When Do Guests Become Roommates?


It’s fairly straightforward: the only tenants living in your apartment should be the ones on the lease. But what if you have a guest who stays longer than he or she should? When does a guest become a “roommate?” If guests are staying longer than they should, how do you tell them it’s time to vacate? It may be an uncomfortable but necessary conversation, especially if the guest is family. Here are some things to consider when dealing with long-term guests:

What’s the Difference Between a Tenant and a Guest?

A tenant is a person who is on a lease to an exclusive property or land. A tenant has signed a contract for rental space or land in exchange for rent. The space is legally occupied by the tenant(s), and they are allowed to use the rental space for as long as the lease is agreed upon. A guest is someone who is visiting but whose name is not on the lease. A guest can visit the home for whatever reason, but they are not obligated to pay rent.

How Long Is Too Long?

The time allotted for a guest to visit is two weeks. Your property management company may notice if a guest is staying at an apartment for too long. If this happens, you could be liable for making changes to your lease and your overall rental lifestyle. Any occupant of your apartment 18 years and older and living in the apartment after two weeks should be on the lease. For a clearer understanding of how long is too long, refer back to your leasing agreement. There could be a clause in the contract that states exactly how long a guest can stay. If you do not see this specific information, refer to your state’s Landlord and Tenants’ Rights.

How Do I Know When I Am Dealing with a Tenant?

You know if your guest has become a tenant by a few notable changes. For example, they are now receiving mail at your place and have offered to help with the rent. Perhaps they are sleeping over every night and using your toiletries. If you have noticed that they have taken up a considerable amount of space, they are cleaning your apartment, and they have moved a significant number of their personal items in... they could be a tenant!

What If My Guest Wants to Become a Tenant?

If you are indeed dealing with someone who wants to become a tenant, then congrats, you now have a roommate! The first thing to do is to have the conversation about expectations. How long are they planning to live at the apartment? Would it be for a full year or just six months? Schedule a time for when you both can visit the property management office to update the lease agreement. Once you both understand the policies and procedures of the rental space, discuss how each of you will contribute to the household. How will you handle things like grocery shopping and utilities? Agree on how certain rooms and extra space will be used. Having a roommate can be a lot of fun, or it can be downright horrible. Either way, the more you communicate, the more comfortable your home life will be.

If you and your new roomie need some extra space, check out now. As the number one apartment listing website, you’re sure to find your perfect place.


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