As a tenant, it is completely natural for you to want guests around for family gatherings, birthday parties, movie nights or to simply hang out. But what if your guests concern your landlord, and he wants them out of the property?
As you can imagine, landlords are going to want to protect their properties and ensure the place has a good reputation in the community. So naturally, they might be concerned about guests that may damage their property or bother neighbors. So where do you draw the line?
In this article, I am going to provide a clear and detailed answer to whether a landlord may ban guests from your rental property.
I’ll also cover examples of how different state laws handle this issue, some of the most common reasons why a landlord may ban guests, and the process that a landlord may use to ban a guest when they feel the guest is out of line.
But if you want to know the short answer to the question, it is as follows:
As a general matter, a landlord may not ban guests outright, but may impose limitations on the number of guests allowed and the length of their stay. They will also often require that guests comply with the lease as well as federal, state and local laws while visiting.
Ok, we’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get into it.
The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified legal professional before making any decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.
We may earn commissions from products and services that are purchased or recommended through our website as part of our affiliate partnerships. As an Amazon affiliate, we may earn from qualifying purchases.
Is It Possible for My Landlord to Ban My Guests?
As I mentioned above, landlords generally are not allowed to ban your guests for no legitimate reason. When you rent a property, you should have the right to invite your friends and family from time to time and within reason.
But if you have them basically living with you for months on end, they start to look and feel like a co-tenant and it is not unreasonable for the landlord to feel like they should be treated as such. Your landlord may insist that they sign the lease and officially become one or leave.
Or they may insist that because they have essentially lived in the unit for months, they are no longer just a guest and (if they don’t want to add them as a co-tenant) may require them to leave outright because they are not authorized to be there, especially if they are being disruptive or causing harm to the property.
In many cases, landlords will spell out in their lease what the expectations are around guests, including how many are permitted, and how often and how long they may visit.
Reading your lease should be the first step you take in figuring out whether a landlord may ban guests from your dwelling.
State Laws on Guests
In addition to reviewing your lease agreement, you should also examine your state and local laws regarding guests.
Now, as a general matter, you have a right to quiet enjoyment of your property, which means that your landlord can’t unreasonably hassle you and you have a legitimate right to privacy.
But when you go beyond that and your right to enjoy having guests at your home spills over into the realm of breach of contract or violations of law, it’s a different story.
For example, under the landlord-tenant laws of Virginia, landlords may ban a guest upon written notice to the guest if they violated the terms and conditions of the rental agreement, a local ordinance, or state or federal law.
In California, tenants have the right to entertain guests, but landlords may impose limitations on the number of guests or the length of their stay. For example, if having too many guests violates the law for occupancy limits, that is a legitimate limitation that the landlord may impose. Source.
Of course, other states may be more lenient or more strict.
If you want to learn more about state-specific landlord tenant laws, check out my 50 state compilation of landlord tenant laws here.
If you prefer to have a lawyer assist you, I would try JustAnswer. They boast access to thousands of highly-rated, verified real estate lawyers whom you can connect with via their unlimited chat service.
By clicking the banner below, you can get a one week trial membership for only $5, which you can cancel at any time.
It is important to note that under many state laws, the tenant will be responsible for any damages or liability that was caused by the guest while visiting the tenant.
Common Reasons for Landlords Restricting Guests
A landlord needs to protect the property and probably won’t try to restrict your guests for no reason.
Here are some cases in which the landlord will ban your guests. You will want to keep these in mind to keep your landlord happy and ok with your guest coming over.
Guests Staying Too Long
If your guest is staying for a long time (typically more than two weeks), your landlord might ask that they should be on the lease or leave.
Again, consult your lease and applicable laws on this topic to see exact parameters on how long a guest is allowed to stay in the rental.
Too Many Guests
As mentioned above, a landlord may be concerned if too many guests are staying with you.
Not only may this violate legal occupancy maximums for the unit, it may cause additional wear and tear on the rental, which the landlord did not agree to when they signed you to the lease.
Guests Are Disruptive to Neighbors
If your guests are rowdy or are otherwise disruptive to your neighbors, your landlord may come down on that activity.
You’re allowed to have parties or gathering at your rented property within reason, but you will often be restricted on the number of guests. This is due to safety concerns because packing a residence too tight may result in a fire hazard or other risk of harm.
Even if you are not having parties, if your guest is creating significant disturbance to the neighboring folks around you, that may be cause for your landlord to insist they leave.
So make sure your guests are respectful and behaving in a way that will keep harmony in the neighborhood.
Guests Are Engaging in Illegal Activity
If your guest is doing any illegal activity on the rental property, like doing drugs, violence, or storing stolen goods, your landlord has a legitimate right to require that guest to leave their rental unit.
Hard to argue with that, right?
Guests Are Damaging the Property or Breaching the Lease
Another common reason why landlords may want a guest to leave is they are causing harm to the property.
If the guest (or even their pet) is constantly breaking or damaging things around the house, like appliances, walls, flooring or other items around the home, landlords will definitely be highly incentivized to get that reckless guest out of the house.
In addition, if the guest is constantly violating the terms of the lease, that is another reason why they may want to guest out.
Also, as I touched on earlier, if your authorized guest is breaching the lease, your landlord may hold you responsible for it. So you definitely want to make sure your guest understands the ground rules around their stay.
How Can My Landlord Restrict My Guest From the Property?
If your landlord has evidence that your guest is violating the lease or breaking laws, they may have several options, depending on the applicable state or local rules.
They may issue a notice to the guest that they are banned from the property (like in Virginia). Other states may allow the landlord to take more drastic actions, which may include contacting law enforcement.
Furthermore, if you refuse your landlord’s legitimate request to remove the guest from the property, the landlord might file an eviction case against you. If you are confronted with this situation, you may want to contact a lawyer to help your navigate your lease and applicable laws.
So there you have it – a clear answer to whether your landlord can ban guests from your rental property.
To recap, you have the right to quiet enjoyment and may have guests within reason. But your landlord may impose restrictions on occupancy and length of stay in the lease, so you should be mindful of those limitations.
Hope this has been helpful and happy renting!