Can landlords dictate terms for tenant’s guests?

[] Tenants’ guests, can at times, become an issue for the landlord but can a landlord control this, once he has rented out the house? We look at how landlords and tenants can handle the issue of guests, in an amicable way

A lease or leave and licence agreement, determines the relationship between a tenant and the landlord. While most tenancy agreements do not contain clauses dealing with the tenants’ guests, this can often be a source of friction between the landlord and the tenant. In flats, guests and visitors may not be an issue but in houses where the landlord himself lives, there might be some restrictions.

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Aishwarya Jayaraman, a PR executive from Bengaluru, feels that since it is the landlord’s property, he has the right to decide the rules, for letting long-term guests stay. “Landlords often tend to question the stay of friends and the best way to deal with it, is to have a mutual understanding with the landlord and take prior permission for the same. When scouting for a rental house, ideally, choose a place that suits your lifestyle but in case you end up in a place which is a hindrance to you, try abiding by the rules of the place and live your life, without affecting or hindering the other occupants or the landlord,” advises Jayaraman.

There are no specific legal restrictions that are applicable, in the case of visitors and guests, points out Shubika Bilkha, director, the Real Estate Management Institute (REMI).

“However, the specifications will change, based on the agreement between the landlord and the tenant. The housing society may have their own stipulations, with respect to visitors and longer stay relatives, which need to be adhered to by all society members and tenants. In the event of any misuse of the property or illegal dealings, the landlord can evict the tenant and their guest, if they are found in breach of the terms of the agreement,” Bilkha explains.

Amit B Wadhwani, managing director of Sai Estate Consultant, agrees that landlords have some legal rights but this does not include rules for guests or friends, as the house is rented by tenant. “Restrictions are seen in some societies, where the society decides such rules internally but there is no rule in particular from the government, with respect to guests or friends visiting or staying at the rented place. The landlord cannot charge extra or above the pre-decided amount, when guests come but if the landlord has a problem, they can surely discuss it with the housing society and get a solution that is mutually beneficial,” states Wadhwani.

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How landlords and tenants can maintain a healthy relationship

The relationship between the landlord and the tenant, needs to be transparent and one of mutual respect and concerns, if any, need to be outlined and agreed upon, prior to entering into the tenancy agreement. “While it is difficult for a landlord to put any restrictions on guests of the opposite gender, it is equally important that the tenant adheres to the terms of the agreement and informs the landlord in advance, if any family members or guests will be staying for long durations. Respecting your neighbours and maintaining a cordial relationship with your landlord, is recommended,” adds Bilkha.

Like all individuals, tenants have the right to privacy and to live with their spouse, or close family members. While this means that tenants do not have to tell the landlord, every time that have guests, make sure this does not become a practice. As tenants are legally permitted to have guests, landlords should also refrain from raising an issue over short-term visitors. Landlords and tenants can also add a clause pertaining to long-term guests in the lease agreement, in case the tenant’s relatives or friends would be staying in the flat for long durations.

Subletting clause

At times, landlords may have to deal with a situation where the tenant sublets the property or rents out a room to others and earns money out of it. Ensure that a clause is mentioned clearly in the deal, prohibiting subletting the property.

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How should landlords handle the tenants’ long term guests?

The landlord has to realise, understand and be sensitive that tenants and their guests are people too. If its he tenant’s family members, a landlord should not impose an overly strict limit on the guests,. Once in a while, it is natural that the family will visit and stay with the member who is a tenant and ideally, this should be allowed. If need be, limit a guest’s stay to no more than 30 days in in three or six months. However, ensure that you have an open discussion with the tenant first regarding this point and it has to be mutually agreed upon. The tenant should also inform the landlord clearly about the long term guests expected. There should be clarity regarding long-term guests at home. Also, landlords should avoid undue scrutiny of the tenants and their guests, as it can be considered an invasion of privacy.

Dealing with guests in shared accommodations

If one is staying in a shared accommodation, the tenant cannot have visitors all the time, as it can disturb other co-tenants. “Always respect your roommate. Inform them and get their consent, if you plan on inviting guests over. Living with an unknown person creates awkwardness and can hinder the way the co-tenant lives,” says Jayaraman.

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When a co-tenant or roommate has guests over often, they need to follow proper etiquette. Ask the roommate before inviting guests, as it is their house, as well. The guests should not cause uncomfortable situations or create a nuisance. A lot of problems can be avoided by establishing the ground rules up front. Both the tenants sharing a house should agree upon the terms for guests and abide by the rules. The roommates should decide the circumstances under which prior approval from other roommates in necessary, before inviting guests. Set limits on how frequently roommates can have visitors and also guidelines for parties.

According to Akash Khurana, who has rented out his flat in Mumbai, “Renting out a house to a family, is not a concern but one has to be slightly more vigilant, when renting out a home to youngsters. I made it clear to the girls who rented my house that their families can come and stay with them and while their friends can also stay for a few day, they cannot stay for months together. It is natural for a person to have friends and families over. As a landlord, one should be tolerant, as as long as there is no nuisance created by the tenants.”

To avoid disputes, the landlord should state all the conditions in the tenancy agreement. The contract should be legally registered and signed by both the parties. There should not be any hidden clauses in the agreement and tenants should file a complaint, if the restrictions on guests are unreasonable and go beyond the agreed contract.

Does the tenant guests have the right to use parking at the property?

The tenant is entitled to use the parking space his landlord has obtained for his vehicle. In most housing societies, parking space is limited and visitors may or may not be allowed to park their vehicles, depending on the space available. Usually, in a big housing complex, some space is allocated for visitors’ parking. Ensure that the terms for parking of vehicles, including how those terms apply to guests, are clearly stated in the lease agreement.

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Tips, for landlords and tenants to avoid conflicts over guests

  • Landlords should specify all the clauses and restrictions decided by the housing society, to their tenants.
  • Tenants and their visitors/guests, should adhere to the society’s policies and regulations.
  • No party can force their demands and expect other to follow the same. Rules should be mutually agreed upon.
  • Tenants should ensure that they or their guests, do not disturb others in the neighbourhood.

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Can tenant’s guests use the society’s facilities?

Tenants have the right to invite guests and use the common area or the society’s amenities, such as the swimming pool, gym, clubhouse, etc. However, always inform the concerned authorities beforehand, in case the facilities are to used by the guests of the tenants. In any case, the tenant should follow the set guidelines for inviting guests and using the common areas.

Can tenants have parties with guests in large numbers?

A landlord cannot restrict the tenant from having parties. However, restrictions on the number of guests that a tenant can have and the types of activities that take place in the property can be agreed upon between the landlord and the tenant when the property is being rented out. A tenant should not have parties that create nuisance for neighbours, or play loud music till late in the night, etc.

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Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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