When All Residents Do Not Sign The Lease- By: Tabitha Elligan
In a perfect world, every adult who lives on the property should sign the lease. However, we know that this does not always occur. Several residents allow their significant others, family, and friends to move in with them, while never signing the lease. Unfortunately, it typically doesn’t end well. It either puts the resident or the landlord in a terrible position, which could have been avoided by simply signing the lease.
For instance, let’s say a resident allows a close friend to move in with her for about 8 months. The close friend planned to go to the leasing office and sign the lease, but due to a busy schedule, she never made it. The close friend one day decides to move her nightstand and mistakenly puts a hole in the wall. When the term of the lease is up, the landlord rightfully sends the resident a bill for damages to the property, specifically, for the hole in the wall. Is the resident responsible or is the close friend responsible? Since the close friend never signed the lease, the resident is responsible, and the landlord can and will demand to be paid. The landlord now has the right to sue the resident for an unpaid bill, all of which could have been avoided by the close friend simply signing the lease.
The same scenario applies for unpaid rent. If the close friend and resident share the expense of the rent, but the close friend decides to no longer pay her portion, the resident is still responsible for the rent simply because the resident is the only person who signed the lease. This also gives the landlord the right to sue the resident as the only lease holder. Additionally, the landlord has the right to demand that a non-signing occupant leave the property. If the non-signing occupant fails to do so, the landlord has the right to terminate the lease and evict all individuals, even if they have paid their rent prior to the landlord learning of the non-signing occupant’s presence.
All landlords should adopt and strictly enforce the policy that all adults who live or plan to live on the property must sign the lease in order to avoid any legal ramifications. Occupants of the property who are under 18, as well as short term guests do not have to sign the lease. We hope this information has been helpful in addressing the consequences of those who don’t sign the lease.