Author Topic: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest  (Read 5668 times)

rocklebock

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Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« on: June 02, 2016, 11:20:08 AM »
I want a reality check on whether I'm being reasonable about this.

My husband and I have an ADU rental on our property. We have a decent tenant who pays rent on time, give or take a few days. Last year he had a friend stay with him for several days, which he checked with us about and we OK'd. I don't know this dude but at the same time, I have no reason to have a problem with him.

Last week, tenant told my husband he would be going out of town for a few weeks for work, and BTW could same friend stay there for a week and a half. My husband, being a very nice guy, said yes. Then he told me, and I flipped out just a little bit. Partly for not discussing with me before agreeing to this. But mainly because staying for a week and a half while our tenant isn't there sounds a little off to me. Because, uh, what if the guy decides not to leave? I describe to my husband this worst-case scenario where we end up with a long-term guest who gets converted into a tenant who never agreed to pay rent. Or a slightly less worse scenario where this becomes a regular thing (since this is the 2nd time friend has stayed) and we have to put our foot down at some point.

Husband says I have a good point, so we go back to tenant and say that we can't have his friend stay there for that long because of liability issues with long-term guests blah blah blah. Nothing personal. I said if tenant pushes back, we need to have the friend talk with us directly to come up with something in writing. That didn't happen. Husband feels bad, I guess because he thinks we're being mean. I dgaf, but I tend to have pretty high boundaries about money and property. How would other landlords on this forum have handled this request?


Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2016, 12:07:28 PM »
1 1/2 weeks is not a long term guest.  If the ADU has its own entrance and exit and you don't share common space like the kitchen or living room than frankly I think it's none of your business if the guy has a guest.  I lived an apartment that I guess could be called an ADU.  Attached to someones house, separate entrance, kitchen, living etc.  I never told my landlord if someone was staying with me or catsitting for me or what have you.  Why would I?

merula

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2016, 12:12:52 PM »
Yeah, I agree with Blonde Lawyer. I think you've got an extremely conscientious tenant for even telling you about this.

If you're worried about this guy overstaying and becoming a tenant, maybe check in to the local laws about how that might happen. In your tenant's shoes, the only way I would understand this would be if you could point to some local law that says "anyone who stays more than 10 days is now officially a tenant with all the rights that go along with that". Then you could say "Dude, we'd love to, but we just heard about this law and we don't want you to get stuck with a roommate just in case. So your friend can stay for 9 days, but not longer."

onlykelsey

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2016, 12:20:43 PM »
Hmm.  I'm inclined to agree with the previous two posters unless you're sharing living space with the tenant (or he's trying to operate an airbnb out of his adu).

It is definitely worth looking in to local laws to see (a) how squatter laws work and (b) whether you're allowed to contractually keep him from having someone else stay there (assuming that you do have this power in the lease).  The only landlording I do is renting out my second bedroom (we share kitchen, living and bathroom), which I think is a slightly different situation.

I suppose ultimately it depends to some extent on whether you like this guy as a tenant and want to keep him around.  Because that's not exactly the message you're sending now.

rocklebock

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2016, 12:39:20 PM »
Thanks for the feedback. A little more information: The tenant has access to our basement and storage shed and requested same for this friend. Even my husband was uncomfortable with that, but it seemed easier to just say no to the whole idea, rather than negotiate the guest's access through our tenant.

I did look into local laws and they are not particularly clear about this. It appears to fall back on whatever's in the rental agreement. State law allows for a temporary occupancy agreement that states (among other things) the occupant is not a tenant, and they'll move out by dd/mm/yyyy. If they stay after that they become  a squatter. ETA: It appears that if this isn't addressed in an agreement, our options would be to tell the person it's time to leave and hope they do it, or start an eviction process.

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I think you've got an extremely conscientious tenant for even telling you about this.

Huh, really? The ADU is in our side yard. If our tenant was out of town and someone showed up unannounced to take occupancy, that would be pretty alarming. Tenant has guests come over pretty often while he's here, and we don't care.

The tenant has made a few other eccentric requests that we've declined, and I'll allow that those could affect how I'm seeing this one.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2016, 12:56:11 PM by rocklebock »

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2016, 02:55:16 PM »
I shared a driveway with my landlord and still didn't mention guests staying over.  Is the washer/dryer in the basement or is it just storage?

rocklebock

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2016, 03:48:36 PM »
I shared a driveway with my landlord and still didn't mention guests staying over.  Is the washer/dryer in the basement or is it just storage?

He usually doesn't mention it to us, and I wouldn't expect him to. When I was a renter I never mentioned guests to my landlord, either. But I would have if I was leaving town for an indefinite period and wanted to let my friend stay there while I was gone. That's what the tenant has done, in fact, so we don't have a conflict there.

The basement is w/d and storage.

nereo

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2016, 03:56:06 PM »
I would agree with the other posters that 1.5 weeks doesn't really constitute "long term" in my mind (though I'm glad you checked with teh local laws).

To add another perspective: your tenant is paying you rent for a space.  While renting always has conditions attached, it's not an unreasonable assumption for a person to think "Hey, I've got a place I pay to live in - you can use it while I am not here".  For many people that is just being hospitable.  Conversely, from renters perspective you're basically telling him/her that "even though you are paying to rent this apartment, it cannot be sublet-ed or loaned out when you are not yet, but we're going to keep your money even though you aren't going to be here."

You might want to have an addendum on your rental agreement that all parties can agree to.  Did the renter put down a security deposit?  If so, could you claim that any damages incurred by the friend will come out of the security deposit?

rocklebock

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2016, 04:14:20 PM »

To add another perspective: your tenant is paying you rent for a space.  While renting always has conditions attached, it's not an unreasonable assumption for a person to think "Hey, I've got a place I pay to live in - you can use it while I am not here".  For many people that is just being hospitable.  Conversely, from renters perspective you're basically telling him/her that "even though you are paying to rent this apartment, it cannot be sublet-ed or loaned out when you are not yet, but we're going to keep your money even though you aren't going to be here."

Good perspective, thanks.

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You might want to have an addendum on your rental agreement that all parties can agree to. 

As it happens, this is what our state's temporary occupancy agreement is set up for. I would be totally willing to have everyone sign off on something.

jwright

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2016, 07:27:56 AM »
Our rental agreements state that tenants may not sublease and must have written permission for guests to occupy more than 15 days.  So someone coming for a week would not be a violation.

Going forward, you should address this in the lease. It is understandable that an ADU with shared space would be more tightly monitored than an off-premises dwelling.

mskyle

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2016, 08:09:40 AM »
Yeah, you should address it in the lease next time.

However, having a house-sitter while your tenant is away could actually be good for you, the landlord. What if your tenant was on vacation for a week and a half and the water heater sprung a link on day two? Much nicer to have your tenant's friend notice it that evening and let you know rather than have a week's worth of water in the house when your tenant gets back.

hucktard

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2016, 09:33:41 AM »
If the rental unit was attached to your home with a shared entrance (like renting a room) I think you are totally justified in not allowing guests to stay without the tenant home, because it is your home after all. If there is a separate entrance, then I think it is reasonable to allow for guests to stay for short periods even without the tenant there. We rented the basement in our house with a shared entrance (tenant had full access to our home) and the tenant told a friend that the could come over and hang out in the basement when the tenant wasn't home. So this complete stranger just opens the door and walks into our house when my wife was upstairs. That didn't go over well. If the tenant had asked for permission it would be different. Having a separate entrance makes all the difference in the world in my opinion. Also, your husband already told the tenant one thing and now you have made him go back on his word. Your husband messed up by not talking to you first, however you two should try to be consistent with your tenant and not change your minds.

Gin1984

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2016, 09:40:33 AM »
I own a duplex and for a while lived in the bottom unit, we too shared the basement with laundry and storage.  Our lease required long term guest to have landlord approval but long term was two weeks.  I don't think you should say no to the tenant.  IMO what he is requesting is reasonable (at least in my state).  How is visiting for a couple days without the tenant there OR a housesitter any safer for your stuff than what he is requesting? 

CmFtns

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2016, 10:34:15 AM »
My lease on my last place I rented had specific guidelines for long term guests and when I signed the lease the property manager specifically asked me if anyone was living with me.

Two months into the lease my girlfriend got a job in town and moved in with me and we never told anybody and we lived there 10 months, we paid rent on time, and took care of the property and then moved out and no one ever knew a thing.

It is very easy to just not tell anyone about your long term guests and the fact that your tenant is asking permission probably means that they have no sinister plans or they would just not ask permission. In my opinion that request is perfectly reasonable and you should say yes... if shit happens then shit happens and you can deal with it in those rare occasions.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2016, 10:43:37 AM by comfyfutons »

rocklebock

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2016, 02:11:30 PM »
Hey thanks, I really appreciate all the feedback and different perspectives. My husband and I circled back on this last night. As some of you pointed out, this should have been addressed in the rental agreement (tenant is month-to-month, no lease), but wasn't. Which doesn't behoove us or the tenant. We don't want him to feel like he's not allowed to have guests, or has to ask our permission to have guests.

Along the lines of nereo's suggestion, we're creating an addendum to the rental agreement that states guests are allowed for ___ days, and anything more requires our written consent. We're also specifying that guests aren't permitted in the shared areas without the tenant being present.

A few follow-ups to comments:
- This is the second time my husband has told the tenant "yeah, go ahead," and THEN come to me and said, "I said yes to this, is that OK with you?" So yeah, that was a bit of an issue. The first time was a huge, unequivocal OH FUCK NO from me (it was something illegal and dangerous, the tenant knew it and thought we'd be cool). I admit that colored my perception of this request. But my husband also agrees he should say, "Maybe, let me check in with rocklebock," instead of feeling he has to answer on the spot.

- Also affecting my judgment: the first time this guy came to stay, tenant said it would be a few days, which actually meant a week or so. So I didn't put any stock in a conversational mention of "a week and a half".

- Several people pointed out that the tenant is being conscientious and not doing anything sinister, and of course that's true. However, in the issues I've had with tenants, never has there been a case where I thought someone was doing something underhanded. That includes the ones who got a dog even though their lease said no and I said no, and the one who tried to negotiate by not paying rent. They all had honest intentions.


Anyway, thanks again - I see the consensus is I was being too much of a hard-ass about this, and I think it's because I was reacting to a pattern I see with this tenant rather than evaluating the request on its face.

calimom

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2016, 02:47:44 PM »
I think you handled this well. It was a gray area situation, you'd had some history with the tenant, discussed it with your husband, and asked for/received feedback from this forum which you listened to. Go you!

Also, thank you for not referring to your husband as Mr. Rocklebock. :)

Goldielocks

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2016, 10:52:18 PM »
Do NOT accept cash or compensation for the guest (other than if he / she repays for specific damage, like breaking your laundry line).  That is one key way that a "guest" suddenly becomes a tenant.

Keep a clause with your tennant that states no long term guests (over xx weeks) unless added to the lease with prior approval.  Charge additional rent (e.g., double if you like) to add more people to the lease.  That will keep them off.

A week and a half is pretty short, I don't think you can have a claim, and just move personal items out of shared spaces if you are worried.

J Boogie

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2016, 07:26:11 AM »
This is the second time my husband has told the tenant "yeah, go ahead," and THEN come to me and said, "I said yes to this, is that OK with you?" So yeah, that was a bit of an issue. The first time was a huge, unequivocal OH FUCK NO from me (it was something illegal and dangerous, the tenant knew it and thought we'd be cool).

Oh c'mon.  It's just weed.  Don't be such a square.



But seriously, is no one else curious what this request was? I'm 90% sure the request was to grow a few plants "just for personal use"

Goldielocks

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2016, 11:41:36 AM »
This is the second time my husband has told the tenant "yeah, go ahead," and THEN come to me and said, "I said yes to this, is that OK with you?" So yeah, that was a bit of an issue. The first time was a huge, unequivocal OH FUCK NO from me (it was something illegal and dangerous, the tenant knew it and thought we'd be cool).

Oh c'mon.  It's just weed.  Don't be such a square.



But seriously, is no one else curious what this request was? I'm 90% sure the request was to grow a few plants "just for personal use"
Ha!  I am now imagining a large skateboard ramp in the back yard, for tenant to rent out / use with friend while not wearing helmets....


Kitsune

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2016, 12:24:55 PM »
Anyway, thanks again - I see the consensus is I was being too much of a hard-ass about this, and I think it's because I was reacting to a pattern I see with this tenant rather than evaluating the request on its face.

Yeah, kinda. I mean, when we were renting, we went to europe for a few weeks at the same time as my husband's cousin was in town for a conference... so she stayed at our place for 3 weeks and fed the cats/watched our netflix/generally kept the place up (mid-30s introverted teachers who volunteer to catsit: WIN).

It honestly wouldn't have occured to me to even tell the landlord. If I was running a business, or subletting, or allowing someone to stay there for more than a month (tenancy issues), sure. But 'I'm out of town, you can stay at my place for a bit' is just so much part of 'things one does with one's living space' that a landlord who'd have an issue with that would have been a HUGE red flag for me.

(That said: in the context of a pattern of semi-sketch requests, a bit of wariness may be valuable. Apply to your situation as needed.)

onlykelsey

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2016, 12:39:28 PM »
This is the second time my husband has told the tenant "yeah, go ahead," and THEN come to me and said, "I said yes to this, is that OK with you?" So yeah, that was a bit of an issue. The first time was a huge, unequivocal OH FUCK NO from me (it was something illegal and dangerous, the tenant knew it and thought we'd be cool).

Oh c'mon.  It's just weed.  Don't be such a square.



But seriously, is no one else curious what this request was? I'm 90% sure the request was to grow a few plants "just for personal use"
Ha!  I am now imagining a large skateboard ramp in the back yard, for tenant to rent out / use with friend while not wearing helmets....

I'm picturing a dog breeding business.  A prospective tenant wanted to know if she could breed her dog in the 8x10' room I was renting in Manhattan.

Evie

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2016, 01:27:50 PM »
What does your lease say?  Mine says no guest for more than 10 days in a 6 month period. 

adamcollin

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Re: Saying no to tenant request for long-term guest
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2016, 11:50:08 PM »
I think a week and a half is not a long time. You could have allowed the guest.