When a tenant comes to you with a request to add a roommate, it tends to raise a lot of questions.
- This situation certainly brings some possible benefits to you as an investor—including the potential to charge more for rent. However, there are also some issues to watch out for.
- These are problems that could potentially put your property and rental income at risk.
- To maintain your peace of mind, you should always consider both the positives and negatives.
Your renters are responsible for your rental property on more than one level—rent, utilities, deposits, damages—and if a resident 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 investor, 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.
Quick note: This blog is not legal counsel. If you need real-time assistance, reach out to our team at San Antonio Property Management or a skilled attorney.
Talk to Your Renter
As always, communication is crucial to good working relationships with your renters. Talk directly with your tenant to find out who they want to add to the lease and why. There are a few reasons why your resident might suddenly want to take on a new roommate, and for your own peace of mind as a property owner, 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.
Always Enforce Tenant Screening
- Be empathetic and understanding when speaking with your renter, but also firm about why you need to be careful about adding a new tenant to the lease.
- Ask your current resident 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 using:
- A credit check
- Proof of current income
- Background and criminal checks
- Their 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 resident 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 renters in a property are equally responsible for upholding the terms of the lease, which offers you protection as the property owner.
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 our skilled team here at San Antonio Property Management.
Property Managers Can Help
Adding a new renter to a lease safely 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 tenant screening, tenant placement, revising the lease, rent collection, and making sure the terms of the lease are upheld. These are just a few of the many benefits of working with dedicated property management services.
- As a full-service property management company, 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? Contact us online or call us directly at (210) 314-1039 today!
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.