How To Ask A Landlord If My Boyfriend Can Move In

Jennifer Eggerton
by Jennifer Eggerton

Moving in together is an exciting opportunity to take your relationship to the next level. You get to spend more time together and learn about each other. You certainly don’t want anything to cause unnecessary issues, especially not issues with your landlord. But you aren’t sure how to ask your landlord if your boyfriend can move in.

Treat the situation as a business arrangement. Follow the requirements in your lease. Before you discuss the matter with your landlord, talk with your boyfriend about the details. Decide if he will be an occupant or a tenant. Notify your landlord in writing, and provide any documentation that is required by your landlord.

Let’s look at occupants and tenants under lease agreements, and then discuss how to notify your landlord that your boyfriend wants to move in.

Differences Between Tenants vs. Occupants

On your lease agreement, you are identified as the tenant. There is also a space for noting any occupants of the rental unit. What exactly are the differences between these two types of inhabitants?

Tenant Have Legal Obligations

As the tenant of a rental unit, you signed a contract with the landlord. A lease agreement is a type of contract. You agreed to pay the rent on time, pay for damages, and adhere to the entire lease agreement. If you don’t follow through on any of these requirements, the landlord has legal standing to pursue damages.

Occupants Have No Legal Obligations

In most jurisdictions, occupants are individuals that you allow to live in the rental unit. Your immediate family members are excluded from the definition of an occupant. Your boyfriend is considered an occupant if he is not on the lease. If your boyfriend damages the property or cannot pay his portion of the rent each month, you are required, by law, to cover the costs. The landlord will not pursue payment from your boyfriend, but from you.

Why You Should Have Your Boyfriend Listed as a Tenant

There are certainly many legal reasons to have your boyfriend listed as a tenant on the lease. You have some protections should he damage the apartment or violate the lease. Regardless, though, the entire lease is a shared responsibility.

If your boyfriend remains an occupant with your permission, you can have him removed from the property if necessary. If he is a tenant, your landlord may need to have him removed should things go awry.

The positive side of adding your boyfriend to the lease is that it helps both of you build a good rental history. Should you move out, your landlord can give you both a rave review in the reference letter.

Review the Lease Agreement Carefully

After you and your boyfriend decide if he will be an occupant or tenant, review your lease. There should be a section that explains if and how others can be added to the lease. It may also note details about subletting.

Do I Have to Tell My Landlord That My Boyfriend is Moving In?

Your lease should outline any requirements with regards to notifying your landlord about someone else moving in. Some leases require you to tell the landlord if the person intends to stay beyond a certain amount of time, such as two weeks.

How Do I Ask My Landlord if My Boyfriend Can Move In?

Technically, you aren’t asking your landlord if your boyfriend can move in. You are notifying your landlord. The notification needs to specify if your boyfriend is an occupant or tenant. In most cases, landlords will require occupants to be on the lease as additional tenants. The changes may be in the form of an entirely new lease or a lease addendum.

Changes to Rent Terms

Your landlord has the right to change the terms of your lease agreement when someone else moves in as an occupant or a tenant. The rent may increase, as well as any utility charges and additional fees. From your landlord’s perspective, usage and risk increases with each occupant or tenant, and those factors are passed on to you in the form of higher payments,

How Do I Add Someone to My Lease?

The first step is to notify your landlord in writing that your boyfriend intends to move in with you. Your landlord will do some checking about occupancy limits and other factors.

Next, the landlord will require a rental application from your boyfriend. He will have to follow the same steps that you did when you applied for the apartment. Your landlord may also require a background check, proof of income, and landlord reference letter. Remember, this is a business arrangement, just the same as when you moved in.

Signing the Updated Lease or Lease Addendum

If your landlord approves your boyfriend to move into the rental unit, both of you are required to review the new lease agreement or lease addendum. Make sure that you both understand and agree to the requirements, as individuals and a couple. If you don’t like the lease terms, you can always back out without signing the new lease or addemdum. You then sign the lease or addendum, and your boyfriend is free to move into your place.

Landlord Won’t Let Your Boyfriend Move In

Once you sign a lease, your landlord is under no obligation to add new tenants to a lease arrangement or create a lease addendum. Even if your landlord is comfortable at first, the screening process may uncover issues that result in a denial of your request.

That’s the thing to remember in these situations – you are requesting that your boyfriend be able to move in. You aren’t asking for permission or simply letting your landlord know. As such, your landlord can approve or deny your request.

Boyfriend Can’t Get Approved for a Lease Agreement

Issues on a rental application, background check, or landlord reference letter are red flags to a landlord. You may also want to pay attention to the same red flags if you are considering living with your boyfriend. Should your request be denied by your landlord, you have two options. First, you can look for another place. Second, you can wait.

Moving to a New Place

If you decide to move after your landlord denies your request for your boyfriend to move in, look closely at the consequences. Moving is expensive. You have to pay application fees, moving fees, utility transfer fees, and security deposits. More than that, you are also violating the lease agreement of your current rental unit. You may owe unpaid rent, damages, and other costs.

Many rental properties require that you pay the entire balance of the lease or the equivalent of two to three months of rent. Breaking a lease stays on your rental history, much as an unpaid credit card balance stays on your credit report. These are all things to consider.

Wait to Move in Together

Waiting is always an option. If your landlord denies your request, your boyfriend has the option to work on his rental history, income, and background. This only strengthens the chances of getting approved in the future, and perhaps for a more ideal place to live together.

Why Honesty is Always the Best Policy

The rental market is tough right now, and many renters are barely making ends meet. You may be tempted to simply live your life, and keep certain things from your landlord. In the short term, this feels like a good choice, but it really isn’t. Boyfriends, roommates, and pets are the most commonly hidden secrets of renters. All of these come with increases in security deposits and rent.

In the long run, though, you are constantly trying to hide reality from your landlord. Each time you need some routine maintenance, you have to figure out how to hide the evidence. When you are outside, you find yourself avoiding anyone from the property management team.

Furniture has to be moved in during the middle of the night, and you have to find ways to get your neighbors to keep your secret. All of this leads to stress, and you have basically denied yourself of the right to a peaceful and quiet place to live.

Fortunately, most landlords are quite understanding and accommodating. Yes, you may need to put down additional deposits. Check to see if you can pay that over time. As for the rent increases and other fees, that’s where your boyfriend or roommates can help out. If they can’t, you may want to rethink the decision to let them move in.

Related Questions

How does a lease work with multiple tenants?

Each person on the lease is legally responsible for rent and other fees, as well as abiding by the lease terms. Renters should, though, make only a single payment each month to the landlord.


It is great when you and your boyfriend decide to move in together, but doing it the right way is best. Notify your landlord in writing, and practice patient persistence with the process. If things don’t work out with the landlord, wait until you can move into a different rental property. You don’t want to start this new chapter with financial and legal stress.

Jennifer Eggerton
Jennifer Eggerton

Jennifer L. Eggerton loves being hands-on, whether it's with a home DIY project, making repairs, re-decorating a room, or keeping life organized. She enjoys helping people by sharing her knowledge, insights, and experiences, as well as her lessons learned. In addition to her work as a writer, Jennifer is a Jeep® overlander, self-published author, and nature photographer who loves being outdoors.

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