Unauthorized residents present a variety of problems for property owners. Not only is it unsafe to house more people than should appropriately live in a home, but it can also lead to costly liabilities.
Dealing with residents who aren't on the lease can be frustrating without the right strategies in place. If you find more people living in your property than are on the lease, use these tips from an expert Gaithersburg property management company to handle the situation and avoid recurrences of the same issue in the future.
What Is an Unauthorized Tenant?
Anyone who moves into your rental without signing the lease is an unauthorized tenant—but unapproved residents can also be long-term "guests" who never seem to leave.
Your lease must include the names of everyone who lives in a property, including roommates and partners or spouses. When a friend "crashes on the couch" for more than a few days, that friend becomes someone who needs to be on the lease (or find a new couch and crash elsewhere).
Whether a neighbor tips you off that they see more people in the home than usual, or a driveby inspection (or scheduled interior inspection) reveals more cars in the driveway and more people in the home than names on the lease, investors need to take action when unauthorized people wear out their welcome.
Stay In the Loop
If you never visit your property or check in on legal residents, it's hard to discover lease violations like residents who aren't on the lease. To help you avoid an incident like this, property owners need to apply a few critical strategies to stay in the loop about their rentals:
- Make sure every person living in your Gaithersburg property is on the lease
- Only allow copies of keys with the property manager's (or your) consent
- Schedule routine inspections during the lease term
- Make sure the lease documents that any unauthorized residents are a lease violation (including long-term guests)
- Don't allow sublets or Airbnb activity without your permission
- Encourage renters to let you know when long-term guests are in the rental and how long they plan to stay
- Make sure long-term "guests" don't stay too long!
Establishing the rules when a renter signs the lease can help investors avoid issues with more people living in the property than what is on the lease. A strong and thorough lease makes it clear that a name must be on the lease to live in the rental. Your lease must also document what happens when residents get caught with extra people in the home.
Overcrowding Is Bad for Business
Sometimes students or young adults might overcrowd in a rental to save money. They might assume that one or two names on the lease are okay while allowing friends or family members to move in and out to help with the rent. However, overcrowding a home can cause safety issues, fire hazards that put residents and your property at risk. It also reduces the returns on your property when the monthly rent amount doesn't accurately reflect the number of people who should pay to live in the rental.
Helping a friend or family member with a place to stay is a noble thing to do. However, Gaithersburg renters must go through the proper process to add a resident to the home to avoid violating the lease and creating unsafe conditions.
Enforce the Lease
Gaithersburg property owners must enforce the lease when discovering unauthorized residents in a property. When you find an extra person in a rental:
- Consult the lease agreement
- Talk to the renters on the lease about the situation
- If they want the person to stay, have the extra person fill out a lease application and put them through your screening process
- If they meet your criteria, add them to the lease and adjust the rent and security deposit amount accordingly
If an unauthorized resident refuses to fill out an application or agree to the screening process, take action to remove them from the property. When an extra person fails the screening process, or doesn't meet your criteria, they also need to move out of the rental.
Work with a Gaithersburg property management company to handle difficult situations with renters who refuse to comply with the rules about long-term guests or extra residents in your rental. Removing unauthorized residents can lead to conflict. A property manager can step in for you and work with your legal counsel to enforce the rules and remove extra residents.
Gaithersburg Property Management Enforces Leases and Managers Renters!
Keeping track of everyone living in your rentals can be challenging—especially when you own multiple properties or don't live in the area. A Gaithersburg property management company can help you keep track of approved residents and enforce the lease for you!
Renters Warehouse BW/Metro creates strong leases that clearly outline the rules for living in rental properties. We also conduct routine inspections and enforce the lease when renters fail to follow the rules and engage in violations. If you're dealing with unauthorized residents or other broken rules, let's talk about how we can help!
Learn more about protecting your properties and income when you download our free ebook, "Protecting Your Investment Property: A Guide."