How long can a guest stay in my rental property?
It is common for close relatives or friends to need to stay over as guests in your home from time to time. In some cases, they may need to stay for an extended time before moving to other accommodation. The question often comes up then, how long can they stay in my home before it becomes a problem with the lease?
The exact length of time can vary across lease agreements. The first place you should check is your lease agreement, as this will be a clear indicator. However, if the lease agreement is still vague, or you need to discuss a guest with your property manager, here are a few things to consider.
Your right to quiet enjoyment of the property
A part of leasing the property is having the right to quiet enjoyment and exclusive possession of the property. As a part of this right, you have the right to live with your spouse, de facto, or any close family members. You can have friends or any new relationships stay over without needing to tell your property manager every time.
So, when a guest is staying over at your home you shouldn’t need to notify your property manager or landlord.
The differences between a guest and a sub-tenant
Where things change is when a guest becomes what looks more like a subtenant. Subtenants will be required to be on the lease. There are certain signs that your guest may now be a subtenant. These are:
- If they pay or contribute money to the rent
- If the property is their only residence
- If they have a key to the property
- If they direct their mail to the address
- If they help to care for the property, or
- They arrange to stay at the property for a long time.
While individually these can be common for guests, if a few of these signs apply then it is likely that they are a subtenant. To have a subtenant living in your property you will need written permission from the landlord before they can live with you.
What if I don’t get written permission?
Written permission from the landlord or property manager to have a subtenant in your home is vital. If you do not have this permission it is likely that you will be breaching the lease agreement. From this breach, the Landlord could serve you with a Notice to Remedy.
This Notice to Remedy could allow them to apply for a Tribunal order that the person moves out. Alternatively, they can use this as a reason to serve you with a notice to vacate. So, it is important to understand that there are serious problems to having an unreported subtenant living in the property.
If your mother is coming to visit and wants to stay for 3 months, it is a good time to check your lease agreement. Where it says they can’t stay for that long as a guest, or where it is vague, just get in touch with your property manager and check. There may be cases for exceptions.