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Old Jan 05, 2008, 04:52 AM
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Rant
Definition of Occupant (in terms of renting)

This is a bit of a vent - sorry - but I also have an important question imbedded in the venting.

Ok having a bit of a problem with my gf's 'room mate.' I should start with a brief description of the living situation. There are 5 people living in a house, 5 bedroom 5 bath(all 'master' bedrooms). The last few weeks I have been spending the night there a lot for various reasons, including her needing a ride to work at 7am while she was without her car. The roommate who is the daughter of the owner, told my gf that I can no longer stay over there. I will go into the reasoning if needed but my main question is what exactly does it mean by occupant because the rental agreement gives no description.

Here is my situation: I am NEVER there without my gf. I do not have a key. None of my possessions are in the house or gf's room unless I bring them over(and take them with me when I leave). I am there a few times a week and often stay the night if I come over because she lives ~12 miles away and we often only see each other late at night(work and school). Part of the psuedo landlord/control freak's argument is that the rental agreement say that there is 1 occupant. What exactly is the definition of an occupant(Please don't quote me dictionary.com, I know that one) as it applies to renters and is there any rule about being allowed visitors?

Most likely it is time for her to move out. It is just a pain in the arse that it had to come down to this, she has been living there for 2-3 years and has never caused a problem. Everyone who I have talked to about this thinks that the 'roommate' is psychotic and that it is absurd to not allow people to stay the night in a room you are renting.
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Old Jan 05, 2008, 05:17 AM
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I don't see where you really have a case. Each person who overnights in the house is an occupant. Since the agreement specified a single occupant, and when you stay over that makes two, you are in violation of the agreement.

Futhermore, many localities won't let more than 5 non-related people rent a single family home. So you're probably in violation of that statue as well.

Let me put it this way. If it's OK for you to overnight there, then it's OK for each of the original 5 renters to each have overnighters and there be 10 total occupants in the house. Do you see how this could get out of hand?
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Old Jan 05, 2008, 10:51 AM
Out of Time
United States, TX
Joined Jul 2003
1,092 Posts
Yup, once you sleep there overnight, you are an "occupant".

That's it; done deal.

And the landlord has every right to evict the person who is responsible for allowing you to stay there, in this case, your girlfriend.

HF
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Old Jan 05, 2008, 11:04 AM
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wrightme's Avatar
Fallon, NV
Joined Mar 2007
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A guest CAN sleep overnight. If you have visitors from out of town, are you required by your rental agreement to make them acquire a hotel or motel room? If not, you have a case.

Either way the issue resolves, my advice to her is to MOVE. It is obvious that the living arrangement has provided enough animosity to cause other occupants to complain.
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Old Jan 05, 2008, 11:30 AM
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omega blood's Avatar
Fullerton, California, United States
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http://www.answers.com/topic/occupant?cat=biz-fin
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/occupant

occupant n. 1) someone living in a residence or using premises, as a tenant or owner. 2) a person who takes possession of real property or a thing which has no known owner, intending to gain ownership
(from the second link)

By the above definition you are neither tenant nor owner hence you are not an occupant. But I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one on TV. I would read the rental agreement. It should say whether your GF (the occupant)can have overnight guests and for how long and for how often.
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Old Jan 05, 2008, 05:04 PM
Go get them Meg!
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Cabin 21...
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Landlords can generally specify the length of time a guest of a tenant can stay without being considered an occupant, at least in California.
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Old Jan 05, 2008, 05:13 PM
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Oklahoma City OK USA Where fakts still exist even if they are ignored
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You need to go to the law library and see what your state's landlord/tenant laws say wrt the definitions of what you are talking about.

Have any of the other 3 tennants had boy friends or girlfriends for that matter sleep over? Where they asked to leave? If not you've got a big discrimination issue on your hands, that or selective enforcement.

And before she leaves what are the lease termination clauses?
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Old Jan 05, 2008, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Majortomski
You need to go to the law library and see what your state's landlord/tenant laws say wrt the definitions of what you are talking about.

And before she leaves what are the lease termination clauses?
Either party can terminate the lease(it is month to month). This will not be an issue of whether or not she is following the lease agreement - this is an issue of whether or she can find reason to not have me be at the house because she does not like me. Last night as I put on my shoes to leave the psuedo landlord came just about running out of her room and said to me in a very y tone

"What are you doing here?"

I replied "I am getting ready to go home"

Her "Good. I am really tired."

Me: "I am too, but now I will have to drive home tired."

Her: "Good."

[
Quote:
B]Have any of the other 3 tennants had boy friends or girlfriends for that matter sleep over? [/B] Where they asked to leave? If not you've got a big discrimination issue on your hands, that or selective enforcement.
Yes, 2 other roomates had people(assuming bf's/gf's or just 1 or 2 week flings) stay over. None of them were told they could not do so. I am from out of town, I do not live in Seattle, and the lease agreement says absolutely nothing about finding hotel or other arragements for guests. It also does NOT define an occupant as being someone who is at the house between certain hours or anything of the sort. There is also no guidelines as to how long or how often a guest can stay.
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Old Jan 05, 2008, 07:33 PM
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I found an awesome answer to this question, the only problem is that it is not from the United States, it is Canadian I believe:

Quote:
Q: Can you please provide me with a definition of an occupant as opposed to an overnight guest. I am a tenant on a month by month rental agreement with my landlord. I am the only one named on the lease. Recently, my girlfriend has been staying over more frequently (approx. 3-4x/wk) . She maintains her own residence and has not moved any possessions to my place. However, my landlord, who lives downstairs, wishes to increase my rent claiming she is a new occupant. I maintain she is an overnight guest and no increase is warranted. There was no provision for additional occupants on the original lease. I feel confident in my position and would feel silly if this went to arbitration but the act doesn't define occupancy or unreasonable number of occupants.

A: Section 30 of the Act states: 'the landlord must not restrict access to residential property by . (b) a person permitted on the residential property by that tenant. This means that the landlord cannot restrict who the tenant may have as a guest and he cannot restrict visitors to certain hours, days, etc. Neither can the landlord restrict who the tenant may have as an overnight guest.

If your landlord thinks you've moved in a permanent tenant / occupant it should be easy enough for you to show she isn't. If your landlord isn't persuaded he could move against you under section 47(h) which would be an argument that it is a material term of the tenancy agreement that x number of people were to live in the rental premises and now there are x plus 1, and moving in the extra person is so serious that it puts the kibosh on the whole tenancy.

As for the increase in rent thing - rent increases require notice periods, formulas, and government paperwork. Landlords can't just up the rent when they feel like it or because they think they can get away with it they must go through the hoops like everybody else in this world. Charging extra for guests is something that hostels, campgrounds and hotels might do but any authority to charge extra for guests isn't found in the Residential Tenancy Act of BC.
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Old Jan 05, 2008, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrsudog
Landlords can generally specify the length of time a guest of a tenant can stay without being considered an occupant, at least in California.
It should say in the rental agreement.

For example if it says in writing "no overnight guests" then you are screwed.
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Old Jan 05, 2008, 08:57 PM
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I specialized in leasing for several years. HF is 100% correct.

The intent of the parties was clearly for one person per room, and that each of those persons would be a party to the lease/rental agreement. The real issue is the other tenants are annoyed with your staying over. As they pay rent , and you do not, they have a right to be annoyed.

Technically your behavior easily meets the definition of interfering with their "quiet enjoyment" of the premises. That gives you the legal status of "nuisance", congratulations. Especially since this is gone on "for weeks". Frankly your assertion that they are in the wrong is outrageous. Your behavior is outrageous.

The other renters have cause for action against your gf for permitting disruption of their quiet enjoyment of the property. They could also sue the lessor demanding your eviction.

I agree your gf should move out. Clearly she cannot comprehend her rights, the rights of others, and the obligations of the parties.
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Last edited by 4 Scale; Jan 05, 2008 at 09:03 PM.
Old Jan 05, 2008, 10:29 PM
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United States, AR, McDougal
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Just have her move in with you, and pay you er-rent,




Tom
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Old Jan 06, 2008, 01:29 AM
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Do you live at home Kurpal?
Seems you two would benefit from having a place of your own.

I never liked it much when I roomed with friends if they had their mates over every night.

Why not offer to spit the rent 6 ways so everyone benefits?
Or would they not agree to that?
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Old Jan 06, 2008, 01:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Smith
I specialized in leasing for several years. HF is 100% correct.

The intent of the parties was clearly for one person per room, and that each of those persons would be a party to the lease/rental agreement. The real issue is the other tenants are annoyed with your staying over. As they pay rent , and you do not, they have a right to be annoyed.

Technically your behavior easily meets the definition of interfering with their "quiet enjoyment" of the premises. That gives you the legal status of "nuisance", congratulations. Especially since this is gone on "for weeks". Frankly your assertion that they are in the wrong is outrageous. Your behavior is outrageous.

The other renters have cause for action against your gf for permitting disruption of their quiet enjoyment of the property. They could also sue the lessor demanding your eviction.

I agree your gf should move out. Clearly she cannot comprehend her rights, the rights of others, and the obligations of the parties.
Actually the other renters do not have a problem with me - at all. I get along great with them. On the other hand the other renters think that the daughter of the owner is a complete bitch. Infact everyone who has ever lived in that house hates her with a passion. The only problem is, you cannot exactly kick out the owner's daughter. Actually come to think of it, the daughter, the only one who has a problem with me does not pay rent either.

What exactly is it that defines me as an occupant? I do NOT live there. I may stay there at most 2 nights a week. Again, I do not have a key, I am never there when she is not. If a guest comes over and that alone makes them an occupant than everyone in that house is in violation of the lease agreement.
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Old Jan 06, 2008, 01:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilbobaker
Do you live at home Kurpal?
Seems you two would benefit from having a place of your own.

I never liked it much when I roomed with friends if they had their mates over every night.

Why not offer to spit the rent 6 ways so everyone benefits?
Or would they not agree to that?
That would be a terrible deal for me - I don't live there and never intend to. I come over to hang out with my gf because she lives there. There is nothing in the lease agreement that says occupants are not allowed to have friends, and nothing in the agreement that says occupants friends are not allowed on the premises.
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