Tenants are responsible for any damage to the rental unit caused by their guests, such as the tenant’s family, guests, or pets. Tenants are also responsible for a guest’s conduct that violates the lease or rental agreement, such as illegal drug use.

Restrictions

Landlords are typically allowed to place restrictions on having guests and parties, so long as they don’t discriminate against protected classes of people. Under the Fair Housing Act, landlords must not treat people differently based on the presence of children in an apartment, pregnancy, religion, or sex. For example, landlords cannot prohibit women from having overnight guests, restrict guests in a way that may appear to apply differently based on the religion of the person living there, or prohibit children’s parties. Similarly, landlords cannot charge extra fees based on these characteristics. Some states protect additional classes from discrimination such as age (e.g., preventing a few younger tenants from having guests) or marital status (e.g., not allowing single tenants to have overnight guests). These restrictions don’t apply to smaller units, namely 1) apartments with less than four units where the owner also lives in one of those units and 2) single-family apartments that was not rented through a broker.

Maximum Occupants

Some states have occupancy requirements to prevent the overcrowding of rental units. In addition, a landlord may establish reasonable standards for the number of people in a rental unit and may ask a tenant about the number of people who will be living in the rental unit. However, a landlord cannot use overcrowding as a pretext for refusing to rent to tenants with children if the landlord would rent to the same number of adults (see the Fair Housing Act).

Tenants Are Generally Responsible for Guests

A tenant is responsible for all damages and actions of the guests. For example, if a tenant throws a party and one of the guests breaks a window, the tenant will be responsible for the cost of repair (not the landlord or guest). The tenant may be able to recover the costs from their guest, but if they fail to do so, the costs will ultimately lie with the tenant.