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Long-Term Guests and Rental Properties

Long-Term Guests and Rental Properties

Check out these tips on dealing with the fine line between guests and tenants.

As a landlord, you will most likely run into the problem of a guest who is staying longer than he should. It can be easy for someone to slip into a rental legally, but continue to camp out there longer than is comfortable. It is important to catch these incidents early on, to know the law, and to establish a guest policy before this issue ever happens. 

What Counts as a Tenant?

“He who defines, wins.” The waters can become muddy as community members come in and out of your rental property. That’s why you need a clear definition of what a tenant is versus a guest. A tenant is typically someone who lives on the property, falls under the terms and conditions of the lease, and has the landlord’s approval. However, these individuals also can count as tenants:

  • College student home for the summer or as a drop-out
  • Elderly parent moving into child’s home
  • Live-in nanny
  • Au pair
  • Boyfriend, girlfriend, or friend who sleeps overnight most days of the year

What Counts as a Guest?

A guest, meanwhile, does not live on the property, no matter how frequently he or she visits. One does not get their mail from that property or frequently sleep there overnight. Examples of guests include:

  • Friend or family member visiting for 14 days
  • Parent living for a few weeks to help with a newborn child
  • Caretaker who comes during business hours
  • Boyfriend, girlfriend, or friend who visits during the day or sleeps over a few nights per month

Problems with guests begin once they stretch their stay, or even start paying rent or requesting for maintenance when they are not on the lease. Other red flags include moving in furniture or pets, and receiving mail at the address.

Refer to Maryland Law

A landlord must refer to Maryland law about the legal rights involving landlords, tenants, and guests. Your local laws will ultimately define how long a guest can stay at a rental. 

Establishing a Guest Policy

Meanwhile, a landlord can avoid this problem by forming a legal guest policy before opening a rental. One should make it clear that anyone living on the property needs to be on the lease, and when a guest needs to become a tenant or leave. To help you navigate these waters, contact your local trusted property management company for an airtight policy. 

Trust the Professionals at Clagett Enterprises for Your Realty Needs

If you’re looking for an experienced property management company, the perfect realtor for your property, or a professional to assist you during your purchase of any home, you can rely on Clagett Enterprises. Clagett Enterprises is a full-service real estate company with almost 30 years of experience in the Frederick and Western Maryland area. For assistance with commercial sales, leasing, management, and development and consulting, contact us online or give us a call at 301-665-6009. To meet our team and see some of our beautiful homes, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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