Tip #11

Never Accept Rent from a Non-Tenant

Written on October 1, 2012 by , updated on June 7, 2014

  1. rent-from-nontenantsDo not collect rent from a tenant who unlawfully stays in your property after a lease has expired, and has refused to leave.
    By accepting any rent money, you could be entering into an extension of the previous lease.  At the very least, by doing so, you are accepting a month-to-month rental agreement.
  2. Do not collect rent from someone not on the lease.
    Often, a parent or a friend will try to make a rent payment on behalf of the tenant.  If the third party would like to help pay rent, they either need to give the money to the tenant, or they should put their name on the lease as a co-signer.
photo credit: Mike Schmid via cc
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14 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Kim

    We never accept rent from someone that is not named a lessee on our rental agreement/lease as my understanding is that it may create a tenancy with that person. However, I cannot find that wording anywhere in actual law. Can you help direct me to the right place? I’m in Oregon.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Kim,

      In most states, a lease agreement doesn’t have to be written in order to be valid. So, if you accept a month’s worth of rent from someone in exchange for a place to live, you are creating a verbal lease – or a tenancy-at-will – which can be terminated with 30 days notice in Oregon: http://www.landlordology.com/oregon-landlord-tenant-laws/. This link also has citations back to the statutes.

      I didn’t find a statue that said specifically that if you accept rent money, then you are creating a lease, but that’s in essence what a tenancy-at-will is, a monthly or a weekly lease – especially if it’s a verbal agreement.

      Bottom line, you’re absolutely correct. You shouldn’t accept any money from someone who isn’t on the lease and that you don’t intend to have as a tenant.

      FYI, I’m not a lawyer and if you want legal help or advice, you’ll have to talk to an attorney. I’m just an experienced landlord who has researched Oregon landlord-tenant law.

  • Daniel

    There is an organization who is able to pay rent on my behalf, but they can’t write me a check. Would they be able to pay my LL directly? They are an organization, not a person.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Daniel

      It’s completely up to your landlord whether or not that would be acceptable. Please check with him/her.

      • India

        The person (lady) who lived downstairs, claims the house is hers. I live, rent from the 2nd floor, she lives on the first floor. Yet, the person who is the landlord is listed on the lease NOT her. Am I supposed to sign my rent money orders to the landlord listed on the lease which a legal document or to her whom he says to give it to yet is not on my lease agreement? She says the man is her husband but they have different last names & she is not on my lease just him.

  • Mike Richardson

    So, if I am laid up in the hospital, and need my mom/relative/whoever not on the lease to pay my rent, that’s just too f*ing bad?

  • Peekaboo

    Due to being on maternity leave I was unable to fully pay rent and was granted assistance through the state (health and human services) to cover my rent for the month. My office states they will not accept 3rd party payments. It was a high risk pregnancy and my son was born a month early. This was a hardship according to health and human services. My lease expires on Dec 21, but the office is filing a eviction in my last month of the lease on Dec 12th. I reached out for assistance to prevent having a eviction under my name seeing that I was able to cover rent for fully and on time for 11 months of my lease. There is also no statement saying they will not accept 3rd party payments in lease,any suggestions for a new mother.

    • Virgil Kirk

      If rent has been collected from third party , without an agreement signed with tenant, how should this be handled as a agreement will be signed with tenant today

  • Stephen D Moore

    I let my son in law with his two kids move in after he was thrown out of his wife’s mothers home. Now he will not leave. He gets his mail here and had his drivers license address changed to my house. He and his move in girlfriend cuss me out and trash my place. They do little to nothing to clean up after their kids and my wife does most of taking care of thrir kids while they sleep or work.
    How can I get them out? I thought about changing the guest arrangement into a rental arrangement and they are violently against that.

  • Jeff

    I accepted rent from a non tenant (I accepted rent from my tenants mother).
    The mother never lived on the property. The mother never signed the lease nor signed as a guarantor however I did accept rent once from the mother.
    The tenant vacated and owes back rent and for damages.
    Can I also name the mother who paid rent to me but not on the lease in my lawsuit for damages?

  • Sydney Janel Mowry

    My boyfriend asked me to come to Maryland and I did ive been here for going on 2 weeks now and hes asking me to leave yet ive paid him half the rent already legally am i a tenant here now?

  • Roger

    My elderly mother (97) agreed to let a family friend (55) stay at her house a while she finds another place to live. It’s been 3 months, person is still there. 6 weeks into the stay I asked the woman to find a new place to stay at the end of the second 6 weeks. Woman says she is “still looking” (same answer after the first month). She even went through Elderly mother’s bills and decided to pay two of them – $150, without permission from Elderly Mother. I remind her she needs to move at date I set. However she is still there. What are the next steps? What to do?

  • tonya

    how can you find apartments that accept 3rd party payments in california? By the way what is a 3rd party payment

  • Quinn Gage

    I have a question regarding people staying with me and my fiancé who gave us money every two weeks as a “rent payment” however there is no lease with their name on it how do I go about evicting them in the state of Missouri

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