Whether you have a friend coming from out of town for a few nights or a family member who wants to sit on your couch for a few weeks, you’ve probably considered the rules for a guest to stay in your apartment. rental. If you have roommates, they probably have preferences for how long a guest can stay, but did you know that many landlords and buildings have guest policies? Find out the difference between a tenant and a guest, whether your lease has a long-term guest policy, and more.
What is the difference between a tenant and a guest?
Say you have a friend who wants to sit on your couch for a few nights while they look for a new apartment. Before you know it, a few nights turn into a few weeks, then a few months. At some point, a longtime guest actually becomes a tenant, which can be a problem if your lease or building has rules about how many tenants you can have in your unit or if all tenants must be on. lease.
So what’s the difference between a tenant and a guest?
At the most basic level, a tenant or tenant is someone whose name is on the lease and who pays rent in exchange for a life in a rental property. In addition to paying utilities and rent, tenants are also responsible for fulfilling their basic responsibilities under the terms of the lease, such as taking proper care of the property, complying with laws, etc.
However, in some cases, a person’s name may not appear on the lease, but they may still be considered a tenant. For example, if a couple moves into an apartment and only one of their names is on the lease, they are still both considered tenants.
A guest, on the other hand, is a visitor who can stay overnight but is not under a rental agreement and does not have the obligations of a tenant, such as paying rent.
Examples of tenants:
- Someone moving in, like college-aged kids or elderly parents
- A home nanny
- Someone who lives on the property for several weeks or months
Here are some sample guests:
- A partner or friend who visits during the day or stays overnight occasionally
- A friend or family member visiting for a few days or weeks
- A babysitter or nanny who comes during the day to take care of the children
Find your next home on Zumper
How long can a tenant accommodate a guest?
Not all apartment owners or apartment buildings have a guest policy, but many do. These policies are generally aimed at preventing additional tenants whose owner is unaware from moving in, long-term guests from violating rules such as quiet hours, additional wear and tear on the unit by a long-term guest. date or tenants to turn the unit into a short term rental through Airbnb or similar service. Your apartment’s guest policy, if any, will determine how long you can stay as a guest.
If there is a host policy for your apartment, you should be able to find it in your lease. A guest policy will usually address some or all of these points:
- How many consecutive nights a guest can stay (often 10 nights to two weeks maximum).
- How many nights a guest can spend on the entire property (for example, 14 days in a six month period).
- The maximum number of tenants that can occupy the space or the maximum occupancy.
- What types of guests are allowed (e.g. friends and family of tenants vs. strangers from a service like Airbnb).
- How does the landlord or property manager expect to deal with clients who wish to stay longer than the guest policy allows (for example, add them to the lease as another tenant).
If a client wants to stay long term, your landlord may require them to be on the lease – and your rent could go up accordingly.
At the same time, having a long-time guest on your lease as a tenant could be beneficial, as it will protect you from unwanted behavior by your guest. For example, if a guest causes damage to the apartment, you may be responsible for paying the damage from your security deposit. But if they are also tenants, they will also be responsible.
Check with your roommates
Planning to stay with a guest? Once you’ve checked the terms of your lease or checked your building rules, you’ll also want to check with your roommates, if applicable. Some roommates are perfectly comfortable having friends on the couch or a partner’s living room, some may not be comfortable with it, and some may be fine with it as long as you pay. additional utility charges incurred by your guests.
The best time to communicate with roommates about your house guest policy is before you move in. Complete a roommate agreement together to figure out what everyone is comfortable with so that you are up to date upfront and can plan accordingly. You may have a policy that people who spend the night in the living room can only stay for a certain number of consecutive nights, for example, or a roommate’s partner can only stay for more than one number of nights per week.
Setting those expectations up front will help you avoid unnecessary confrontation down the road and help everyone better understand each other’s expectations.
Before inviting an overnight guest to stay with you, check the terms of your lease or your building rules to determine if there is a guest policy, especially a policy that prevents long-time guests.