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Old 09-04-2003, 11:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Landlord vs Tenant

Heres the background:

My girlfriend rents out a basement suite. There is no written contract, apparently there was a verbal contract which the landlord stipulated that she's not allowed to have guests stay the night--male or female. It's my understanding the landlord said it would be ok if someone stayed over "once in awhile" should a situation that warrants it arise.

Now my gf and I just got back from a 2 month vacation and her roomate was also on vacation so I stayed over at her place for the 2 nights that she was living alone until her roomate came back. After the second night her landlord left her a note saying he was giving her a final notice and that she was not allowed to have anyone stay overnight.

I know laws vary from country to country and state to state. But is what hes doing legal? It seems totally unreasonable and I read that the landlord can only charge an extra fee if it is a hotel, not for a residential property.

I plan on talking to the landlord but I would like to have some concrete facts to back up my argument
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Old 09-04-2003, 11:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
a2k
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Location: Seattle
I just became a landlord in Seattle and went to landlord class. The first thing I learned was that the laws vary drastically by state, county, and city. Second thing I learned is that the laws are out to protect everyone and in doing so make it fairly hard to evict someone who has a tenant.

That said, you are not a tenant. Unless you've made a specific agreement to allow you to live (even for one night) in your GF's landlord's building, you really don't have any rights beyond what is in her agreement. Because of that, I'd recommend that she talk to him and not you, or that you go together.

The lease I've got with my tenants has a similar clause about letting guests move in. The reason? First, I'm paying garbage, water, and sewage. More people = more money out of my pocket, and believe it or not this gets expensive. Second, I don't want the person I rented the place to be fronting for some convicted criminal and have my "tenant" go on vacation forever and have their criminal friend move in in their place.

I bet if your GF talks to the landlord and tells him the situation, he'll probably relax once he realizes he's not at risk of the two issues I just mentioned. Unless, of course, your GF is bad at paying rent or taking care of the place. In that case, he's going to use every tool he has to get her out of there.
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Old 09-04-2003, 11:51 AM   #3 (permalink)
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A lot of it does depend on the state you live in, but I will tell you this: Where I live, a restriction on "no overnight guests" is considered an unreasonable restriction and is therefore illegal for a landlord to instate. 2 nights, by my understanding, does not make you a tenant. I'd consult some law books applicable to your state.

I just got out of an apartment run by an absolutely horrid landlord who broke practically every landlord rule in the book (besides the fact that she would only take the rent in cash, refused to take a tenant on HUD, and is most likely defrauding the IRS). It was easier to get my money back at the end because I read up on landlord-tenant law at places like Nolo.com.
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Old 09-04-2003, 12:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: New York, NY
I don't know too much about these issues but I'd venture to guess that your case is a little more difficult because the contract between your gf and the landlord is purely verbal. That doesn't mean you have NO rights, however. I don't know where you live, but you might find some useful information at Tenant Net - it's for NYC, but may be applicable to where you are. Also, I'd suggest checking out the housing forum on Craigslist. I have received some great answers from there. Might also want to check out their legal forum if nobody in Housing helps you. Good luck.
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Old 09-06-2003, 01:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Finger on the little red button.
Let me get this straight? There is no written lease whatsoever? That practically means that the landlord can be rid of her at any time, and that her only rights exist in getting some kind of receipt for rent to prove that she lived there.

Get a written lease, make sure that the amount of people who can live on the property is set by the City government, not your landlord. Odds are he's keeping you in a verbal agreement so he can pull this sort of shit. Don't let him. Get a written lease and tell him to eat a fat one.
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Old 09-10-2003, 01:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: in my computer
It doesn't sound legal because its not on paper...ANYWHERE. He is obviously making up rules as he goes along that will protect him. It is time to end that.

1) Get a written contract. If one is not produced, write a formal letter along with the next rent check requesting it. It will protect everyone.

2) Listen to a2k, I think he's got the right thing going.

good luck.
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Old 09-10-2003, 02:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: North Carolina
Um, if there is no contract, then your girlfriend is a guest in your landlords house.....not a tenant. And he can give her the boot any time he wants, for any reason.

If she does have a contract that doesn't specifically forbid houseguests, then the landlord can't do anything about it. Esp. since that space is legally 'hers' to do with as she pleases for the duration of the lease. At least, that's the way I see things.
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Old 09-11-2003, 01:12 AM   #8 (permalink)
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But isn't a verbal contract binding? Or is that not applicable to tenancy?

I don't really want to cause problems for my gf, especially since shes in school and working part time--moving to a new apartment is unneccesary stress
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Old 09-11-2003, 02:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: Wales
By the sound of it final notice has been served so the problem has already been caused. You need to find a solution that neutralises this problem for long enough to find her a place with a decent landlord and a proper legal contract. Honestly she'd be better off with a proper landlord.

If their is no contract I wonder if he is declaring this income to the IRS. If he does evict write to the IRS letting them know how much rent you paid out of spite.

I could advise you on UK law which provides lots of reasonable protection for both Landlord and Tennant but unfortunately that is of no use to you.
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