. The visitor clause is really for family or friends who may travel to visit. It is not for coworkers to crash as they travel for work. 

Guaranteed they are getting some type of compensation, but they probably won't disclose that if you ask them, so why even ask. Compensation may be reciprocal crashing at their place in another city or maybe free beer at the bar. The point is subletting is just someone being there whey you are not, regardless of monetary arrangement.

I would even clarify that occasional overnight guest not staying 7 nights includes all combined, not each guest. Otherwise you could have 20 people staying there for 6 nights. That is hardly the intent of that clause. Again, don't get so hung up on specific wording, but rather you provide the interpretation.

@Sam Leon I had a landlord just like you and I have to say that you guys are a nightmare.

Mine used to send me email about having guests over to my house and etc, everytime I had a guest he would ask when is he leaving, its super annoying and harassing, you need to take a chill pill and stop.

@Sam Leon

If your 4 months into the lease I would see if you can get an extra security deposit as someone else mentioned and just do regular inspections. See how they are treating the apartment. And then re-evalutate the rental amount based off the inspections come renewal. Be open with them and explain your plan. They may change their habits if they like the place and don’t want an increase in rent come lease renewal. Or, they will start looking for places in advance and be prepared to be out of your hair quickly come renewal. Vacancies and evictions cost an arm and a leg -I do whatever I can to minimize them. Even if it means taking more wear and tear than normal. But that’s just me. Your other option is cash for keys. Do the inspections and keep a regular eye on the rental and make the most cost-efficient decision you can.

@Sam Leon You should inspect the house and determine if it being used as a pilot crash pad is creating more or less wear and tear than a family of 4 with a dog. If less, I would actually consider putting a keypad deadbolt on the front door and allowing them to continue as they are...as long as the cars are kept off the lawn and request that they hire a maid to come in and clean every other week. I would think they have reciprocal agreements in other cities with other pilots.

Joe is spot on with this. It already sounds like these tenants are taking full advantage of the situation; provide a clear interpretation of what the intent of the clause is, and raising the rent down the line is definitely a good idea if you're trying to get yourself out of a sticky situation. Sorry to hear that you're dealing with this; they probably are being compensated which was, as I'm sure, not part of your original intent in renting to them. As Wesley noted, going through your lease and citing those interpretations of violations is a good idea too. 

As an airline pilot myself who is familiar with crashpads I have to say that may not be a bad situation to be in.  What would bother me is that your tenants were not up front about their plans.  

I stay at a similar place in Newark.  The landlord knows exactly what is going on.  He has had the same tenant(s) for 5+ years.  They pay higher than average rent and there is no vacancy. The "tenants" don't live there, they just need a place to hang out between trips or while on call.  I would expect that the wear and tear is way less than with traditional tenants.

You might look on crashpad411.com to see if your place is listed.   

Maybe do an inspection on the property.. See how they are treating it. If they're treating it well / keeping it clean, then it might not be as big a concern. 


@Sam Leon Enforcing this is going to be a major challenge because even if you tell the tenants but there isn't a way to enforce the leasem then you might be in limbo here until the lease. 

Now, you could get their attention by getting a tow company to tow away cars, which are not on the lease and parked on the property past a specific time/days. 

You basically need to get creative to get their attention! 

@Sam Leon If you have specific provisions within your leases, you can always gather proof they are violating them on a consistent basis, then move to evict. Just get a good lawyer to do it for you. 

1) Occupancy: if you know they are allowing non-lease renters to stay over, drive by the place at 11pm to take a picture, not once but 10 times. It's reasonable a judge would see your side of the story. If you're paying water, or can somehow access the water bill, if the amount of water seems high for the # of people on the lease, use that too. 

2) Parking violations: you've seen this yourself multiple times. Document it. Use it in court. 

3) Address search: google the property's address and find out if they're advertising rooms for rent on a short term basis. If so, print it and use it. 

I'm not saying evict them, but you can definitely use it to justify inspections or raising rent.