With inmate releases, pandemic-related job loss, and a potential wave of evictions on the horizon, we’ll likely see larger numbers of people choosing to cohabitate. What does this mean for you as a property manager or landlord? There’s a good chance one of your tenants may ask you to consider allowing them to have a roommate. While you may have been willing to accept a friendly referral in the past, times have changed. In an ever-evolving environment and economy, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Treat roommates like you would any tenant
If you allow subletting, there are a couple of things you should require. First, the subtenant should be added to the lease. If your original tenant moves out, and the roommate stays at the property, having their name on the lease will ensure that they are still legally liable for their share of the rent. Remember, the lease must be signed by all parties to make it enforceable.
Additionally, occupants who haven’t signed the lease likely haven’t read it. If they don’t know the rules, it’s harder to follow them. The best way to make sure they understand the stipulation of the lease is to go over with them in person. This will allow you to clarify anything they’re unclear on.
Secondly, you should treat the subtenant like any applicant and conduct a roommate background check. Regardless of their association with your tenant, it’s essential to know whether the subletter is responsible and reliable. Although it’s unlikely, the roommate may be trying to hide a bad rental history by moving in with someone else.
You may also want to review your guest policy. Not all roommates start off that way; some of them may be long-term guests who decide to officially move in. Your lease should have a standard for when a long-term guest is required to undergo a roommate screening and sign the lease agreement, otherwise, they could slip under the radar.
Protect your investment
Whether you’re dealing with regular tenants or a roommate situation, having a thorough, consistent screening process is one of the best ways for you to protect your property. Screening helps you minimize your risk of late or non-payment of rent, evictions, and property damage.
While conducting background and credit checks can be time-consuming to do on your own, our tenant screening services make it easy and convenient. Our RentalConnect service allows you to select the level of reports you need while deferring the cost to the applicant. There are no on-site visits or membership fees, and it’s available online 24/7. Get the information you need to make an informed decision. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-800-523-2381, or send us a message through our online form.
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