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Can a landlord prohibit tenants from having overnight guests?

Can a landlord prohibit tenants from having overnight guests?

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2023 | landlord-tenant disputes |

Maybe you recently purchased a property and intend to rent it out to others, and you want to make sure that your lease adequately protects your interests. Perhaps you are a tenant who just started a romantic relationship and suddenly started getting fee invoices from your landlord.

There are many reasons why you may want to clarify whether it is legal for a landlord to restrict how someone uses their property and what guests they have visit. Can New York landlords prevent tenants from having overnight or long-term stay guests?

Leases can include numerous restrictions

It is actually common practice in New York and many other large cities for landlords to specifically include clauses in their leases that prevent their tenants from taking on a roommate or allowing guests without first notifying the landlord. After all, every person who stays in the building will likely increase the landlord’s costs, either through utility use or wear and tear on the facilities.

Some landlords will allow for occasional overnight stays provided a guest doesn’t stay too many consecutive nights. Others place a limit on how many overnight stays are permissible in a single month. However, some landlords completely prohibit overnight guests without prior written permission and may even impose specific financial penalties if they discover unauthorized guests staying at their property.

What happens in a conflict about guests not on the lease?

Typically, the terms of the lease will be what dictates the outcome in a conflict between a tenant and a landlord about overnight guests or someone staying with the tenant. Landlords typically cannot change the terms of the lease in the middle of someone’s tenancy, but tenants will need to abide by the existing restrictions in their lease or run the risk of incurring costs.

Landlords can potentially take different steps against a tenant to enforce a rule against overnight visitors. In some cases, they may send an invoice and charge the tenants for the people staying at the property. Other times, they may document the infraction and then deduct those fees from someone’s security deposit. Finally, landlords may also make the decision to evict a tenant when they have egregiously violated the terms of a lease.

Tenants may be in a position to negotiate more favorable terms when they first take on a lease or to discuss their needs with a landlord to avoid fees and other issues. However, if the parties cannot reach an amicable agreement, they will both typically need to abide by the rules outlined in the lease documents. Understanding your rights when dealing with a landlord-tenant dispute will make it easier for you to protect your interests as a property owner or a tenant.