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Can landlords prevent tenants from having overnight guests?
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Can landlords prevent tenants from having overnight guests?

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2024 | Landlord/Tenant Law |

New York landlords often create custom leases to protect their interests as much as possible. They sometimes attempt to include terms in their leases that they cannot actually enforce. For example, some landlords may include clauses in their leases limiting overnight guests or even prohibiting people from having others spend the night at a rental property.

Landlords may view this as a way to avoid disruptive social activity like parties or secondary tenants moving into a property and increasing the cost to provide utilities and maintenance to the space. However, those terms could trigger a conflict between a landlord and a tenant and might actually violate existing rules in New York.

Tenants have a right to use their rental property

Those who pay to rent a living space have the right of quiet enjoyment at that property. Typically, they can use the rental space in any lawful manner that does not overtly violate the lease that they signed. Having guests stay over is one of the basic rights of a property owner or tenant.

In New York, those renting a living space usually have the right to host two overnight guests at any given time. They can theoretically allow those guests to stay for up to 30 days without their landlord interfering in their arrangements. Still, there are other rules that limit the tenant’s activity, such as prohibitions against inappropriately using door locks when accommodating temporary guests.

If those guests actually stay beyond that 30-day window, then the tenant may need to renegotiate their lease with the landlord to add a new roommate. In general, landlords usually cannot assess an extra fee or evict a tenant simply because they had overnight guests at a property that they pay to rent. But, with that said, tenants also have to be careful to ensure that they properly comply with both the terms of their leases and New York laws when allowing guests to stay at the property, particularly if they charge short-term fees for the accommodations.

Understanding the rules that govern overnight guests at rental properties in New York may benefit both tenants wanting to make optimal use of a property and landlords concerned about too many people staying at a rental unit.