In the U.S., property and contract law covers the legal relationship between landlords and tenants. By law, both landlord and tenant have duties that the lease agreement, statutory law or common law include. The prescribed elements of the lease agreement will apply for eviction of unauthorized tenants or non-tenants. Since Landlord Tenant Law covers both statutory and common law, U.S. states base the renting of residential and commercial properties on either the Residential Landlord-Tenant Code or Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.
Quiet Enjoyment Covenant
U.S. courts read an implied covenant termed “quiet enjoyment” into lease agreements of residential and commercial properties. The legal definition of the term is the renter’s right to enjoy undisturbed use of the rental property, one of the duties the landlord should fulfil. The landlord has the right to evict a visitor to the leased property when said visitor violates the quiet enjoyment rights of other tenants in any way.
Landlords have no right to limit the number of visitors to a rental unit unless expressly agreed upon in the lease. However, when a visitor stays over with increasing frequency without explicit permission from the landlord, the individual maybe considered a non-tenant or unauthorized occupant. Burden of proof rests on the landlord, who needs to prove that the tenant violated the lease agreement. The landlord may serve a lease violation notice on the tenant(s) to rectify the violation within the stipulated notice period, or pay a penalty fee or vacate the premises. The landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against the unauthorized occupant to remove both the individual and the individual’s property from the rental unit.
Read More: Difference Between Leaseholders & Occupants
No Subletting Clause
In U.S. tenancy law, the rental agreement defines the terms joint tenant and subtenant roommates. The landlord’s permission becomes necessary for either arrangement to become legal. A tenant who sublets regardless of the “no subletting” clause violates the lease agreement. For example, in California and most other states, the law gives the landlord the legal right to evict the tenant and the non-tenant or unauthorized roommate(s) because all persons concerned violate the rental agreement.
Tenants face eviction for various reasons, including accommodating unauthorized persons or pets; illegal activities; violation of the lease agreement terms; termination of lease; non-payment of rent and damage to rental property. A landlord has to follow certain procedures to evict an unauthorized tenant or visitor. The landlord may choose to first talk to the tenant. Failure to comply should be followed by a written notice giving the tenant a deadline to remove the non tenant. If the tenant continues to violate the lease, the landlord can start the eviction process by seeking legal recourse.
- Cornell University Law School: Landlord-Tenant Law
- Law Library - American Law and Legal Information: Quiet Enjoyment
- Texas Tenants Advisor: Limits on Visitors
- The Landlord Protection Agency: Landlord Special Report; Unauthorized Tenants
- Texas Tenants Advisor: Eviction
- US Legal: Roommate (Tenancy) Law & Legal Definition
Arthur Joseph been a writer and editor for more than 20 years, including articles, essays, biographies, business reports and interview transcriptions. His work has appeared in Pan Macmillan's gardening, entertainment, politics and nonfiction publications. Joseph holds a B.A. in English literature from University College London and an M.A. in journalism City University London.