seeking opinions on policy re roommate/boarder overnight guests

Here’s the deal: We rent a 3-bedroom house, 2 bath house. About six months ago, with the consent of our landlord, we decided to sublet one of the rooms because we’re in a tough spot financially. In the craigslist posting we specified no drugs and no overnight guests. The main reason for the latter is that we have a one-year-old baby. The other reasons, I suppose, are that we don’t want some sort of swinging door situation where random people are spending the night. Our renter is a good guy, a college student who is, on the whole, fairly serious, if a little immature (actually, I think he just acts his age, about 22) and he pays the rent on time.

Yesterday he told us his friend was “stranded” and so was going to hang out at the house for awhile. They stayed in his room with the music loud. It was kind of funny because we have never said “no guests at all,” but I think he felt like he needed to make up an explanation for her presence. Anyway, they obviously had a scripted conversation about her not being stranded anymore when she was leaving and it seemed obvious that it was a hook-up. She seemed nice and normal enough.

Tonight we realize he has snuck her into his room and she’s obviously going to spend the night. I’m not overly concerned, I don’t think she’s a threat to anyone’s safety, and I think in some ways it might be unrealistic to expect that a college student is NEVER going to have overnight guests.

My husband is concerned that if we allow the overnight guest situation, we would be opening ourselves up to random people. We would both be more comfortable if we thought this girl was going to be the only one. We will definitely be bringing it up because the sneaking someone into the house is a no-go – if there are going to be people staying overnight in the house it needs to be known and OK with all concerned.

As far as hard economics go, we had a lot of responses to our ad (the house is nice enough, the room has a separate entrance, he has sole use of a bathroom, and the rent is pretty cheap) and it probably wouldn’t be that hard to find another renter, but we don’t want to do that – we like him, we think he likes us, and we hope we can work it out to the satisfaction of all parties.

I’m interested in 1) whether you in this situation would relax the rules, and how much and 2) if not or if so, how you would handle the conversation? Thanks!

I’d be interested in what your sublet agreement specifies.

I’d say that “no overnight guests ever” is going to be pretty difficult for a college student- I knew a few people who had that rule, and it did pose a big problem in their social life and they did end up sneaking people in now and then. Maybe you could have a limited number of guests a month and ask to keep their ID for the duration of their stay?

I think I’d opt for a variation on what you just told us–with a small child in the house, you are uncomfortable with a steady stream of unknown folk wandering through his room and your house. And a visitor whom you find out about after the fact is more problematic than one is pre-approved, as it were.

So the staged “stranded” conversation was cute but unneeded, and the sneaking in later unacceptable.

I’m not sure how you give him freedom and privacy and respect your needs for safety and control, but perhaps you can work things out together.

A college student agreed to be roomies with a couple and a baby? What the hell was he thinking? Unless it turns him on, sneaking around on substitute Mom and Dad has got to suck for him, too. Unless there’s a housing shortage, he might be eager to leave without hurting your feelings.

Tell the chap why you’re concerned abt guests, and ask for his co-operation. PRobably allow maybe a set number of nights per month? Then not an issue if you know the lady

I think you need to take a firm stance on this - you said no overnight guests, and you meant it. You have your reasons, but the reason that would be most important to me would be that one night turns into two people living in one room, paying one rent. I’d sit him down and tell him something like, “We know Woman X stayed overnight last night. Our rental agreement was no overnight guests. Please don’t do this again.” You’re not his friends - you’re his landlord.

I think the trade-off for the cheap rent is not being able to have overnight guests.

If he’s 22 then let’s assume (and hope) she’s over 18 and has a place of her own. If she’s in a dorm, then she’s probably paying more than he is for her place and they should stay there. If she has a roommate that’s tough shit. They need to work it out.

Be firm about it or else it will get out of control (says the homeowner who lets her longtime friend live in the basement for cheap, and has had said friend’s girlfriend here EVERY NIGHT since the Friday before Christmas. The girlfriend with her own place and her own teenage daughter. Why is she always heeeeeeeere??)

If you like the guy and want to keep him, and you’re okay with a girlfriend coming over one or two nights a week, then I would change the rules. You could find someone else but there’s always a risk that someone who seems normal will turn out to be a jerk, won’t pay the rent, or just has a personality that grates on you. If you’ve found someone you can deal with then it’s worth it to try to keep them. And if the next person is also a college student then they’re probably also going to sneak in a guest now and again. I’d say what you said here, you’re okay with this one person but it can’t get out of hand, the rules are that it’s no more than 1 night a week, no 2 nights in a row, whatever.

If the guest bothered you then I would enforce the rules. But if you are only concerned about this getting out of hand then I think that’s unlikely enough that it’s worth the risk to keep someone you like.

The downside of enforcing the rule and evicting him is that you could end up with a new renter who entertains a steady series of random guests, each of whom leaves by midnight. That complies with your terms, but I don’t think you’d be better off.

If you like and trust him generally, and you’re able to meet the woman and get comfortable with her, I think your life would be much easier.

I’d make the deal:

You’re allowed ONE gf, the same gf, for (X) amount of days per month. (no consecutive days allowed.)

In the future, if you feel like out rules are unfair, please talk to us about it. We’re not monsters and are pretty reasonable folks. I’m quite confident that we will at least be able to come up with some sort of compromise.

Also, don’t be sneaking people into my house. I’m not an idiot and you’re not a teenager anymore. Please act like an adult.

I’m looking for a new place and I need some cheap rent, where do you live.


As for overnight guest, no way. That’s an open invitation to trouble. Tell him NO GUESTS. This is what Red Roof Inn or Motel 6 is for.

They can go to her place or get a room.

A person who is 22 IS an adult not a kid.

What you should’ve done, when he came up with the cock and bull story was to say, “Fine, I’ll fix a place for her on the couch.”

Or you could’ve said, “I’ll loan her money for a hotel.”

He could be picking up random girls, who knows what is gonna go missing from one of his hook ups.

Just simply tell him, “While we appreicate the fact that you’re an excellent tenent, we simply cannot allow any overnight guests.” From now on if one of your friends is stranded he/she will simply have to make other accommodations. So in the future if one of your friends asks you if they can stay over, the answer will be no.

If this isn’t acceptable to you, then please feel free to give me a 30 days notice so we can rent the room to someone else.

Basically you’re renting a room to someone you know a bit who’s sneaking in people you don’t know at all.

It’s totally REASONABLE to expect a tenent to abide by your agreement. Just because he’s 22 doesn’t mean he’s an brainless idiot. He wouldn’t be sneaking her in if the didn’t know it was wrong.

Don’t write off all young people as irresponsible. Now is the time re-affirm your agreement.

It’s your home, don’t be uncomfortable for a few bucks. Cheap rent is hard to find, you can find someone.

I remember on All In The Family when Archie and Edith had to rent out one of their rooms.

Archie) Remember Edith no pretty girls.

Edith) What difference does that make

Archie) Becuase they will have their boyfriends all over the place. Find a nice ugly girl who wants nothing more than to work hard and pay her rent on time.

As someone who has been the third party renter: no overnight guests means no overnight guests.

And at 22, the “steady gf” could change every week. So if you really are okay with changing that rule - wait a few months and make sure this is a keeper.

The best thing to do is to just talk it out. I’d be more upset about the lying than anything else.

My parents were landlords for the longest time, and I’d say the biggest mistake they made repeatedly was becoming too friendly with their tenants. Sooner or later a tenant would get out of line, and they’d have to lay down the law, and it was always harder when they had allowed the relationship to be more friendly than tenant/landlord. Take the advice from someone who’s seen it over and over - no overnight guests, don’t get too friendly.

To all the people making statements along the lines of “tell him no guests” - I sincerely hope you’re assuming the existence of a written agreement that memorializes these conditions and obligations. Right?

Otherwise, you all sound like slumlords-in-waiting. A sublet is a transfer of interest in land - it’s not some cutesy informal vassalage that one sets up where the sublessee is beholden to you and you can tell them what can and cannot be done on their property.

Sorry, was busy all day – we do have the rules in writing. Thanks for all the input. I like the part about we’re not idiots, and you’re not a teenager. I think taking all of it into account that we’re going to try the no consecutive nights in a row, no more than x nights per month – and all the same person. I hadn’t thought about that. That said, I really don’t even want to see her really late at night or early in the morning. It was a big enough deal to share our living space with one extra person who’s paying us – I really don’t want to exchange cheery or non-cheery good mornings with someone I didn’t count on who’s not. He has his own entrance, so she can come and go using that one. That’s not unreasonable, right?

Princess, if you need the money, you’re just going to have to learn to put up with things you used to think you couldn’t endure.

You can’t get him out with a conversation; you’d need to evict him.

Best of luck.

Frankly, I think you’re making a lot of work for yourself. You’ll be counting nights, trying to recall if she was here last night or the night before, having to do a lot of supervision. Your agreement said no overnight guests, so that should be it.

I’m not sure your wishlist is unreasonable, but . . .

Frankly, I fear that “I don’t want to see her late at night/early in the morning” and “I have to know if she’s in the house” may be either incompatible or just plain difficult to explain/enforce.

But talk to your boarder–he may be willing to be flexible, especially if you let him know that the original agreement was no overnight guests and you are willing to enforce that.

Good luck.

My .02 cents worth.

Only approved overnight guests. They have to have a copy of ID on file with tenants file and an $x fee for background check/credit check like you would a new tenant before approval which may take a few days.

Any non-approved guests are grounds for eviction.

Guests know they are not anonymous, and they can sign off that if they are there more than X days in a row/month that additional rent will be incurred at $X per day.