personsleepingWhen you sign a lease with a tenant or multiple tenants, you should make sure that you have run a full tenant screening on every adult and that (when you find tenants to accept) that every adult that will be staying there is on the lease. This will allow you to know how many people will be in the home and what kind of tenants will be staying there.

If you sign a lease with one adult tenant that has one child, it is reasonable to expect that those two individuals will be the ones to reside in the home. Sadly this is not always the case. Some tenants have a tendency to have long-term guests (even if the lease strictly prohibits this) that have not been screened properly. Not all long-term guests are going to land you in a bad situation as the landlord, but there are a a few reasons why a tenant may have avoided letting you know that someone else was moving it.

One possibility is that the tenant simply has not gotten around to notifying you yet. Life gets busy, and if a relative or friend fell on hard times and is crashing on their couch, your tenant may simply have not had time (in their mind) to reach out and let you know that they have a long-term guest. Make sure to keep communications open with tenants so that this does not happen. It may be best to have a clause worked into the lease that will help head this off to begin with. Make sure to note what is considered acceptable for how long a guest may stay and have a policy for how the tenant may go about adding a roommate to the lease. If communication remains open and friendly between you and your tenant, they're more likely to approach you about the situation.

Another possibility is that they never really meant to accept a roommate into the home. Some tenants will accept a guest for a night or two and then suddenly that guest never leaves. If a tenant has trouble with conflict, they may not be able to ask their guest to leave. If you find out that this is the case, they may actually thank you for helping to remove the unwanted guest.

One more possibility is that they don't want you to know about the guest. If their new roommate has a sketchy past they may know that you won't let them stay and are trying to find a way around this. There's a reason that you want to run a credit and criminal check on everyone that will be a tenant in your rental property. If they allow a guest that commits a crime on your property, you could be in for a bigger headache than it's worth.

No matter what the excuse is, a tenant should always let you know if they will have a long-term guest. What they should do and what they actually do are often two different things, though, so you should always be aware of what is happening so that you're not caught unawares.

POSTED September 12 2014 12:05 PM

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