Property Management Blog

When Does a Guest Become a Tenant?

System - Monday, January 17, 2022

Whenever a tenant who has signed an agreement with the landlord decides to bring in guests, friends, family, or others, the landlord has no reason to be alarmed.

However, some of these guests stay for an extended period, which raises the question: when does a Colorado guest turn into a tenant?

In this post, we will answer that question and give you insight on how to deal with it.

Difference Between a Guest and a Tenant

Basically, a tenant is a person who has signed a lease agreement with the landlord. On the other hand, a guest is the person who has come to live with the tenant for a specified time and has no responsibilities or legal obligations on the property. The guest has no signed agreement with the owner of the rental unit.

It is important to note that the time a guest is expected to stay at a tenant's place is usually dependent on the lease agreement signed by the tenant. This means that the maximum time the tenant is expected to host a guest in their apartment is typically limited.

Therefore, if anything happens to the rental, the tenant is responsible – even if the guest is to blame. 

When Does a Guest Become a Tenant?

You may be wondering: how long does a guest have to stay in the rental to be considered a tenant?

Agreements between the landlord and the tenant mostly state that a guest is allowed to stay for a period of 10 – 14 days in a six-month period or 5 – 7 days at a time. A more extended period might suggest that the guest is becoming a tenant.

Therefore, as a landlord, you should think about how much time your guest is staying in your rental. If a guest wants to spend more time than the time on the lease agreement, the guest can opt to sign a temporary house guest agreement with the landlord.

In that case, the guest is still not considered a tenant, but they can be held liable for any damages within the unit.

single family home

Another option that the tenant has is to sign a long-term guest agreement that states that the guest can stay legally at the rental with the tenant, but is also liable for paying charges and maintenance.

Although the contract allows them to stay longer, they do not cease being guests. When the tenant is evicted or decides to leave the rental unit, the long-term guest is also expected to leave the unit.

How to Identify a Guest Who is Turning into a Tenant

It is usually a pretty challenging task for the owner of the property to identify a guest who has overstayed in a tenant’s unit. However, there are common signs that a landlord can look out for.

Here are some things you should look for:

1. The Guest Starts Receiving Mail at the Rental

Whenever a guest changes their original address to the property’s address, it is no question that they have an established stay in that unit.  

2. The Guest Starts Paying Rent 

When a guest starts paying rent, they are turning into tenants. As the landlord, you need to put them on lease as quickly as possible. You are not supposed to receive any form of payment from anyone else other than the tenants on the lease.

3. The Guest Starts Moving in Their Personal Belongings

In a scenario where a guest moves into a tenant's house with their belongings, then the landlord has every right to treat them as a tenant.

Personal belongings include furniture, pets, electronics and more.

moving belongings into home

4. The Guest Frequently Spends the Night at the Rental 

A guest may be slowly turning into a tenant if they’re spending many nights at the rental unit. 

Can the Owner Evict a Guest?

Yes. As the property owner, you have every right to evict a guest who has overstayed the period expected and abused their rights as stipulated in the lease agreement with the tenant.

However, discussing the matter with the tenant should be a top priority.

Once you speak to the tenants, the next step should be to reach a mutual agreement and add the guest to the lease. Finally, you should explain to both the tenant and the guest the changes that have occurred and your new expectations.

If the tenants or the guest give you problems, you can consider evicting both the tenant and the guest.

tenant and guest eviction


It is important to note that you have every right to inspect a unit the moment you realize or suspect the presence of a guest who has overstayed based on the lease agreement. In addition, you have the right to evict the tenant and the guest or simply add the guest to the lease agreement.

However, these actions must be legally executed as per the lease agreement and provisions of the law.

Having a reputable and experienced property manager from the start can help you avoid such scenarios. Rely on the services of Onsite Property Management, the leading property management company in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado. 

Contact us today for more information. 

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