Can You Live In An Apartment With Someone Not On The Lease?

Yes. You can live with someone not on the lease as a guest or occupant. A person who is not in the lease can stay with you for 10 to 14 days in a period of 6-months. But, beyond this period, it is a legal requirement that one is on the lease. 

If you live with your children below the age of 18 years, you need to list them as occupants. However, a child who is 18 years and above is considered an adult and needs to sign the lease. Living in an apartment with an adult who is not on the lease is risky. If a problem arises, the adult or the tenant may be removed from the premises. 

What Are The Consequences Of Not Being On The Lease?

Consequences Of Not Being On The Lease

A person staying in an apartment without being on the lease for more than two weeks risks legal action if anything happens in residence. As a tenant, you can also get evicted for violating the lease by allowing someone to move in with you. 

If you intend to host a family member, friend, or partner in your apartment for more than 14 days, it is necessary to inform the landlord to put them in the lease. Doing this helps protect you from any unforeseen problems that may arise in the future. 

Who Are Unauthorized Occupants?

As a landlord, you need to know how to handle different people on your premises and distinguish them. Any person who is not recognized in the lease is termed as an unauthorized occupant, and they include;

1. A tenant’s partner or significant others

2. A roommate or someone subletting the premises

3. An extended family member or friend

It is easy to spot someone who is not authorized to live in your apartment by checking their schedule. Other tenants or neighbors may also report an occupant who is disruptive. 

What Should A Landlord Do Before Evicting A Tenant Who Hosts An Unauthorized Person?

While eviction may be a remedy for dealing with a tenant who breaches the lease agreement, it is necessary to think about it before taking this step. Here are some things to consider;

Look At Their Record.

Before evicting your tenant, it is essential to look at their record. Consider if they pay their rent on time if they have had issues with other tenants, and whether they cooperate with you on important issues. If you have not had problems with your tenant, you could decide to amend the lease instead of the eviction process. 

Condition Of The Property

Whether the tenant and their new occupants are taking care of the property or not could also help the landlord to make an informed decision. If there have been more repair and maintenance requests from when your tenant brought in a new tenant, it could be a red flag. But, if the property is still in good condition, then there may be no need for eviction.

Eviction Cost

The process of eviction may be costly than you anticipate. You must consider if you have enough funds to cater for this move. You will also have to hire the services of an attorney since it is a legal process. Evicting a tenant may take more time than you anticipate, and it is good to consider all this before you can finally decide. 

Whether There Are Complaints From Neighbours

Whether There Are Complaints From Neighbours

You can also check with the community or neighbors if there are any issues with your tenant and their guests. If the presence of an unauthorized occupant causes damages to communal property, then evicting the tenant could be a viable option. 

How Fast You Will Get Another Tenant

Before evicting a tenant, it is essential to consider how long it will take for the premises to get another resident. It would also help to think about the marketing costs and any losses you may incur when the apartment remains vacant. After weighing the options, you can allow the tenant to stay until their lease expires. 

Proof Of Illegal Occupancy

Proving that the unauthorized person is living on your premises and has no other residence could be challenging. You will need to have enough evidence before you can evict your tenant on allegations of hosting an illegal occupant. You may be required to consult your attorney to know if you have a case against your tenant. 

How Can You Prevent Unauthorized Tenants From Your Apartment?

Dealing with illegal tenants could be tricky. It is easier to prevent such persons from living in your apartment. The following are some ways to avoid them;

You Can Put It In The Lease

When signing a lease agreement, the tenant must know what constitutes a guest and an occupant. You need to specify the number of days beyond which a guest becomes an occupant. Let your tenants know that they need to notify you in writing when they intend to bring in a new person into the apartment. 

Be Around Your Premises Frequently.

When you frequently visit your premises, tenants may not have the courage to stay with people, not in the lease. It may deter them from inviting such guests or occupants since they know that you will discover their secrets. You can also have people on-site to keep a watchful eye on you. Property managers can also be helpful when it comes to checking on your tenant’s activities.

Avoid Long-Term Leases

When your tenants are on long-term leases, there are high chances of changing their circumstances. One is likely to get new partners, pets, or even children, which calls for unauthorized occupants. A short-term lease may help prevent your tenants from bringing in people, not on their leases. 

What Do You Need To Know About A Lease?

A well-drafted lease helps to protect both the landlord and the tenant from legal headaches and troubles. It also helps to save on time spent trying to check what is right or wrong. Below are some tips that help in creating a better document;

Personalizing The Lease

Customizing a lease instead of using a premade document helps prevent issues that may arise in the future. But, it is necessary to personalize it depending on the federal or local laws and your specific rental requirements and terms. You will need to understand what your state laws say about the security deposit, disclosures, and tenancy terms. You can enlighten yourself about the rules by visiting your local government’s website. Read about the residential landlord and tenant ordinance to help you tailor the lease. 

Specify All Terms Clearly  

Make sure that all the rental terms are specified in the lease. Be sure to include;

  1. Rental period whether monthly, half-yearly, or yearly

2. The start and end date

3. Maximum number of occupants

4. Names of all residents

5. Name, contact, and signature of the cosigner

6. Rent amount, due date, late payment fee, and penalties

7. Security deposit amount and any additional fees

8. Whether pets are allowed on the premises, what size, and number

9. Utilities included in the rent and which are to be paid for by the tenant, and requirements for setting up utilities (for example, electricity or gas companies)

10. Repair and maintenance protocol

Include Important Clauses

It is necessary to add all the necessary clauses as these will help to mitigate legal issues. The table below highlights some provisions that are crucial in your lease.


What it states


Even if any portion of the lease is invalid, it won’t affect other parts. It remains valid

Jointly and severally liable

All those who sign the lease are responsible for rent payment and upholding the lease. 

Lessee to maintain

A tenant should maintain the premises in good condition, including fixtures, appliances, carbon monoxide/smoke detectors. A tenant is responsible for repairing damages that happen during their tenure.

Access to premises

A landlord can access their property during reasonable hours and with proper notice. 

Subletting rules 

A tenant should consult with the landlord before subletting their space.


A tenant should avoid any activities that disturb the peace of other tenants. For example, you can regulate the hours for playing loud music.

Attorney’s fees

If a lawsuit arises, the court awards you legal fees if you are the prevailing party.

Rent liability

A tenant should pay rent on time throughout the tenancy period. 

Updating The Rental Lease Regularly.

A landlord must keep updating the lease terms any time a new tenant comes in. The areas to update include; names, lease dates, amounts, cosigner’s information, and any legal fees. You will also need to update the rules and requirements your tenants should uphold. For example, you can include the regulations on keeping pets on the premises. 

Wrapping Up

You can live with a tenant who is not in the lease in your apartment, but it is necessary to know the consequences. Be sure to read and understand the lease to know what you require. You may live with some guests for a maximum of 14 days within six months if you do not want them added to the lease. 

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