When Your Tenants Have a Holiday “Guest” That Stays Too Long
Traveling is especially common during the holidays. Your tenants may decide to head out of town or they may decide to host out-of-town family at their Atlanta rental home. Generally, these guests will stay at the property throughout a portion or the entire holiday season and then head back to where they permanently reside. Unfortunately, every now and then, this is not the case.
What if you notice a guest staying at your rental property for an extended period of time? How do you address this situation?
The lease agreement
First and foremost, you are going to want to make sure that your lease agreement addresses this issue. There is a fine line between a guest and a new resident. For instance, how long do they have to stay before you consider that a guest is no longer a guest? Your lease needs to clearly state this. For example, have a clause in the lease that states any guest staying more than 10 consecutive nights needs to be cleared by the landlord.
The lease should clearly state that all adults residing at the property need to be listed on the lease. After all, you want to know who is living in your investment. You have screened and cleared your tenants – but you know nothing about these strangers. Once they have stayed past the time allotted in the lease for guests, it is time to take action.
Keep communication open
Being approachable and keeping the lines of communication open with your tenants is key in many landlord-tenant situations. After all, tenants who feel they can openly discuss issues or scenarios with their landlord are less likely to secretly violate the lease.
If you have a good tenant who has brought in a guest that has been there a bit too long, talk to your tenant. They may very well have an extenuating circumstance or a legitimate reason for the extended stay. Or, maybe the tenant doesn’t even realize he or she is in violation of the lease!
A simple phone call or visit can reduce a lot of frustration and may even rectify a situation rather quickly!
Don’t wait to act
As soon as you become aware of a guest who has been residing at your rental property for an extended period (beyond what is stated in your lease) you need to act on it. Investigate the situation – speak to the tenant and the guest and determine how you would like to handle the situation. By not acknowledging the situation or addressing it, the more time that passes, the more difficult the situation could become to rectify. You may think the guest will eventually go home, the guest may think they just found a new residence. Don’t wait!
Guests can be family members, boyfriends/girlfriends, a friend in a tight spot, etc. They have a right to visit your tenants for a brief time. But, once you notice that time is continuing, its time to dig deeper as to what the situation really is.