General Question

jca's avatar

Legally, can a property owner tell a tenant that certain guests are not allowed on the premises (and enforce this)?

Asked by jca (35989points) January 24th, 2011

A good friend of mine rents an apartment in a house. The homeowner does not like one of my friend’s guests, and told my friend that this person is “not allowed on the property.” Because my friend is friendly with the homeowner (her landlord) she is not arguing it. I am just curious if this is something that a homeowner could enforce.

Similar scenario, entirely different circumstances: someone else I know got into a heated shouting match at a local municipality’s Public Housing Authority board meeting. He did not get arrested, he was escorted out. He received a letter from that municipality’s Public Housing Authority saying he is banned from all of this municipality’s public housing properties. He is not a tenant, he lives in another town, but he is an activist. His daughter lives in one of the buildings. Is it legal to ban a person from Public Housing property for something like that?

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17 Answers

xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

Unless its in signed contract saying that the landlord has the right to refuse any guest then yes..otherwise no..unless the landlord feels he/she is in danger. Than again..no…...well that’s what I think.

PhiNotPi's avatar

I would think so. Since the property owner legally owns the land and house, not the person living in it, he/she can ban people, just as any person who owns land can prevent certain people from being on the property. Things like this would probably be in part of the contract or part of a policy. However, I am not a lawyer, so this is just my opinion.

john65pennington's avatar

Renting a room, within a house, is a tricky situation for both the landlord and the tennant. I would only hope there was a signed contract to settle this arguement.

Renting a room to someone gives them certain rights, just like renting a hotel or motel room. This is your private domain, with certain exceptions. I only hope this rented room has a separate entrance, rather than having to go through the owners front or back doors. This presents another problem, altogether. This is why a contract is so important for both parties.

iamthemob's avatar

The landlord would have to pursue independent action against the guest so still no (in @xjustxxclaudiax‘s example).

But yeah, check the lease first. There’s probably nothing there.

As for the PHA ban…I don’t know…that sounds so wrong…but there are major safety concerns for the government here, and it seems like there are some rules and cases that indicate that this type of ban is something that the municipality has the right to do this.

I just don’t know whether it makes sense in this context. This seems like a real restriction on First Amendment rights (or a possible one), and indeed could chill speech in the future.

I would send some form of formal written request to rescind the ban, if possible not identifying the daughter (who knows…). These things can often be taken care of with an apology…I would try one if I were him. At the same time, I would have him talk to a lawyer – there is probably a pro bono organization that would be interested in something like this.

YARNLADY's avatar

The legal right would have to be decided in court. The parties involved would most likely find it easier to give him the right, and abide by his rules.

DrBill's avatar

YES. the only people who have a right to be on the property are the people who signed the lease. If your name is not on the lease the landowner can order you off their property. Legal action is only needed to remove the lease signers.

iamthemob's avatar

@DrBill – Where are you getting this information?

DrBill's avatar

Been there done that,

Called the police to remove people from the property I own, they ask the people if their names wee on the lease, they said no, police ordered them off the property under threat of arrest for trespassing.

iamthemob's avatar

@DrBill – I really wonder what your lease was like, and what the situation was (whether they were being rowdy, or doing something criminal) ... because I haven’t seen a situation where this wasn’t done for a reason.

Renting an apartment generally gives the tenant full occupancy rights to use the property as a normal owner would, limited by the legal terms of the lease. Entry by the owner is, in fact, often limited in some way under state law.

If there wasn’t anything going on worth calling the police over…I’m surprised that you weren’t contacted by an attorney for one of the individuals…

DrBill's avatar

The tenants have a legal right to the property because of the lease, if you are not on a lease, you have no rights concerning the property.

the two involved above were removed via my complaint only, they were not doing anything illegal at the time (other than trespassing) but were both known criminals

iamthemob's avatar

@DrBill

If they were invited onto property that was rented by the tenant, they are not trespassing. Regardless of who they were, if they are there at the discretion of the tenant and there are no lease provisions preventing guests (which are generally not covered in leases), then there must be cause for you to remove them without recourse.

mammal's avatar

Not a hope in hell, if the landlord is unhappy, he has to conclude the agreement and evict the tenant, according to the terms of the lease.

mammal's avatar

Landlords seem to forget they are the supplier, and the consumer has rights, the Landlord has forgone control of the property, for financial gain, they cannot have it both ways, but if the Landlord is offering the property more as a favour and cheaply for a friend, then the friend may consider the Landlords personal wishes more seriously, out of courtesy.

Economisfit's avatar

If the lease does not explicitly forbid the tenant from having guests, then the LL cannot ban a tenant’s guest just because the LL doesn’t want that guest on the premises. The tenant’s possessory rights to the leased property are superior to the LL’s. Cops tend to favor the LL, but if the cops are clearly told that the guest is an invitee of a tenant, and that the tenant is not forbidden in the lease from having guests, the cops should not arrest on trespass. Also, many times the language in the lease that describes the guest policy is vague, and ambiguities in the lease are generally interpreted in the favor of the tenant. LL’s think they are master’s of their own little universe but that is far from what the law dictates.

mammal's avatar

@Economisfit they like to subscribe to the hoary old maxim ownership is 9/10ths of the law.

iamthemob's avatar

@mammal – amusingly enough, the maxim is really ”Possession is 9/10ths of the law.” Which actually undermines the LL. ;-)

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