Can Someone Live With Me Without Being on the Lease?

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It is not illegal to let someone live with you who is not on your lease. However, it is in your best interest to officially add someone to the rental agreement to make sure that everyone is held liable for paying and caring for the rental unit. 
Can rent prices get any higher? People across the country are feeling the crunch as rents are skyrocketing—especially in major cities. To help offset costs, more adults are choosing to live with roommates or a partner. 
But what happens if you invite someone to live with you who is not on your rental agreement? Most states don’t have laws that make it illegal for someone to live with you who is not on the lease. However, it's generally smart to officially put a new roomie on the lease to avoid any future complications 
That’s why, Jerry, the top-rated car and renters insurance super app, dove into everything you need to know about putting roommates on your lease—from who should be on the lease, the differences between tenants and guests, the importance of adding someone to your lease, whether kids need to be on your rental agreement, and how to find the right renters insurance.
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Why all residents should be on the lease

If more than one person is living in an apartment, it’s smart that everyone is on the lease.  Let’s say the other person damaged the unit. Or, perhaps they’re refusing to pay their portion of the rent or utilities. If they are signed on the lease, then they will be legally required to pay their part. 
However, if you’re having someone live with you who is not on the lease then you won’t be able to force the person to help cover the costs. Adding a person to your lease protects you from these undesirable situations!
Additionally, if there is any legal trouble relating to the property, you will be held responsible for the situation if you’re the only person on the lease 
Finally, it is helpful for the landlord to add everyone to the lease. That way, everyone in your apartment will be kept up to date about emergencies and building updates.
Key Takeaway Ensuring that all residents are on the lease will help you if there are any legal issues or costs that need to be shared. 

What it means to “live” in a rental unit 

It’s important to define what it means to legally “live” in a rental unit. Generally, landlords consider a person to live in an apartment or house if they:
  • Have a key
  • Resides in the unit for more than 30 days
  • Receives mail at the unit’s mailing address

Guests vs. tenants

Maybe your partner stays at your place on and off, or your friend has come to visit for a few weeks. In both cases, you're inviting a guest into your home with the understanding that they will go back to wherever they live.
As a rule of thumb, guests are anyone who stays in your unit for two weeks or less over six months. Keep in mind that this is a general rule and is often flexible.
Tenants, on the other hand, are actively living in the unit for more than 30 days. In these cases, it’s important to have these people added to your lease so that they are equally liable for taking care of the apartment.
Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, not strict laws. So, don’t worry if your mom visits you for two months—as long as she (or any other visitor) has the intention to leave and return to their own home, they don’t need to be added to the lease.

What to do when a partner moves in

Maybe you and your partner have decided to try living together, and they are moving into your current apartment. Once this happens, it’s a good rule of thumb to let your landlord know that the person is moving in. Your partner can then be added to the lease as a co-tenant and will be held liable for the same payments and responsibilities as you are. 
If you’re thinking that signing a lease right away is too long-term of a commitment, don’t sweat! Remember, there’s enough wiggle room in the rules that you and your partner can give living together a “trial run” before signing the lease. But even then, it’s best to let your landlord know sooner than later.

Do kids need to be on the lease?

No! Since anyone who is less than 18 years old is a minor by law, they cannot sign a legally-binding rental agreement. Instead, kids are viewed as occupants of your home. 
Even when your child turns 18, landlords often view the person as a dependant of the tenant. In many cases, the 18-year-old will not meet the same rental qualifications that other tenants have to have. 
There are some instances where the landlord will request that the new adult is added as an official tenant in a co-tenant addendum. This added document holds the teenager liable for the same costs and damages that happen to the rental unit—just like their parents.

How to evict someone whose name is not on the lease

If you have someone living with you who is not on the lease and you need to get them off of your property, things can get complicated. The official tenant is responsible for getting the eviction process started, and you’ll want to begin by hiring an attorney
With the attorney’s help, the tenant must give the person living with them an official notice asking them to leave. Once this notice is given, the person has 30 days to remove all their belongings and leave the unit. 
If they do not do so, the tenant and/or landlord can then take legal action to get the person removed.

How to find cheap renters insurance

No matter the situation, it’s a good idea for all tenants on your lease to have renters insurance. A good policy will keep you financially protected in the case of a burglary or unexpected damages, and will also keep you from being held liable if someone is injured at your rental unit. 
If you’re living with roommates and are already trying to keep housing costs low, throw away all your beliefs about sky-high insurance costs. 
With the help of the Jerry super app, you can find affordable renters insurance in less than a minute. Plus, the Jerry experts can help you bundle renters and auto insurance policies to help you save even more! 
Jerry was wonderful! I used it for my auto and renters policies. I trusted it so much that I signed up my homeowners insurance under Jerry as well. All of the agents are amazingly nice and knowledgeable.” —Mary Y.
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FAQs

No, your landlord cannot evict you for having someone live with you who is not on the lease. There are no federal or state laws that prohibit a non-tenant from living with you. 
However, be prepared that you will be liable for any damages, problems, or missed payments that the non-tenant causes.
Guests are considered to be anyone who stays with you for two weeks or less within six months. However, this is not a law! If your friend wants to stay for three weeks instead of two, that is fine. 
What matters is that your guest is staying with you for a set amount of time and has plans to return to their own home. 
Problems come up if you have someone staying with you for an indefinite amount of time, with no plans to leave. In this case, you should alert your landlord about having them added to the lease as soon as possible.

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