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When Does a Guest Become a Tenant in Texas?

In Texas a guest needs to prove, through things they did or didn't do, that they were authorized to live in a rental unit if they want to be classified as a tenant.

Most of the laws relevant to a leased apartment in Texas can be found in Title 8, Chapter 92 of the Texas Property Code. Subchapter A tells us that a tenant is anyone who is authorized by a lease—written or oral—to occupy a dwelling to the exclusion of others.

Texas handles this differently from many other states, which have guests become tenants after they live somewhere for a set amount of days. In Texas, whether someone is a guest or a tenant is determined more organically. The key things to ask are:

  • Did the person contribute to household expenses?
  • Did they use the apartment as their mailing address?
  • Did they remain in the apartment continuously, or spend time elsewhere?
  • Most importantly, did the guest pay rent?

Texas attorneys recommend ensuring that any guests who are staying for an extended period of time sign a letter stating that they are, in fact, a guest. It's also wise to not accept money on a regularly scheduled basis from a real guest.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.