Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Landlord & Tenant: When the Occupant is not the Tenant.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | June 26, 2017

No. 1,336

The Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Blog raises some important questions for landlords to consider.  When the apartment is not be occupied by the party who is paying the tab conflicts can arise.  For example, when an employer rents an apartment for one or more employees, you the landlord may be placed in a double bind unless you have a contract with the occupant as well.

In the California case noted in the CEB, an employer who had entered the contract and was paying the tab directed the landlord to lock out the tenant and remove the furniture, which it did.  In so doing, the occupant was deprive of statutory rights.  It should be good policy to have every occupant who is over 18 sign the lease or a guaranty.  Thus, if the contracting party terminates the lease but the occupant stays on, the occupant will continue to have an obligation to pay.

In addition, the occupant should sign an agreement to comply with rules relating to occupancy.

Strangely enough, landlords often find themselves evicting strangers — people who took over occupancy from the tenant without permission.  Landlords often think they can just change the locks.  Problem is, you have to prove that this successor tenant doesn’t belong there. This is especially true when the individuals were sharing the apartment with the tenant, such as family members.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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