Can Someone Live With You Without Being On The Lease? If you’re about to sign a lease, you could be wondering if everyone in your household needs to be named on the lease. Or you may already be living in a rental and want to have a friend, roommate, parent, or partner move in with you.
Another common situation that causes renters to ask, Can I Live In An Apartment Without Being on The Lease?, is when children in the home become adults at 18, or when children living away at college return for the summer break.
Let’s get some answers.
Can Someone Live With You Without Being On The Lease?
Does Everyone Living in an Apartment Have to Be on the Lease? It’s not illegal for someone to move in with you without being on the lease, but you could still run into trouble with your landlord. Whether someone can live with you without being on the lease depends on several factors:
- The terms of your lease
- The person’s relationship with you
- The person’s age
- How long they will stay with you
If an adult needs to add to the lease, they will have to fill out an application and will usually go through a background check. Landlords may also require minors to be named on the lease as occupants.
Check The Terms Of Your Lease
Your lease is the only document able to give you a definitive answer on whether someone can live with you without being named on the lease.
If you don’t understand the terms of your current lease, or the new lease you’re about to sign, ask your landlord or property manager to go through your lease with you and explain things.
Most leases will contain terms stating that all adults living at the property need to be included in the lease, either as a co-tenant or an occupier.
What’s the difference between a co-tenant and an occupier?
An occupier isn’t responsible for paying the rent, for the cost of property damage, or for other legal issues that occur, whereas a co-tenant has equal responsibility with the other tenants on the lease.
Your lease might also specify that you can only add family members to the lease. If this is the case, you won’t be able to have a roommate.
Sometimes a lease will specify a rent increase if another person moves in.
Read Also: Can I add a Felon to my lease?
What Does It Mean To “Live” In A Rental Property?
Landlords consider someone to be living in a rental unit when the individual:
- Has a key to the property
- Stays in the property longer than the period specified for guests
- Receives mail at the address
Landlords have to follow state law. Some states specify the period after which a guest gains tenants’ rights, while others recognize the freedom of the landlord to set the length of their guest policy.
Once a guest has stayed at a property longer than the permitted guest period, they are “living” at the property. If the terms of the lease state that all adults living at the property must be on the lease, then anyone wishing to remain in residence should fill out a lease application before the guest period runs out.
Guest Or Tenant? State By State Laws
Someone staying with you as a guest may acquire the rights of a tenant after a certain period. However, they will be an unauthorized tenant and subject to eviction. You could also be at risk of eviction if you violated the terms of your lease.
All states, except those listed below, follow the guest terms set by the landlord in the lease agreement.
Read Also: Apartments that work with evictions
These States Specify When Guest Are Considered Tenants:
- Alabama – After 30 days
- Arizona – After 29 days
- California – More than 14 days in a 6-month period or 7 consecutive nights
- Colorado – More than 2 weeks in a 6 month period
- Connecticut – More than 2 weeks in a 6 month period
- Florida – More than 14 days in 6 months or 7 consecutive nights
- Georgia – When the guest contributes towards rent, does chores, or their stay is accepted by the landlord even though no lease agreement has been signed.
- Illinois – If the guest establishes residency by receiving mail at the property or by registering the address on their ID or driving license.
- Indiana – After 30 days
- Kansas – After 30 days or the period specified in the lease
- Maine – After 10 – 14 days in a 6-month period
- Maryland – When a guest pays rent or exchanges services in place of rent
- Minnesota – When the guest pays rent, has the landlord’s permission to live at the property, or exchanges services for rent.
- Mississippi – If the guest pays rent
- Missouri – After more than 2 weeks in a 12-month period, or after a stay of 30 days
- Montana – After 7 days if the guest period isn’t specified in the lease
- New York – After 30 days
- North Carolina – After 2 weeks
- Ohio – After 30 days
- Oregon – After 14 days in a 6-month period
- Pennsylvania – After 30 days or when paying rent
- Texas – If the guest uses the property as their mailing address or contributes to rent or utilities they gain the rights of a tenant
Let’s take a closer look at Texas in case there’s any confusion. Can someone live in my apartment without being on the lease in Texas? Texas doesn’t have any special provision which allows tenants to have long-term guests and ignore the terms of the lease they signed.
As you can see from the above list, in Texas, if a person staying at your home contributes to the rent or utilities, or uses the property as their mailing address, they gain the rights of a tenant.
But because the tenancy is unauthorized, the landlord can evict the unapproved tenant and they can also evict the legal tenant because they violated the lease by letting a guest overstay.
Do Children Need To Be On The Lease?
As minors, children can’t sign a lease. Landlords can require all children living in the household to be named on the lease, though, if state law allows it.
Landlords can’t discriminate against families with children, but they will need to know how many children are living at a rental so they don’t violate federal or local occupancy limits.
When your children turn 18, you’ll usually need to add them to your lease as an occupant, although your lease could specify that children reaching adulthood can be added at the next lease renewal instead.
If your young adult won’t be living with you full time because they’re heading off to college, they will still need to add to your lease if they’re going to spend their breaks with you and those periods exceed the permitted stay for guests.
Talk to your landlord before your child turns 18, so you know what you need to do. It shouldn’t be necessary for them to pass a background or credit check.
Can My Boyfriend Live With Me Without Being On The Lease?
It’s a common situation. You’re ready to move in together, but you know your partner won’t pass the landlord’s background check or credit check. Or maybe you just don’t want them on the lease in case you break up.
You’re left wondering, can my boyfriend live with me without being on the lease, and will I get into trouble if my landlord finds out?
Some landlords allow other adults to move in as named occupants on the lease. Occupants don’t need to sign the lease, but many landlords will still want to run a background check.
Other landlords insist that all adults living at the property sign the lease.
If your partner is going to contribute to the rent, it’s in your interest for them to be on the lease so they have a contractual obligation to pay the rent and are liable for any damage to the property.
There’s also the affordability aspect to consider. If you need your partner’s income to be taken into account to meet the minimum income requirement, then you can’t hide him from the landlord.
Can I Be Evicted For Having Someone Live With Me?
You’re only at risk of eviction if you violate the terms of your lease.
If the lease you signed says everyone living in the property must be on the lease and you allow someone to live with you without following the process to add them to the lease, then your landlord can take steps to evict you.
Of course, your landlord could choose to give you the opportunity to fix the situation by telling your guest to leave or by having your overstaying guest fill out a lease application.
Eviction shouldn’t be taken lightly and can have significant long-term consequences.
If your lease doesn’t contain any conditions about who can live in the property, then your landlord won’t have any grounds to evict you because you aren’t violating the lease.
Yes, someone can live with you without being on the lease, but only if your lease allows it. If you allow another person to move in without the approval of your landlord, you’ll violate the terms of your lease and could face eviction.
When children in your household become adults at 18, most landlords will expect you to add them to the lease as soon as possible or when your lease is up for renewal.
Charles Greg is the Co-Founder, Author, & Head Developer behind RentingtoFelons.org
With a lifelong passion for humanity.