Tenant moved in a roommate

17 Replies

I have a tenant that has been with me for a year now. When I rented she was on her own. After several months of her living there I start to see that she has a guy staying with her. It's a two family and recently the lower level became available so I have been there a lot getting it ready, showing and I see the two of them together all the time. I haven't seen her by herself in months. So I ask "is he living with you now?", her response was no on two separate occasions. My lease says no overnight guest for more than 24 hours without notifying... and so on. So I wonder would others let this go? Pursue it further? Post a three day?

Looking for some opinions. Thanks!

Single people don't stay single forever.  Some landlords on BP are very adamant about not allowing this.  OTOH, I agree with @Kyle Lewis that if there aren't any problems, I wouldn't worry about it.  Either love will run its course and he'll disappear after a few months, or love will get serious and they'll eventually move out or sign the lease together.  Or not.  <shrug>

I couldn't imagine being the manager of a 400-unit apartment complex and being worried about the overnight guests of each and every apartment.  Stipulate the "no roommate" clause in your lease, then wait until it becomes  a problem before worrying about it.  Life's too short for me to micro-manage the love life of my tenants.

I would start by giving the benefit of the doubt, keeps everything happier and makes it easier to figure out what's going on. There are lots of situations where we'd say the guy is living there but a new couple wouldn't think of him as living there. Did they hit it off and he's constantly at her place, but they don't think of him as living there because he hasn't moved properly? Is he staying with her for "a little while" and they haven't figured out how long? Is the AC broken at his place? (The way we went straight from a foot of snow to 90 degrees, if he doesn't have AC he might be escaping over to her place.)

Start by saying that it's okay if he is living there, you just need to know about it, so she doesn't feel like you're out to get her, then talk and figure out the situation. (My usual spiel for this is "It's totally fine, I've been there too, I just need to make sure I have him on the paperwork in case there's an emergency, to protect all of us.") Once you've figured that out, you can decide if you want him on the lease. Pretty easy to keep this conversation friendly. If it goes south for some reason that's a red flag.

Although, personally, 24 hours is pretty short.

You can either enforce your lease or let the tenant know that you wont enforce your rules and hope for the best when they break other provisions in the lease....your choice.

The middle ground is to let the tenant know that she is in violation of the lease and this is grounds for eviction if the issue is not corrected..... you will not enforce that provision if he goes through the standard tenant screen and is placed on the lease.

These are small issues and not worth making a huge issue out of, BUT they set the precedent on how tough you run your properties....are you a pushover or are you someone to not try and take advantage of..... how you approach this situation may have future impact on other things that come up.

If this is a good tenant, in a nice property and there aren't any issues, I wouldn't make a big deal out of it, but I would not just ignore the fact that she is breaking a provision in the lease...that gives them the impression that they can do whatever they want

What are really the pros for having him on a lease.

What if you wouldn’t typically rent to this person (employment , credit score , etc) and now he’s on the lease, they split, and he’s a problem and won’t leave bc “he is on the lease”. Now have to deal with eviction etc’

Seems less messy to leave it as is and if they split up it’s an easier break. If they are still together when time to renew lease, consider it then.

Look forward to the day she moves out and he remains as your unscreened tenant. Better hope he has a job and can afford the rent on his own or you will likely be facing a eviction. Once he is there he becomes your tenant whether you like it or not.

If you have lease rules inforce them otherwise remove them from your lease. A lease that is not enforced becomes null and void. You can not ignore a rule today and expect to be able to inforce it tomorrow.

@Eric Burgh ....before he gets on the lease, you require a background and credit check....just like any tenant on the lease. I require those for ANY tenant over 18 that will be living there

How I would approach it is effected by who this guy is.....what if he has a bunch of felonies? What if he's a registered sex offended? Has a warrant? Bunch of previous evictions? Debt up to his eye balls? You don't know..... may be a saint..... no idea....

As stated by Thomas S..... she could bail and you get stuck with a guy that you have no clue about

If you aren't going to honor the lease, then why do you have one? People hate conflict.....so they ignore what they should do because it can be "messy' and hope for the best....and then seem shocked when the outcome is 100x worse

You don't have to be an a-hole to handle this in a professional, tactful and friendly way......but it should be handled, not ignored

Maybe it’s just me then, but people get in relationships and stay the weekend, so past the OPs 24 hour window. Seems excessive to require the person on a lease for that situation. If she’s a good tenant she should have her own good judgement on her bf character.

To say to a good tenant that due to weekend sleepovers and your new bf’s sub par credit score (even though he isn’t paying the rent), she’s getting the boot end of the lease seems like a good way to lose a tenant and piss people off. I wouldn’t want angry people in my property. If he is staying more often and midweek I can understand.

This is the problem when renting to single women these days . They go through men every weekend I’m sorry but that’s just how it is in today’s climate !

The OP made it sounds like he's there "all the time"....so I agree that there needs to be some definition to that statement..... if the guy is there a couple of nights a week, then let it slide. If he's truly there "all the time", then that's a different ballgame. At this point for all you know he may not even have another residence.

Agree the 24 hours thing is kind of excessive.....

Having ALL people that are living in the property screened and on the lease is protection for the landlord....if you want to take your chances, then that's your choice

Do you do regular inspections of the unit? Maybe its time to schedule the HVAC filter change..... or say you found an issue with X (leaking window, crack in tub, peeling paint, bad flooring....whatever....) in the unit your are fixing and want to check if that's an issue is going on in the other unit too...lots of easy ways to have a look inside.....which you should be doing anyway on a regular basis unless you like suprises

I don't require that single women/men put a new boyfriend/girlfriend on the lease. We do put "smartlocks" on the doors of our apartments. When our tenants kick out the new BF/GF we just re-key the door at the leaseholders request. It's easier for us than being in the middle of the break up. As long as they don't cause problems and the rent gets paid...