Why do landlords care how many people live in a place that’s for rent?
Its been a loooong time since my family rented, so my knowledge may be out of date here, but my idea about landlords caring is reinforced by a few things over the years, one of which was a Family Guy cutaway joke. I can’t check youtube right now, but here’s the script:
Landlord:** Hey Mexican Superman, could I talk to you for a sec? When you signed the lease, you said there was gonna be like five of you living here? Mexican Superman: Oh no, they’re not all living here - they’re just visiting. Mexican Batman: Hey, Mexican Superman. I got the keys made! Mexican Superman: Mexican Batman, get out of here! Mexican Batman: What? I got like sixty keys. Mexican Superman (in Spanish): Silencio! Jefe aquí! Mexican Batman (in Spanish): Qué? Mexican Superman (in Spanish): Evicion!
So if things like utilities are paid for my the renter, why do landlords care how many people live there? Sure, its more wear and tear on the house, but as long as its paid for for, what’s the big deal?
Problems can include zoning, parking, traffic, noise, damage to the house and yard, not knowing who exactly is in your rented house, and simply following your landlord’s instructions (if they’re lying about this, what else are they up to in your rented space?).
Local regulations on maximum occupancy per unit, per unit of square footage, or other unit of measure.
Capacity of the plumbing to handle waste. Especially where septic systems are still in use.
Capacity of the plumbing to deliver hot water.
Capacity of the plumbing to deliver water period - most often a factor where a well is involved.
Complaints from neighbors about overflow of vehicles from the unit’s parking area to other parking areas.
Noise complaints from neighbors.
Tenants that cause damage need to pay for it. The more people the more damage. The more damage the more cost to repair, but collecting damages in excess of the security deposit may be near impossible.
I’ve worked for landlords repairing the damage done by bad tenants. It can be appalling, and run into tens of thousands for really bad cases. Overloading the capacity of the unit just makes such situations more likely.
Assuming we’re not talking about an apartment then, a regular house should be well insulated from the water problem. Nobody else would be complaining about not enough hot water, and if your own roommates can’t get enough, well then its your fault. Same if too many shits clog the toilet. And street parking, assuming a house again, is free and the streets are owned by the government, I don’t see how that’s the landlord’s problem if there’s a lot of cars.
But I didn’t know about the occupancy thing though.
I used to own and rent a duplex, and you bet we cared about the water problem. It was worse because the hot water was all on one meter, so we paid the bill (and of course accounted for that in setting the rent). But we bitched about it when we found out that the tenant’s brother-in-law was coming to our house to do his laundry because it was “free.” Similarly, my husband almost blew a gasket when he found out that they were leaving windows open all over the house with the heat running because we were paying the oil bill.
You do know that you just said, “Sure you’ll be losing money and making work for yourself, but why not?” Right?
Deliberate damage, you can deduct from the deposit. Wear and tear, not so much.
A regular house does not have it’s own dedicated pipe running from the water treatment plant. Houses are served by laterals that come from main lines, making a network of water users with nearby houses. Overuse, expecially if it starts happening in multiple houses, can cause the water pressure for the whole neighborhood to drop.
Likewise, the sewer mains were only designed to carry a given volume. It might not be your house that the shit backs up into.
And when one house takes up all the street parking on an entire block, the quality of life goes down for everyone. And when property values go down, municipal revenue goes down. That’s why there’s such a thing as zoning and why every city has Municipal Codes. And why the fines are big enough to notice.
If a landlord wants to rent to 20 unrelated guys, he’d need to build separate units in an area zoned for High-Density Residential, and he’d pay higher property taxes to cover the increased city services his properties would be using.
The increased services include additional street repair, police, fire, parks, library, animal control, added traffic signals, and more.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all if there were local regulations about how many people can occupy a house, too. I can’t imagine that you can just cram a house as full as it can get with people and have it be okay with city bylaws. Okay, doing a quick Google search, there are indeed regulations governing how many people can occupy how much square feet.
Sure it makes sense to not want to have dozens of people in a small apartment, but I had an apartment before where the lease specified that only the people listed on the lease (i.e. just me) could live in the apartment, and that I couldn’t have overnight visitors for more than a couple days in each month (IIRC). I was in my mid-twenties renting a one-bedroom apartment in a big apartment building owned by a management company that owns many properties. I’m pretty sure most of the tenants in the building ignored that section of their lease. I mean really - how many single twenty-somethings are going to tell their boyfriend he can only stay over two nights in a month. And who would even keep track of it? There weren’t many visitor parking stalls and parking overnight all the time would become obvious, but you could always park on the street nearby.
The apartment manager who lived on site and handled rent payments and maintenance told me that she basically ignored that rule. She said that as long as the person on the lease was able to pay the rent every month and not destroy the place, she didn’t care if you have regular overnight visitors, or even someone basically moving in with you for long periods. Of course, if you invited 20 people to crash on your living room floor, that would have been a issue that would likely lead to eviction.
I also doubt virtually any landlord actually cares about the specific number of days their tenant lets people sleep over at their house. I suspect leases are written that way so that when in an eviction hearing, Waenara can’t innocently claim her boyfriend doesn’t live with her, he lives with his mom but sleeps over often. The lease says he can’t sleep there more than a few days a month so it’s not a question of where he lives.
In my experience as a reluctant landlord of 3 single family homes, we’re a very skittish people. We don’t like to try new things that offer the theoretical but unproven benefit of being totally copacetic while also weird and unusual.
Say you have a 3 bedroom 1.5 bath house rented to a young 2-income couple with 2 kids. One is a teacher and one is a plumber and they’re saving up to buy their first home within a few years. They obviously don’t have a lot of assets but they’re saving up and can easily make their rent payments.
Now imagine they invite 5 unrelated adults to live with them.
I don’t know about anyone else but it’s hard for me to imagine that scenario and I’ve never experienced it in reality.
I have experienced tenants who get hit by a layoff or other unexpected hardship and can’t make rent and all of a sudden there’s a bunch of people living in my house making it dirty and nasty and invariably the rent stops coming anyway. Even though the rent per person would be a few hundred dollars, they don’t pay it.
So the short answer is that I brazenly discriminate against all the totally normal financially responsible people who want to live with a half dozen adults in a 2 bedroom house just so I can weed out the few bad apples who would trash my houses and not pay my rent.
Ok, I think I see what I was missing from my OP. I’ve never been a renter in my adult life or a rentee, so I didn’t know such problems exist. I always thought that rentals worked a certain way but maybe I should have said instead that I always hoped rentals should work a way.
To me, it makes sense that if a renter rents a property, then that’s his property. If he wants to leave it deserted or shove 50 people in there, the property doesn’t change. I thought that as long as the bills were paid, then the landlord shouldn’t have much say on what exactly goes on in the property (illegalities aside of course). In reality I guess it doesn’t really work that way
Well my point that I was trying to convey wasn’t that I wouldn’t mind. I certainly would, but I would think that as a neighbor, you don’t really have much say and in fact should not have much say in what goes on in your neighbors property. To respond to a couple of issues raised here, with regards to parking, the streets are city property. It might be annoying that you can’t park in front of your home, but its not yours so you need to get over it. With regards to the plumbing, it shouldn’t matter if it plugs up or overflows as long as problems like that are paid for and fixed by the renter. Things like security deposits can be modified to a sliding scale figuring the number of people live there, so while I think the landlord doesn’t (in this scenario) have a right to dictate how many people live there, he should know how many in order to adjust the security deposit accordingly
OBVIOUSLY you’ve never lived with a septic tank before!
Waste enters the septic tank, breaks down, and then drains away. Too much waste overwhelms this process, and it all backs up…where? Why, in the house, of course!
We had a two bedroom house we rented. A lady and her grandson were supposed to be the only tenants. HAH. She moved in half the universe. Little kids got up in the crawl space and played around, until they came crashing through the living room ceiling. The older kids took lawn chairs up to the roof and sat there on summer evenings. This knocked off all the shingles. God knows what they were doing in the bathroom when they knocked the sink off the wall.
When they finally overwhelmed the septic tank, we told them THEY had to pay to pump it. Instead of doing that, they disconnected the kitchen sink drain pipe, and let it drain into a five gallon bucket. The bucket overflowed so many times, the kitchen floor was a lake. The flooring AND the subflooring were completely destroyed.
There was a helluva lot MORE damage, but already I’m sick from the reawakened memory. I need to take a Xanax and go lay down for a bit.
Creating conflict in neighbourhoods is never a good thing, it makes everybody’s life suck, and usually only escalates.
If they use all the available street parking where are visitors, etc, going to park when coming to visit the others living on that street? They just don’t get any additional available parking because the house full, is using it a full time parking. That’s not fair to any one.
Who is going to be a landlord if you don’t even have the right to limit the number of people living in your unit? Pretty soon rental housing will dry up.
Without limits, any renter could turn any house into a flophouse, with 30 people sleeping on floors. Unless you’d like to see that beside your house, I don’t think it’s reasonable to make anyone else.
And, in reality, being told the number of tenants (to adjust the deposit), is really going to be used to eliminate those the landlord considers too many. So you end up in the same place.
I know this is a hijack, but really? You went straight from living with your family to buying a house? How did that work?
No, it is always the landlord’s property. The renter gets to use it under certain terms, laid out by the contract.
But if renters get to be a nuisance in the neighborhood, it is really still the landlord’s problem. The landlord will in all likelihood own the property for an extended period of time, and the landlord will probably getting as many calls as the renters about noise, parking disputes, trash issues, and other things. The landlord still owns the property and most people would think he has as much interest in being a good neighbor as would a homeowner.
That’s not how it works, though. What happens in real life is someone rents a place for $x/month and pays $y security deposit. Then they move in all their friends without the landlord knowing. The whole reason people try to do this to make it cheaper for everyone. In the scenario you’re proposing, no one would be able to afford to rent because landlords would set their rental price and security deposit based on a worst-case-scenario where there’s always a possiblity that your house will be ruined by too many people living there.
Renting and having roommates can be a major pain in the ass because you’re sharing limited living space. Tenants who move extra people in are making a sacrifice in order to save money. Why would they negatively impact their situation without a cost savings in return?