Can a landlord restrict how many people live in an apartment?

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2024 | Real Estate Disputes, Real Estate Disputes, Residential Real Estate

Living alone could be liberating, but sharing an apartment with other people can be beneficial in its own way. Some people may invite others to live with them to share household expenses while enjoying their company.

Considering the terms of the arrangement, having more occupants can seem harmless to a tenant. If the setup is only temporary, officially including it in the lease may even appear unnecessary. Even if tenants have the right to do so, the circumstances can make this situation tricky, potentially causing legal disputes with the landlord.

Understanding apartment sharing rights

In general, state law provides that landlords cannot restrict a tenant from allowing more occupants into their apartment even if they are the only named resident in the lease. Their rights can give them the freedom to share the apartment with the following:

  • Immediate family members
  • Another occupant or tenant, regardless of relation if named in the lease
  • The additional occupant’s spouse and children
  • Other immediate family members of either tenant if both are in the lease

Additionally, if one of the tenants named in the lease agreement decides to leave the apartment, replacing them with one of the existing occupants is possible. Although these rules may benefit the tenants, there are limitations the landlord can place to maintain safety and security.

Instead of prohibiting it, they can cap the number of occupants who can live in the apartment to comply with local overcrowding policies. It can also be crucial for them to lay out the procedure for tenants when adding or removing an occupant, setting timelines and notice requirements appropriately.

Addressing disputes linked to tenant or landlord rights

Sometimes, landlords and tenants can face legal conflicts because of misunderstandings and unclear details surrounding the situation. In these instances, seeking legal counsel can help determine what to do about the dispute and other issues that may arise.