General Question

Ownage's avatar

What is the legal definition of living at an apartment?

Asked by Ownage (296points) May 8th, 2009

Ok there are these large apartment complexes that do student housing. They are run by large evil corporations that like to tax the common man. The way it works is they bill each person individually, not the unit as a whole.

3 people each pay $500 each = 1500 total
4 people each pay $500 each = 2000 total
...for the same exact apartment

With that being said, what is the legal definition of living at an apartment? Am I technically a visitor if all roommates agree to have me? Assuming that how long is a visitor allowed to stay (all agreeing)? Am I still legally considered a visitor after two days? I would think so, as I have had people stay at my apartment for that long. What makes two days legally any different than 4, 8, 50, 180, or 365 days? After all I am a visitor,,,,

(What would a lawyer say?)

In practicality, I doubt I would even be noticed considering the apartment is so big and they would not enter unless they had a reason. Just don’t be an ass and get myself caught. I will just lay low and not really use the amenities that I don’t pay for anyway. Hell I’de rather give the cash to my friends anyway over “the man”

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19 Answers

Likeradar's avatar

What does the lease say? My lease specifies the number of days someone is allowed to crash at my place. Theirs probably does too.

FrankHebusSmith's avatar

The lease probably says something, but so long as your landlord isn’t checking around and your room mates don’t care, you can probably just have four people live there in secret… Just move one of you in later or something

$500 a person is pretty f-ing steep unless that’s a really nice place…. I pay $468, and I have a room that’s like 12’ by 20’ in a house with a yard and free/reserved parking. And it’s all of a block and a half from campus.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

They just don’t want you packing in extra people without paying for them. If they don’t do that, then the apartments are completely overrun with people.

casheroo's avatar

I agree with @Likeradar. My lease specifies the same exact thing. I forget the amount of days, I think it’s 30 days.

also, I so agree with you on college apartments! In my area, a 3 bedroom in a complex near Villanova goes for $2200, with a twin house down the road with 3 bedrooms for $1500! Sucks for the suckers

Ownage's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic Yes I know that but theres got to be a legal definition. “Packing an apartment” is ambiguous. If my friend stays for a week is he staying without paying? What about a month? 2 months? See what I mean

Good ansers, I’ll read the lease. Is staying for 29 days, leaving for a day, and then coming back for another 29 still legal? I mean I am a visitor under the definitions of the lease, then I leave (I am no longer a visitor, I am “visiting” something else for one whole day!!), then I come back and visit again for another 29.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

It depends on how the owner wants to define it. It should be in the lease. Those are the terms of the lease then everyone on the lease who signed on the line, is obligated.

Judi's avatar

As an apartment manager ( who doesn’t do student housing, thank God) I would bet that the lease is very specific about visitors. It mine state how long they can stay and how many days in a year they can stay.

YARNLADY's avatar

You are asking for a legal definition, and I am pretty sure the rental agreement is a legal document, and what the agreement says is the legal definition. It may be open to interpretation, but that would then be up to the court or the arbitrator.

goose756's avatar

I live in student housing and there is no rule on visitors other than they are “supposed” to have a visitor’s pass sticker in their car window, but nobody enforces it. Our complex does the same thing and has individual leases for each tenant, each person paying the same. I’ve actually had my girlfriend living with me for the past 8 months, without being on the lease.. there is no way for them to find out really, and if anyone were to say anything she’s just “visiting”. My point being, if you want to live there I don’t see a problem, I don’t think they can actually prove you are in fact “living” there.

skfinkel's avatar

The apartment that I am renting states that after two weeks, a visitor becomes a renter and must be on the lease.

As a landlord renting my house to students, I have been very clear that only the people on the lease are supposed to be living there. I have a limit based on the use of my septic system. One year, the renters ignored this, and housed at least two additional people, hiding from me. I am the kind of person who trusts people, since I am trustworthy myself, and would never do something like that. One of the illegal poachers in my house came up to me after they had all left, and told me about it and asked for my forgiveness.

There is really no way to contain this problem. If I just rented the house for a fixed price, there would be no limit to the number of students that would (and could) be squeezed in there. I feel I have some control and a real relationship with each renter, who has been told of the septic problem and I hope is sympathetic with the situation.

What I chose to believe is that the people in there now are only the ones I am renting to—hat each person is honest, and not trying to cheat the system (in this case, cheat me and put my house at risk).

Supacase's avatar

I used to live in a place where 3 consecutive days was the limit. My boyfriend went home on Wednesday and Sunday nights, but I doubt they ever really checked.

I have worked with student housing and can tell you that if they have a decent Property Manager s/he is wise to all of the tricks out there and always on the lookout. Unlike @goose756 the places around me were very strict on parking and towing was quite common. It really all depends on the property; things are different from place to place.

Ownage's avatar

@skfinkel Ya I’m totally for that. I am not out to hurt anyone. People like you are honest guys trying to make honest money by renting a house. I’de rather be dealing with a real person like you in renting a house. Currently I am being taxed by a student housing corperation because it was the only thing I could find when I moved up here.

Corperations are not people like you however. I do not feel bad at all when it comes to cheating the mega corperation. $2000 total for an apartment is just wrong tax (yes I know I signed it). I do not feel bad about simply marginally reducing their inflated profits.

Judi's avatar

I have evicted people for having unauthorized people living in an apartment. The one that comes to mind is a young mother who moved her boyfriend in. We told her he had to fill out an application and he did not qualify. She gave a 30 day notice and moved down the street. A few months later she was in the news. Her boyfriend had murdered her son and they both were tried for murder because she didn’t stop him.
Don’t you want management who cares who’s living in the building?

skfinkel's avatar

I talk with the parents of each person I rent to. That plus check other references. I do what I can to make the place secure
Thanks for your comments, @Ownage, but I have to say that regardless of what you think about the landlord, a lease is an agreement that you have made. Your integrity really means more than anything else.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Ownage Every for-profit corporation will pass any losses it has on to the other tenants. You are not only making yourself a cheater, you are indirectly causing harm to every other tenant.

augustlan's avatar

@Ownage What would a similarly sized apartment (one that is not student housing) nearby rent for? If it’s anywhere close to $2000, then I think it’s fair to charge that much for student housing. The rules about charging each student individually also protect each student in the apartment. For instance, I own and rent out a 3 bedroom house (not student housing) with one lease. If 3 roommates move in together, they are all on the same lease, for one lump sum. If one of them leaves, the other two have to pick up his share of the rent. (This happens more often than you’d think.) In student housing, even if 3 of the 4 roommates move out, the one that’s left is still only responsible for his share. Student housing is just a different animal altogether.

casheroo's avatar

@Judi Wow that’s so sad :( We sort of did something similar to that with my landlord. I wasn’t married to my DH when we got our apartment, my DH has horrid credit…we can’t get anything because of him :( So, my mother cosigned with me, and I told my landlord upfront that my boyfriend might be moving in…he was definitely moving in, but we couldn’t say that right away or she’d do a credit check. So, after a month, we added him to the lease. We’ve been great tenents for two years, so sometimes it works out. We had no intention of lying the entire time though, that would be risking eviction which would be stupid.

dynamicduo's avatar

This depends completely on the lease. No laws will supersede the arrangement that exists in writing between the tenants and landlord regarding “defining” an apartment.

In your situation @Ownage I can’t sympathize with you. If you’ve made an agreement, it doesn’t matter how fair or not it is, it doesn’t matter if it’s a corporation or an honest person like @skfinkel (and let it be known that many corporations ARE in fact comprised of honest people, they’re not all mega monsters like you’re making them out to be), nothing else matters beyond the fact that you agreed to the terms presented. And $2000 for an apartment is surely NOT wrong, as apartments are free to be priced at whatever price YOU the consumer are willing to pay.

Sorry to say, but you don’t have noble intentions here, and you are not in the right at all. The landlord is free to do anything he wishes provided it does not conflict with the tenants’ rights. If you keep up your shenanigans (staying for 29 days and leaving for one) you could find yourself banned from the property. And come on, you know that’s not right, if you’re living there for 29 days, you’re LIVING THERE and need to pay for the utilities you use!

cwilbur's avatar

If the other people aren’t listed on the lease and the landlord doesn’t want them there, they can be arrested for trespassing.

If you have other people there in violation of your lease, the landlord can consider you in breach of the lease and kick you out.

It’s probably advisable to comply with the wishes of your landlord, especially as they’re so tidily expressed in a legal document that you signed.

A lawyer would probably tell you that if you don’t agree to the lease terms specified by the property owner, you shouldn’t be living there. That’s what I say too.

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