How Long Can a Visitor Stay in My Apartment?

Maybe you've found yourself in this situation: A friend or family member is in a bad place and needs somewhere to stay. Or they are looking for a place near you, but need a job to come through first. You’re a kind person, you care about your friends and family and you have an extra room or a spare couch they can sleep on. Of course they can stay for a little while. Well, a little while turns into a few weeks and a few weeks turns into a few months and suddenly you have a roommate who is not contributing to the rent or paying for the bills. Hopefully, your new roommate recognizes they have now become part of your household and they need to contribute — but as is the nature of many freeloaders, they might choose to identify themselves under guest status for as long as possible.

This, in turn, raises an interesting question: How long can a visitor stay in my apartment? Not only does this concern the residents themselves, but also the property managers or landlords of an apartment complex. When they ask someone to list how many people will be living in the apartment, this is done for a specific reason. They don’t want to be renting out a two bedroom to a couple and come to find out it has been turned into three studio apartments where six people are living on top of each other. So it is important to know the laws and rules around guests who stay longer than they should, or who are quietly living with renters without being on the lease.

When it comes down to guests having to fork over money for rent in an apartment where they are staying, this boils down to a number of different factors. The first, and arguably most important, is the agreement between the guest and the person whose name is on the lease. After 14 days, a guest should usually begin paying for a portion of the rent and bills. This all comes down to an agreement between the guest and the renter, who is legally obligated to pay the rent each month. This also comes down to location. There are varying laws in different cities, counties and states regarding guests having to pay rent after a certain amount of time and you should research what the rule is in your particular area.

In many cases, there is no time a guest can become a resident without having their name added to the lease by the landlord. Many apartment managers or landlords are hesitant to do this unless the guest is becoming a problem for the renter or for other residents. As an apartment manager, you will not make your residents very happy by counting how often their significant other sleeps over and forcing them to sign a lease. But if a guest’s name must be put on the lease, then they should go through the same credit check that the original renter went through, as well as having to fork over a security deposit. This way the landlord or apartment manager can feel more secure they will actually pay rent.

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