All states provide legal protections to tenants who lease residential property. However, the scope and extent of that protection varies depending upon the status of the occupier. A tenant is an individual who has the exclusive right to use a certain property in exchange for rental payments to the landlord or property owner. This right is typically granted for a specific period of time. A boarder, however, is not considered a tenant. A boarder pays a certain amount of money in exchange for the right to occupy a room and perhaps obtain services. A boarder usually occupies the premises for a limited period of time.
In some cases, distinguishing between a boarder and tenant can be tricky. This determination is important in identifying the rights and responsibilities of the individual with respect to the property. Significantly, a boarder has minimal legal protections. For example, most states have detailed laws that regulate how and when the landlord can terminate the lease with a tenant. In contrast, someone who maintains a boarding house is required only to give notice commensurate with the time period for which rent is paid (such as on a weekly or bi-weekly basis). Such notice would not be required, however, if the rent is not paid timely.
There are a number of factors that a court may assess to determine the status of an individual who occupies property. Most importantly, what is the nature of the agreement between the parties? If there is a written agreement that describes itself as a lease and contains a provision for rental payments, then the occupier is likely a tenant. The court would also evaluate the nature of the occupancy – does it appear to be a short-term, non-permanent living situation? This could be assessed by looking at the length of time that the individual occupies the property, the period of time he intends to remain there, whether the furnishings belong to the occupant, and whether certain services, such as housekeeping, are offered along with the occupancy. Another important consideration is how and when the rent is paid. Monthly rental payments tend to indicate a tenant relationship while payment of daily rent would indicate that the occupant is a boarder.
The experienced team of attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C. can help you litigate your real estate claims. Contact Mark Weinstein and his colleagues at (770) 888-7707 or visit them at http://www.markweinsteinlaw.com to find out how they can advise you.