How to Deal With Unauthorized Occupants | St. Louis Landlord Handbook - Article Banner

Unauthorized occupants are the ones who have not legally rented the property but continue to occupy the space. It could be a subletter, family members of guests staying for an extended period of time, or even squatters.

Dealing with such unauthorized occupants will be the worst scenario you will ever face as a landlord. They can harm your property and cause you severe financial distress.

Here are a few tips that can help you deal with these unlisted occupants in your St. Louis rental property

Communicate With Your St. Louis Tenants

If you discover that your tenants have allowed the guests to stay in your rental without your knowledge, you must thoroughly investigate the situation. Talk to your tenants, ask them about the number of guests, how long they have been living, the reasons behind their stay, and if they are staying temporarily or want to share the accommodation. 

If tenants hide something or deny answering your questions, remind them of their commitments, read a clause on long-term guests or unauthorized tenants to them, and enforce the lease with the necessary steps.

Send A Fix Or Quit Notice

After identifying unauthorized occupants, you will want them to leave your property or add them to a lease agreement. But if the tenants don’t respond to your request and continue to keep their guests, you send them a three-day Fix or Quit notice. It will serve as proof of your written request to your tenants about removing unauthorized visitors from your rental within a specific period. Make sure to understand the law and eviction rules in your state before taking any step. 

Initiate The Eviction Process

If the occupants fail to vacate the property even after your verbal and written requests, it is time to take a firm step, i.e., eviction. However, make sure you understand the eviction process in your state and city thoroughly, before initiating one. Hire a lawyer or property manager to guide you through the situation. As mentioned above, the clauses on unauthorized occupants in your lease agreement will be your defense here. You can also file a complaint against tenants for violating the lease agreement. 

Build A Better Landlord-tenant Relationship And Follow Through

A good way to avoid unauthorized occupants in your St. Louis rental is to establish a healthy relationship with your tenants and communicate your concerns to them. Check on your tenants frequently, ask them if they are facing any problems, and keep a close eye on their visitors or guests.

Keep the communication line open in case of emergencies. It is possible that your tenants are trying to help their friends or relatives by letting them stay in the house. So, before taking direct action, make sure you fully understand the situation.

Create an ‘Unauthorized Tenant And Guest’ Policy

Having a good guest policy will protect you and your property from several liabilities. It will also refrain your tenants from keeping unwanted guests in your rental. Here are a few things you should address in your tenant and guest policy.

  • The occupancy limit

Check the occupancy limit set by the state law and include it in the policy. 

  • The permissible time limit for the houseguests

Decide a guest’s limit tenants can allow in your unit along with the duration of their stay.

  • Define authorized tenants

Determine the criteria for authorized guests. For example, tenants can allow their friends, relatives, coworkers, and family members in the unit. 

Make sure your tenants read all their responsibilities and obligations before they sign. Also, talk about the consequences of breaking the lease or clauses on unwanted guests. Your lease agreement will be your legal support while dealing with unauthorized occupants. 

Owning a rental property is not a cakewalk. It comes with multiple risks and problems, including unauthorized occupants. Therefore, it is necessary to act promptly and logically while dealing with them. Hiring a property management company can help you protect your investment against squatters, unlisted tenants, and occupants. 

Contact Property ManagementContact us at Amoso Properties if you are dealing with a similar situation. We are a leading property management company in St. Louis that offers all types of property management services in the area. Our trained team of property managers can take care of your rental properties, manage your tenants efficiently and help you through all the eviction processes.