How to handle tenant roommates and guests is the question this week for Landlord Hank on how he handles the situation as a landlord and property manager.  He is not giving legal advice, just how he handles it himself as landlord and property manager.

By Landlord Hank:

This is an on-going situation for most landlords, I think.

Now that the economy is better and more rentals are available I’m actually seeing less of “doubling up or extra unauthorized roommates.”

I can’t speak to legal matters but a great lease will help the landlord in this situation. I always address this situation up front, verbally, with the tenants, concerning guests and the amount of time a guest can stay, per the lease.

In my lease, it is 72 hours that a guest can stay without PRIOR written consent of landlord.

I ask tenants if they plan on having anyone else living with them, up-front, family or not. I make sure all occupants are on the lease by name.

Don’t make tenant mistake I did

I’ve made the mistake in the past of allowing a tenant to get a roommate when my tenant lost one of her two jobs and couldn’t make the rent.

I told my tenant she’d have to have a rental agreement with her roommate and this roommate would have to be screened and accepted by me but she would be responsible if anything went wrong.

The situation went bad after about a month and the tenant had to evict her roommate and then I had to evict her.

A very messy situation and one best not to be involved in.

Tenants and roommates can get injunctions against each other

Tenants and roommates can get injunctions or restraining orders against each other if things go really bad.

I shy away from roommate rentals and suggest you do as well.

If a tenant does have an unauthorized guest or tenant, this should be a clear violation of your lease.

In this situation, I would give my tenant a “7-day notice of non-compliance with lease with opportunity to cure.”

This is a legal notice stating tenant is in violation of lease and must remedy the situation by having an unauthorized tenant leave within 7 days.

If tenant doesn’t provide proof that “guest” is gone, then I’d file “7-day notice of non-compliance notice of termination” meaning that tenant will be evicted in 7 days due to this violation of the lease.

This is a trying time in our job of property manager and landlord, but it must be done.

Don’t be soft and allow your lease to be violated.

Your kindness will be repaid with having to do this chore a short distance down the road, so you are only putting off the inevitable.


Hank Rossi

See one of Landlord Hank’s recent posts:

Dear Landlord Hank: How Do I Get My Tenants To Use Online Rent Payments?

About the author:

“I started in real estate as a child watching my father take care of our family rentals. We did maintenance, tenant relations, etc , in small town Ohio. As I grew, I was occasionally Dad’s assistant. In the mid-90s I decided to get into the rental business on my own, as a sideline. In 2001, I retired from my profession and only managed my own investments, for the next 10 years. Six years ago, my sister, working as a rental agent/property manager in Sarasota, Florida convinced me to try the Florida lifestyle. I gave it a try and never looked back. A few years ago we started our own real estate brokerage. We focus on property management and leasing. I continue to manage my real estate portfolio here in Florida and Atlanta. ”  Visit Hank’s website here.

Dear Landlord Hank: Tenant, roommates and guests, what is your policy?

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