A headache faced by landlords from time to time are the unauthorized pets and occupants that get snuck into rentals without the consent or knowledge of the landlord. A bigger issue of that is when the landlord is not proactive about confronting tenants on the issue.
Some of the issues presented by not being diligent with making sure those on the lease are actually the ones living in the rental include:
An increase in utility costs
Landlord has not vetted the additional occupants or pets
Additional wear and tear on the rental
Sets the tone for other units to follow suit
The best first step is to have a good lease from the start. Once a lease is signed, it is hard to change the terms later in many jurisdictions. The lease should clearly identify:
Authorized occupants, including minors
Reservation to vet and increase rent for additional occupants
Policy on pets, if they are allowed or not allowed
If pets allowed, the description of the pets, and any additional rent for the pet
One way to ensure those that the lease is enforced is to routinely inspect the rental. You would benefit from having a provision in the lease that allows for quarterly inspections of the rental. Routine inspections allows you to ensure those on the lease are the only ones actually occupying the rental. If you have a resident manager, make sure they have a list of all occupants and pets for each unit so they can keep you informed of any additions.
If you suspect or have reason to believe there are occupants or pets that are living in the rental that are not on the lease you should make note of it and discuss with the tenant right away. Many rent control areas may deem your silence as acceptance and you could waive your right to have the occupants move out or increase rent to account for the occupants.
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The information in this post is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this post should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.