Are They a Guest or a Tenant? Creating and Enforcing a Guest Policy

When you are a landlord, you are liable for the people who are living in your rental property. This is part of why we take so much care in pre-screening applicants and why tenants always sign a lease agreeing to policies that are designed to protect both them and you. Things can become more complicated when guests are involved and toe the line between visitor and occupant. How can you define a guest policy and enforce it when lines get blurred?

Are They a Tenant or a Guest?

The primary difference between a guest and a tenant is obvious—the tenant (or tenants) pay rent to you to live on your property. The tenants are named on the lease and agreed to all of the terms in it by signing it. Typically, tenants include any people over the age of 18 who are living in a property. However, even if someone is not on the lease or contributing financially to the household, they could be a tenant. A guest, as defined in the average guest policy, is someone who visits the property occasionally and only spends the night a handful of times in a set period. Guests are not financially responsible for the property or listed on the lease.

Determining When a Guest Becomes a Tenant

Sometimes guests become tenants over time, as a result of a relationship or a financial issue. Some of the signs that a guest has become a tenant include:

  • Guests receive mail and packages at the address
  • Guests are paying a portion of the rent or utilities at the property
  • Guests regularly sleep at the property
  • Guests have a key (whether given a spare key or an illegally or legally duplicated key)
  • Guests move in their own personal belongings, furniture or pets

Creating a Guest Policy

When creating a guest policy for your lease, you should include how many residents can live in the space, what guests you allow and how many nights a guest can stay within a defined period of time (like a month), how many consecutive nights a guest can stay and how guests who become tenants will be handled. Remember that this is your property, so you can adjust your guest policy to suit your comfort level. When you work with a skilled property management company like us, you can rest assured we will monitor your property for any signs of violations of the guest policy.

All County Denver South Property Management Can Help Streamline Your Properties

All County Denver South Property Management is here to help property owners get the best return on their investment through knowledgeable and trustworthy property management services. From managing tenant relationships to lease enforcement, we look forward to working with you to see how your investment can be a long-term, stress-free asset. For a complimentary quote, call us today at (720) 664-4550.

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