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Landlord's Right to Ban a Guest

The Fair Housing Act is a federal law prohibiting landlords from engaging in discriminatory practices toward their renters. This law, however, does not address whether a landlord can prohibit guests at a rental housing for any reason.

Can a Landlord Ban Your Guest?

Depending on the language of your written lease terms, your landlord may ban guests from coming to your apartment complex. If your lease outlines terms regarding guests, the landlord has a right to ensure you comply with those terms during your tenancy. A guest who ends up getting the same benefits as a new tenant might result in a lease violation.

Even if the lease has no provisions regarding tenant guests, the landlord may still be able to ban guests from entering the rental property. This is possible if the guest is staying for an extended time or if their stay violates state occupancy laws. Overnight guest stays might also create a nuisance, disturb other tenants, or allow for illegal activities. Guests might loiter in common areas and cause excessive noise. This may bolster the landlord's right to serve an eviction notice against the rental unit.

What Are Your Options?

The law gives tenants the right to quiet enjoyment and privacy of rented real estate. The right to quiet enjoyment means tenants have the right to consider the property they are leasing as their own home. They have a right to invite people and engage in activities that don't violate any other laws, at least for a reasonable period of time.

Tenants also have the right to privacy, meaning the property owner doesn't have the right to intrude or show up to their home unless there is an emergency. After all, entertaining a short-term guest is not the same as subletting. Law-abiding tenants and their social guests have legal rights to the extent their actions are reasonable.

Suppose your landlord or property manager bans a guest or otherwise intrudes on your privacy. Here, you have the option to dispute your landlord's actions. You should, however, be aware that you are responsible for any damage your guests cause to the premises. You must also be very careful to abide by local laws and the terms of your rental agreement.

States Have Different Laws

All states have their own landlord-tenant laws. It is, therefore, very important to keep up to date on your state's laws before inviting guests onto the property you are renting. In some states, you could be forced to vacate and lose your security deposit for unauthorized long-term guests. In others, guests may stay for one month or longer if no prohibitions exist in the rental agreement.

In Virginia, for instance, a landlord can keep your guest out for cause by providing a written notice to the guest. Proper notice must be served, stating why they are not allowed to come onto the property. On the other hand, Kansas gives tenants the right to have guests in their homes for a reasonable period unless agreed to the contrary in the lease agreement.

Additional Resources

An Attorney May Help if Your Landlord Banned Your Guest

Is a landlord unreasonably banning your guests from coming onto your property? Be aware of the legal measures you can take. Talk to a landlord-tenant attorney if you need help taking legal action or want more information on your rights as a tenant.

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Contact a qualified real estate attorney to help you navigate any landlord-tenant issues.

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