When a tenant comes to you with a request to add a roommate, it raises a lot of questions. This situation certainly brings some possible benefits to you as a landlord, including the potential to charge more for rent. But there are also some issues to watch out for, including problems that could potentially put your property and rental income at risk. To maintain your peace of mind, the best property management companies in San Antonio recommend you consider both the positives and negatives.
Your tenants are responsible for your rental property on more than one level—rent, utilities, deposits, damages—and if a tenant wants to add a roommate, it must be made clear in the lease that this new tenant is equally responsible. While the best property management companies in San Antonio have a lot of experience with tenant screening, as a solo landlord, you can't afford to make mistakes. This is why it's so important to look closely when adding a new tenant to an existing lease.
Note: This article is not intended as legal counself. If you need some help in that department, reach out to a competent attorney or get in touch with us here at Real Property Management Campanas when it comes to your leasing needs!
Talk to Your Tenant
As always, communication is crucial to good landlord-tenant relations. Talk directly with your tenant to find out who they want to add to the lease and why. There are a few reasons why a tenant might suddenly want to take on a new roommate, and for your own peace of mind as a landlord, you need to know which of these reasons it is:
- Marriage or domestic partnership: One of the most common reasons a tenant will ask to add a roommate is that they've gotten married, or want to have their partner move in with them. It's important to make sure that this partner is responsible enough to live in your property.
- Financial hardship: A tenant may want to add a roommate to ease the financial burden of paying rent. If this is the case, it can be to your benefit to help your tenant be able to continue paying rent on time, but be careful. Having two financially irresponsible tenants is no better than having one.
- Helping out a friend: Your tenant might want to help out a friend or family member by letting them move in with them. This isn't necessarily a red flag, but it is a reason to be cautious. If someone needs help securing a place to live, there might be a reason.
- Be empathetic and understanding when speaking with your tenant, but also firm about why you need to be careful about adding a new tenant to the lease.
- Ask your tenant to submit a formal written request to add a roommate, and make it clear that you will need to screen their prospective roommate just as you would any other tenant.
Once you've received a written request, you can decide if it meets with your satisfaction. If so, supply the new tenant with a rental application form to complete, and ask that it be returned—fully filled out—by a certain date. This will allow you to get a complete picture of who you might be renting to, including:
- Credit check
- Proof of current income
- Background and criminal checks
- Previous rental history.
Revisiting the Lease
- If you decide to approve your tenant's new roommate after reviewing all the details, it's time to draw up a new lease agreement.
- Never allow your tenant to take on a roommate without adding them to the lease!
- The new lease may be essentially identical to the previous lease, but with the official addition of a new roommate.
- In some cases, you may also have the opportunity to update the terms of the lease, including the potential to charge higher rent with an increased number of tenants.
When you draw up a new lease agreement, be sure to include language that clearly states that all tenants are “jointly and severally liable” for the property. This ensures that all tenants in a property are equally responsible for upholding the terms of the lease, which offers you protection as a landlord.
Of course, if you need help with drafting a leasing addendum or simply crafting a new lease to meet these changes, you can always work with one of the best property management companies in San Antonio to function as a guide!
Property Managers Can Help
Adding a new tenant to a lease can be a lot of hassle, and property managers can help! Working with the best property management companies in San Antonio means that you don't have to worry about finding and screening tenants, revising the lease, collecting rent, and making sure the terms of the lease are upheld. These are just a few of the many benefits of working with a dedicated property management company.
At Real Property Management Campanas, we are dedicated to doing the day-to-day and long-term work of managing your property. We work hard to maximize your profits, save you time, and always offer expert advice on how best to keep your property running smoothly with the best return on investment.
Adding a tenant to the lease can be stressful—but it doesn't have to be! Ready to learn more about how our team of San Antonio property managers can work for you? Reach out today to find out how the right property management company can make all the difference.