Once in a while, you may find that some landlords take issue with some of the people you have over at your rental unit. This may be due to one or two things involving your guest, and your landlord may choose to let things go or raise concerns. So how do you go about it when it is the latter?
Can your landlord tell you who can visit? Even though your landlord owns the apartment, they cannot unreasonably tell you who can visit your living space or charge you if your guest decides to spend the night. However, your landlord can keep your visitor from coming over to your apartment if he or she breaks the rules stipulated in the lease or breaks the law.
Although your landlord doesn’t have the last word in what you do in your apartment, there are some rental rules put in place that you have to comply with. Your landlord can’t keep you from having people over, but here are some of the reasons why he might restrict some of them from visiting:
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The reasons why he might restrict some of them from visiting
1. You have too many people over
One of the main reasons why your landlord may feel the need to tell you who can visit is if you constantly have too many people over. Having multiple guests over in your rental space will most likely result in noise and even rowdiness. These unfavorable noise levels will probably create disturbances in your apartment building, and your neighbors may raise concerns with you. Some may even go as far as contacting the police instead of informing you first. Furthermore, if there is a restriction on the number of people you can have over in your apartment in the lease agreement, your landlord may not be too kind either.
2. Illegal drug activity is in the mix
If your landlord suspects that you or your guests are involved in any illegal drug activities, you risk being evicted, or even worse, reported to the authorities. Disturbances that may raise suspicion of landlords regarding illegal drug activity include:
- Many people frequenting the apartment at odd hours of the day and leaving soon after. Of course, this could just mean you have a busy social life, but your landlord may think otherwise.
- There is a sudden spike in the utility bills. You may be using more electricity or water for various reasons, but if the patterns are unexplainable, your landlord may become suspicious.
- If you are manufacturing drugs in your unit, there is a likelihood that some peculiar scents or odors may be produced. This may result in your landlord asking questions about what you and your visitors are up to.
3. Cases of domestic violence
Cases of domestic violence involving the tenant and a regular guest may be a cause for the landlord to restrict the problematic individual, especially if you are the victim. Additionally, the landlord may involve authorities in order to ensure your safety.
4. There are unauthorized pets
Your lease agreement may completely restrict pets in the building, or provide specifications on the number of pets you can have, as well as other specifics such as the type, size, and breed. You may not think of alerting the landlord when your pet-owning friend is just coming over for a bit, but there is a lot that can happen within a short period of time of having a furry friend in your living space:
- The pet may cause scratch marks on the walls, doors, flooring, or furniture.
- If your guest brings along a dog, the barking may cause a disturbance, which may result in neighbors alerting the landlord.
- Pet odors may raise suspicion as well
- The animal may poop in an area outside your apartment
If your landlord becomes aware of such a situation, you may receive a warning or worst-case scenario, a lease violation notice. You will also have to bear the costs for any damages that the pet caused, as well as the fees incurred by the violation of your lease.
5. Your visitor causes damage to the property
If a friend or family member come over and accidentally leaves a noticeable dent on the wall or inflicts damage on furniture that came with the apartment, you might have some problems with your landlord. This is especially true if the landlord notices the damage sometime during your stay, or as you move out. You might want to ask for compensation from whoever caused the damages in order to cover any resultant charges.
6. Long-term guests
There are typically three broad types of visitors you will get at one point or another:
- Guests who come over for a short while, maybe for dinner or to simply hang out. They may stay for the night or a weekend.
- Long-term visitors who stay at your apartment for a few weeks per year
- Unofficial tenants who are staying with you indefinitely.
The first two are usually not that big of a deal, although some landlords may limit guest visits to a specific number of days, say 10 within a 6-month period. Furthermore, some lease agreements may require you to register any overnight guests. It is best to comply with these rules and stipulations in order to avoid any trouble with your landlord.
Unofficial tenants might be your boyfriend/girlfriend who moves in, a friend or family member on an extended visit, or a subletter you contracted without the knowledge of your landlord.
There are different ways your landlord may choose to deal with the issue of unauthorized or troublesome guests:
- Confrontation is one of the first steps your landlord may take to deal with the issue of a problematic guest. If you are lucky, you may come to an agreement on the terms of stay and when your guest will be leaving.
- Your landlord may also opt to issue you a written warning regarding your guest. If you fail to comply with his/her request, the landlord may decide to take harsher approaches.
- The landlord may send you a notice of non-renewal. This notification basically means that the landlord is not willing to renew your lease agreement at the end of the term due to the issues with your guest.
- In order to deal with long-term guests, the landlord may opt to add the unofficial tenants to the lease. Adding another tenant to the lease means that your landlord can choose to raise the rent. Ideally, your landlord should keep within the state laws as well as take joint tenancy into consideration when raising the rent.
- Another option is an eviction. This is usually the last resort when all the other ways of dealing with a tenant fail. Your landlord may decide to evict you due to a breach of the lease agreement by hosting an unofficial tenant or a problematic guest.
What your landlord cannot do
Even if you are in violation of your lease by having a guest over, your landlord is overstepping boundaries if he/she does any of the following:
1. Barging into your home without notifying you
Your landlord does not have the right to force entry into your home without giving you prior notification. A statue that is common in most states requires that your landlord should provide you with at least 24-48 hours’ notice if they wish to gain access to your home. The only exceptions are if there is an emergency or if there is an indication that you have abandoned the property.
2. Lock you out of your apartment without notice
If your landlord decides to evict you due to issues regarding your guest, he/she must do it through the proper channels and serve you with a 30-day notice. If your landlord overlooks the law and decides to lock you out without notification, you have the right to pursue legal action against them.
3. Turn off your utilities
Some unethical landlords may decide to punish you for failing to comply with the lease by turning off your utilities. This is illegal, and you can sue them on the grounds of endangerment, especially if you live in extreme climatic conditions and utilities such as heat or air conditioning are essential.
If, for example, your landlord allows your neighbors to have visitors over but insists on screening and rejecting most of your guests, that is considered to be discrimination. Your landlord has no right to treat you or your guests differently based on race, gender, religion, or skin color. If you suspect that this is what is going on, you may opt to sue him/her for discrimination.
5. Spying on you
Your landlord spying on you may involve intrusive interrogations or unauthorized surveillance of your apartment. It is illegal or your landlord to do this, even if you are violating the terms of your lease by having guests. You may opt to sue for invasion of privacy.
- Can my landlord bring trespassing charges against my guest? Your landlord may opt to apply for a trespass warrant against your guest if he/she fails to comply with the notice served and insists on coming over.
- How can I get rid of a guest who overstays their welcome? You may opt to work with your landlord to remove the unwanted guest through legal channels by assuming your landlord’s role and serving your unwanted guest with an eviction notice or a non-renewal notice.