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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27619
Experience:  Lawyer
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My apartment complex is asking to see a copy of my visitors'

Customer Question

My apartment complex is asking to see a copy of my visitors' rental agreement to make sure they don't live with me. Is this legal?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your dilemma.

If your lease is just for you or limits the number of nights a visitor can stay over (which is common), then your landlord has a right to ask you to remove any unauthorized guests. If they reasonably believe that a third party is living with you, they can give you a notice to remove that person or vacate, and they can sue for eviction. In court, you'd have the burden of proving that your guest lives elsewhere - and the way to do that would be to show proof that the visitor lives somewhere else.

So, while technically you have a right to refuse to produce that information, it could actually save you a lot of time and trouble with your landlord if you give it to them. The other option is to have your visitor leave or come over less often. I realize that the request feels like an invasion of privacy, but if they're worried about someone unauthorized in the property, showing that the person lives somewhere else really is probably the best way for you to resolve it.

The other option would be to have them sign a request to be added to your lease, if they don't have a separate home.

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
What if I feel that it's racial discrimination?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
My other question would be, if I want to add him to the lease, but he doesn't qualify for whatever reason (proof of income, credit, etc.) and they deny him ... does that mean that I'd have to move out?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

Then you could refuse to provide it, wait to see if they sue for eviction, and then defend based on a Fair Housing Act violation. Note that, when you go to court, you'll still need to have the other rental agreement available in case the judge doesn't find an FHA violation and wants to see it.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
29 August 2016 03:10
My other question would be, if I want to add him to the lease, but he doesn't qualify for whatever reason (proof of income, credit, etc.) and they deny him ... does that mean that I'd have to move out?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

If they deny him (for non-race-based reasons), then you'd have the option of either asking him to leave or breaking the lease and moving out. If you break the lease, you're responsible for rent until a new tenant can be found, so you may want to look into subletting if necessary.

Usually, landlords just want to know who's on their property for liability reasons, so if you qualify for the property on your own, they shouldn't decline him.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

I have to sign off for a bit for an appointment. This unfortunately happens sometimes because experts have no way of knowing how much time customers will need for follow-ups. If you have any more questions go ahead and type them, and, I'm happy to answer them when I return. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
But if I have to move out and break the lease because he doesn't qualify, that seems really unfair. Do you mean they might accept the lease application even though he doesn't qualify.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

I completely understand your point of view. However, the reason it's not considered legally unfair is that you didn't mention him when moving in, and the lease is only for you.

But, yes, they might approve him even if he doesn't qualify, since you qualify on your own. It's not that different than if he applied for a lease and you co-signed.