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Do You Know Who is Living in Your Rental Property? When a Guest Becomes a Tenant

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Marina Shlomov - Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Do You Know Who is Living in Your Rental Property? When a Guest Becomes a Tenant

You screened your tenants and you are happy with them. They pay rent on time, seem to care for the property well, and even welcome all routine maintenance efforts. But, here’s the thing: The lease that all adults who will be residing at the property must go through tenant screening and sign the lease. So, what happens when an additional person or persons begin visiting – and staying – at the property. When are they no longer a guest? 

Your lease protects the legal rights of both you and your tenants. If you have an adult residing at your rental property that is not on the lease, then you may find yourself in some hot water should something go wrong. After all, you have no legal ground to stand on should this adult individual harm your property.

For this reason alone, it is important to know who is residing at your rental property and when to consider that constant guest as an additional tenant. 

Guests come and go. They come to visit during the day. Maybe even spend the night very sporadically. Some guests from out of town may come and stay for a week or two and head back to their own home. But, what happens when guests begin staying overnight for extended periods? How can you tell whether or not this individual/s should be a tenant or is truly just a guest? 

Here’s a guide to give you a little insight. A guest is no longer a guest when… 

  • He or she begins receiving mail at the property. 

  • He or she begins paying a portion of the rent, whether to the landlord or the current tenant.

  • He or she spends the night at the rental property – every night. 

  • He or she is seen moving furniture, clothing, pets, and so forth into the rental property. 

  • He or she requests maintenance or reports other issues. 

The best way to prevent this from happening to make sure that your lease clearly defines who is to reside at the property and who is a guest. There should be a clear line, if possible that determines when a guest becomes a tenant – and violates the lease. 

If you suspect that your tenants have new residents at your rental property, it is very important to seek out additional information. As the landlord, you need to protect the rights of your property. 

Marina-Shlomov-Photo-ThumbnailMarina Shlomov, a managing partner at ALH|Podland Rental Homes Property Management is the author of many articles on Landlording, Property Management, and Real Estate Investing. A residential builder in the state of Georgia since 1999, Marina is an investor herself. Her property management company is intended “For Investors” and “By Investors” for a simple reason – she knows what investors’ goals are and she works hard to reach their goals. In her spare time, Marina likes to spend time with her family, friends, garden, read and travel. Check her out at You can find Marina’s articles and comments at @rentalhomesatl on Twitter, on Facebook, Google+, Blogger. and YouTube, Bigger Pockets and REI CLub and LinkedIn.

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