Renters Advised to Keep Landlords in the Loop

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If you’ve ever had a roommate, the thought of kicking them out or trading them for a new one has probably entered your mind a time or two. Maybe they’re dating the most annoying person on the planet or leaving toothpaste caked to the sink bowl or using your wash cloths to clean the dishes. Whatever the case, their quirks are about ready to push you over the edge.

So what should you do? Talk to your landlord before making any rash decisions. In a recent story in the Seattle Times, writer Sean Martin advises that the first thing a tenant should do when considering bringing in or switching out a roommate is to look at his or her lease agreement. In most cases, the lease agreement will “prohibit the swapping of roommates without the landlord’s consent.”

According to Martin, landlords are typically amenable to roommate issues if the tenant keeps them in the loop and they don’t find any big surprises waiting for them while on a routine visit or maintenance run. Additionally, seeking permission from the landlord is just the first step. New renters should expect to undergo the same application and screening process the original tenant went through and may be asked to pay the full rent amount each month to safeguard the landlord should one roommate leave and the other not be able to pay the rent.

Another option is to ask the landlord to add an “authorized occupant” to the lease which will enable the original tenant to sublease the unit to an incoming tenant. The authorized occupant is permitted to live at the property but would be required to move out should the original tenant vacate the unit.

In either case, communication with the landlord is the key. Try to be sneaky and you both might be put out on the streets.

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