What To Do When You Discover More Renters Than Are On the Lease

By Real Property Associates

Lease Contract

You carefully screen renters before allowing them to move into your Bellevue rental properties. Good residents take care of your properties, pay the rent on time and follow the rules. 

What happens when you discover more people living in your property than you screened and allowed to move in? Sometimes even the best renters let guests stay too long or give a room to a friend for a while—without letting you know. While this situation can range from a harmless mistake to a serious problem with disruptive people living in your property (and causing damage), the lease clearly outlines who is allowed to live in your property. 

What can real estate investors do when they discover more renters in your property than are on the lease? We've put our best Bellevue property management tips together for you here.

Single shot photo of a room with a sofa and person

Recognize "Unauthorized" Guests

Unauthorized renters are a lease violation. Even if your residents are helping out a friend or family member for a while, long-term guests and a new roommate violate the lease without letting you know and making proper arrangements.

Who qualifies as an "unauthorized" resident or guest? You have a lease violation when:

  • An extra person lives in your Bellevue property without being added to the lease
  • A resident gets married, and their spouse moves in mid-lease without a lease update
  • Someone "visits" your residents for several weeks or more 
  • Your renter sublets your property (or a room in your rental) without permission

If you're a long-distance investor, it's challenging to monitor how many extra people live in your property. Even if you're local, it's tough to keep an eye on properties and residents and recognize when a guest has stayed long enough to be a new roommate that isn't on the lease. 

A Bellevue property management company keeps an eye on rentals—whether investors are local or out of state. With our schedule of routine rental property inspections, we can recognize when a guest seems to be more than a guest. We'll also notice if the resident on the lease isn't the person currently living in your property. 

Lease Contract (R) (S)

Consult the Lease

Everyone needs to follow the rules, and the lease should clearly outline the rules for your rental property—including the name of every renter approved to live there. If someone lives in your property without being on the lease, enforcing the rules can get tricky. 

At the first sign of a long-term guest that isn't truly a "guest" anymore, pull the lease and review it. Remind the legal residents of your Bellevue property that all renters must be on the lease. If a guest continues to stay in the home, they must be added to the lease.

Many times, a professional and kind reminder can resolve an "extra" resident issue for you. The guest will either leave the property, or your renters will agree to update the lease with the new roommate's name. However, if they don't comply, investors can enforce the current lease as-is.

Assess Penalties

When renters violate the lease with unauthorized people living in your Bellevue propertyand they don't work to correct the situation after you reach out to themthe lease also outlines the penalties for this issue. 

Your renters have options, but every option must protect your investment and correct the situation legally. Work with your residents to:

  • Add the new resident to the lease. If the person wants to stay, they must be on the lease. 
  • Make sure the extra person moves out (with a deadline to make it happen)
  • Follow the law if an unauthorized person refuses to leave or join the lease

If the unauthorized resident wants to stay in your Bellevue rental and be on the lease, don't forget to put them through your screening process. Every resident must meet your criteria to qualify for your rentals. Don't add them to the lease if they don't pass the screening process. 

When adding a qualified renter mid-lease, it's also appropriate to consider a rent increase. The new renters must also follow the lease rules and have an active renters insurance policy if that's part of your resident criteria. 

Use a Property Manager to Handle Unauthorized People in Your Rental

Owning rentals properties should be a passive way to build more long-term wealth. Discovering extra residents and approaching renters about unauthorized people might not be a task you want to undertake for your Bellevue rentals. When investors partner with the best Bellevue property management company, real estate investments truly become a passive income source!

Real Property Associates deals with all renter issues, including extra people living in your rentals. Our routine property inspections help prevent this issue. However, when we see a long-term guest that isn't on the lease, we work with renters to resolve the issue or assess appropriate penalties.

Let us help you protect your investments! Get our free guide, Protecting Your Investment Property.

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