I have recently signed a new lease and moved into my new place. The place I have moved in is a unit in an apartment complex. The manager of the complex told me I cannot have guests for more than 14 days per month in a consecutive manner and cannot live with people whose names are not on the lease. The manager emphasized that since my girlfriend's name is not on the lease (and I cannot add her to the lease for some reasons) she cannot live with me here but it is okay if she wants to sleep over.

The thing is my girlfriend is currently staying with her parents but we have been planning to move in together for a while. However, what the manager told us has become a very bothering thing for us since she is not legally living with me as she has not officially changed her address but she will be sleeping at my place, pretty much almost every night. We cook dinner together when we are home around 6-7pm (which happens often) and then sleep until tomorrow morning around 7am when we wake up and go to work. Although she will stay at her parents' place every couple of days (for a day or two) she has brought her clothes and personal items such as tooth brush etc to my place.

So my question is would my girlfriend coming home around 6-7pm every day, cook dinner and sleep over at my place be considered as something illegal? Is she actually living with me? What is the legal definition of "living"?

  • 3
    What state? City? For example, in New York City (I'm not sure about the rest of the state) the landlord cannot prevent you from taking a roommate, and therefore cannot put any restriction on your girlfriend's occupancy of your unit (assuming there's nobody else living there with you).
    – phoog
    May 23, 2018 at 5:41
  • @phoog I hope you mean that there's a strong emphasis on a roommate. If a renter moves in two dozen extra people surely that's not something everyone has to just accept. May 24, 2018 at 9:40
  • If the residential occupancy regulations say that it's safe and acceptable to have 25 people living there, there's no difference between taking 2 friends to stay and taking 2 dozen, if the space is all being rented by the original lessee.
    – user4657
    May 24, 2018 at 9:57
  • @phoog I live in Massachusetts
    – user18230
    May 24, 2018 at 12:15
  • 1
    @zibadawatimmy the law in NY is a roommate, singular. More precisely, the landlord can limit occupancy to no more unrelated people than the number of people named on the lease, except that if there is only one person named on the lease, the landlord must allow at least two unrelated people. If I recall correctly, each unrelated person can also bring family with them, but there are of course safety considerations, so if someone with 12 children took a roommate with 12 children, the landlord would still be able to rectify the situation if the apartment were too small to accommodate them all.
    – phoog
    May 24, 2018 at 16:29

3 Answers 3


Of course she is living with you. Clothes, toothbrush, cooking and eating, sleeping, I suppose breakfast as well, that's living with you. And it's not illegal, but it is apparently in breach of your leasing contract.

I'd study your contract carefully to see what the consequences are if she is living for you for more than 14 days.

  • 3
    In some jurisdictions, for example New York City, it doesn't matter what the rental contract says.
    – phoog
    May 23, 2018 at 5:42

I am a landlord in Pennsylvania. I will answer based upon my experiences.

Many leases have a clause that limits the stay of guests. This is perfectly legal. The purpose of this is to limit access to rental units to non-approved persons. Landlords must perform reasonable and fairly extensive background checks to ensure a quality living environment which includes cleanliness, limit crime, reduce damages, ensure payment, reduce tenant to tenant issues, reduce tenant to landlord issues, reduce turnover, etc. The list is longer of course.

Other issues could be single or multiple person occupancy. In some states occupancy laws exist that limit how many persons live within a particular unit. Also wear and tear costs increase by occupancy and therefore a landlord may charge a fee per person. Again legal.

Consider that the world is not what it used to be. For example, it is not uncommon for a qualified person to rent an apartment for someone who would be unqualified simply by signing the lease, moving the person in, and then either staying or leaving. This is extremely common for drug dealers and highly dysfunctional couples who cannot rent otherwise. This damages the properties reputation, costs significant monies for eviction, takes time to remedy, often comes with a fight, etc.

Please keep in mind that there are plenty of professional renters who prey upon landlords costing as much as $200,000 per incident. Unauthorized move-ins and outright fraud are priciple methods of abuse.

The point of limiting the stay of a guest is to avoid bad situations. Plain and simple.

The notion that landlords do not enforce this clause is a false one. It is one clause that is enforced the most. Now if Bob is a good tenant and his girlfriend stays over the weekends, most landlords will not have heartburn over that. However moving her in is another matter! Even if I like Bob and his girlfriend, landlords will take seriously the girlfriend moving in. Why? Because it is a breach of trust and a breach of contract.

Not being on the lease, not paying rent, or any other excuse, does not cover for full time or near full time occupancy. All one really has to do is make simple arrangements with the landlord.

Keep in mind that the landlord has significant legal liabilities to contend with. You may not think it is a big deal, but landlords know better. And they have to look out for not only their investment, but the other tenants too while complying with a mountain of laws and regulations. This is not a simple matter folks! Not these days. Not any more.


In my experience, clauses in leases limiting guests (whether legal or not) are never enforced unless someone complains. Regardless though, it sounds like your girlfriend would not stay there for 14 consecutive days so you wouldn't be breaching the contract anyway. If it were me, I'd let her stay as often as you want (even every night), and if the landlord ever brings it up, just have her stay at her parents house at least every 14th night.

The only scenario I can imagine where the landlord would care is if the rent price is higher if there are more occupants.

  • The landlord would care if utilities are covered as part of the rent. An additional person could conceivably double water usage, for example.
    – Mohair
    Jan 24, 2020 at 20:41
  • @Mohair - I agree. And that's actually implied in the last sentence. If the price doesn't increase for additional occupants, then adding the person to the lease doesn't help the landlord even if more utilities are used.
    – TTT
    Jan 24, 2020 at 20:46

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