Lease Offenders: How to Handle Guests Who Overstay Their Welcome

There are many reasons that rental properties set up guest policies. There are fire hazards, occupancy limits, and not to mention the dreaded subleasing schemes. A policy is just one more way to ensure everything is on the up and up, to know who is staying, if they are safe and if your residents are obeying all the rules. The next question is, how do you handle the long-term guest who should definitely be on the lease?

There are many reasons that rental properties set up guest policies. There are fire hazards, occupancy limits, and not to mention the dreaded subleasing schemes. A policy is just one more way to ensure everything is on the up and up, to know who is staying, if they are safe and if your residents are obeying all the rules. The next question is, how do you handle the long-term guest who should definitely be on the lease?

Prepare for Confrontation

Confrontation is the worst. Many people will shrug it off or whine because, I’m not good with confronting people! And will let too many bad things slide because it’s simply easier to know something is happening than step into the ring and prepare for a showdown. Tempers can rise, defenses go up and no one walks away feeling better about themselves.

Prepare for Confrontation

Confrontation is the worst. Many people will shrug it off or whine because, I’m not good with confronting people! And will let too many bad things slide because it’s simply easier to know something is happening than step into the ring and prepare for a showdown. Tempers can rise, defenses go up and no one walks away feeling better about themselves.

You must remember that there is a reason you have a guest policy. You don’t want to be liable if something goes wrong. Once you’ve double-checked to make sure you:

A) have the guest policy laid out in their contract and

B) they are in violation of that policy

You need to set them straight. Long-term guests need to be on the lease, they need to be held accountable and they need to be held to the same standards as everyone living on your property.  If you do not like confrontation, there are a few things you can do that may make you, specifically feel better. Do your research, as this can help back you up if you think they’ll fight you about the policy.

You do not have to play the “Bad Cop.” There are federal occupancy laws that limit how many adults per bedroom are acceptable. There may be zoning laws in your area that can support your arguments as to why they cannot add a secret roommate.  If you ask a local lawyer, they may be able to help you set up an argument as to why this person needs to either be added to the lease or move out.

You must remember that there is a reason you have a guest policy. You don’t want to be liable if something goes wrong. Once you’ve double-checked to make sure you:

A) have the guest policy laid out in their contract and

B) they are in violation of that policy

You need to set them straight. Long-term guests need to be on the lease, they need to be held accountable and they need to be held to the same standards as everyone living on your property.  If you do not like confrontation, there are a few things you can do that may make you, specifically feel better. Do your research, as this can help back you up if you think they’ll fight you about the policy.

You do not have to play the “Bad Cop.” There are federal occupancy laws that limit how many adults per bedroom are acceptable. There may be zoning laws in your area that can support your arguments as to why they cannot add a secret roommate.  If you ask a local lawyer, they may be able to help you set up an argument as to why this person needs to either be added to the lease or move out.

Serious Allegations

Remember that your resident’s direct actions mean a direct breaking of their lease. Once you talk to them, you can assess their intentions. Maybe they just forgot about the specific rules, and that’s okay. You can be gentle and remind them that the guest policy is part of their contract, they need to correct this and everything will be fine. By ‘this,’ specifically state the unauthorized, unapproved renter needs to go.

It is just as likely, however, that this was not an ‘honest mistake.’ You need to be firm and hold your ground. That means a stronger confrontation, followed by something in writing. Tell your resident that their actions have violated the terms of the lease.

Document each and every warning you give according to your lawyer’s recommendations (and in general, it is always a good idea to document everything). Depending on your policies, this could be one warning or more. After that, with your documentation, you are within your rights to evict.

Serious Allegations

Remember that your resident’s direct actions mean a direct breaking of their lease. Once you talk to them, you can assess their intentions. Maybe they just forgot about the specific rules, and that’s okay. You can be gentle and remind them that the guest policy is part of their contract, they need to correct this and everything will be fine. By ‘this,’ specifically state the unauthorized, unapproved renter needs to go.

It is just as likely, however, that this was not an ‘honest mistake.’ You need to be firm and hold your ground. That means a stronger confrontation, followed by something in writing. Tell your resident that their actions have violated the terms of the lease.

Document each and every warning you give according to your lawyer’s recommendations (and in general, it is always a good idea to document everything). Depending on your policies, this could be one warning or more. After that, with your documentation, you are within your rights to evict.

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Nicole Seidner

Cole Seidner is a copywriter here at the CIC Blog. She holds a degree in Writing from Savannah College of Art and Design with a focus in creative nonfiction. Her free time is spent taking pictures of her dogs or reading deep dive analysis on movies that she hasn’t seen.

Comments (2)

  1. Avatar

    Pat

    Reply

    Exactly how do you tell if the S O B’s are living there or stopping by every once in a while ?

    • Avatar
      Reply

      Realistically you’d likely know if you get a complaint from another resident that you can investigate or video footage of the person entering/leaving the property consecutively. Distributing parking stickers could also indicate if someone not on a lease is parking in the lot or residing in a unit they’re not supposed to be in. Hope this helps!

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