As a newlywed couple, you likely want to share everything. Unfortunately, marriage alone isn't always enough to allow you to share your dwelling. There are no federal laws that give you permission to move your spouse into a home or apartment you're leasing without getting the go-ahead from your landlord. In some cases, your landlord may even choose not to allow your husband to move into the home at all.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
If you want to add your husband to your lease, you'll have to comply with state laws; some states will automatically add spouses at your request, but others will not. Landlords also have some leeway within state guidelines, so that's an additional hurdle you'll have to clear.
Lease Requirements Vary
If you get married after signing a lease, you must inform your landlord. State laws vary, but the landlord will likely require your husband to complete an application to have his name added to the lease. He needs to meet the same qualifications as any other applicant. Most landlords review the applicant's credit, criminal background, employment and prior rental history.
If your husband has poor credit, the landlord often requires an additional security deposit to add his name to your lease. Landlords may overlook a less-than-stellar credit score, but some issues, such as a criminal background, can result in a denial.
An exception is New York, where your husband can automatically be added to your lease without having to complete a new application as long as he resides in the home as his primary residence.
Guidelines for Income-Restricted Communities
If you are living in an income-restricted community, the landlord may need to reevaluate your income to ensure you are still eligible. The income requirements are typically based on the number of people occupying the property. If you exceed the income limit, the landlord may be unable to approve your husband's application.
Authorized Occupant Option
If you don't anticipate your husband gaining approval due to credit, inquire about adding him as an authorized occupant. The lease remains solely in your name, and your spouse has the right to stay in the home. However, you are responsible for the the rent and liable for any damages. If something were to happen to you, such as death or abandoning the property, your spouse would have no right to stay in the home.
Breaking the Lease
Marriage is not considered a legal reason to break a lease. If your husband is not approved to live in the home, you are unable to break the lease without facing early termination fees or a possible lawsuit. Lease agreements can limit the number of days a guest is allowed to stay in the property. The landlord has the right to evict you for violating the terms of your lease agreement.
Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.