It can be hard to move in with family or rent from them. Find out what your rights are if you live with your parents or another family member.

What you will find out:

Do I have rights as a renter in the house my family owns?
Can my parents or other family members kick me out?
Can my family legally charge me rent?
What should I do if my family kicks me out?

There are some benefits to living with family. You might like it, but not everyone has the same experience. This is especially true when no one is held responsible by written deals. Here are some answers to questions that people often have about living with family.

Do I have rights as a renter in the house my family owns?

When you are an adult and live with family, it may not be clear under the rules of your city or state whether or not you are a renter. In places with strong rights for renters, you may be considered a tenant if you live somewhere for a certain amount of time, even if you did not sign a lease or pay rent. In some places, giving money, doing jobs around the house, or paying for services may be seen as rent payments and be the reason why someone is called a renter.

If you are a tenant according to the rules of your state or town, you have the same rights as any other renter. This means that you can not be kicked out of your home without a court order. You probably also have other legal rights.

Ask a professional if you do not know if you have the right to stay in your family home.

Can my parents or other family members kick me out?

Once you know if you have the legal right to be a renter or tenant, you can figure out if your family can kick you out. We will look at two situations: one where you have a signed lease and one where you don’t.
If your deal is signed,

If you have a signed lease, your family member, who is now your owner, can kick you out just like any other renter. For example, your relatives could kick you out if you do not pay rent or if you break another rule of the lease. But since you are a family member, your cousin may ask you to move out first, so they do not have to deal with all the legal trouble and papers.

If asking does not work, your relative may give you a notice to leave if that does not work. Your cousin must follow the same rules for getting rid of renters who are not family members.
Unless you have a signed lease,

Even if you have not signed a lease, if the law says you are a renter, your relative could ask you to move out.

If you do not have a lease, your rental may be called “at-will” or “month-to-month.” If this is the case, your family member may give you a letter ending your lease, giving you usually 30 to 60 days to leave.

If you do not leave by the date, your relative may start the process of kicking you out. Just like when you have a signed lease, your relative must follow the formal steps for an eviction, such as giving you a written warning and going through the court system. If the law is not followed correctly, you may be facing an unfair removal, which you can fight.

Can my family legally charge me rent?

In short, yes. If you are over 18 and living with your family, they can charge you rent. If you are younger than 18, you should look up the rules in your town or state. Parents can not do much if their child does not pay rent because they have a moral and legal duty to make sure their children have a place to live.

Some family members who rent to grown-up cousins need a signed Lease Agreement. Others talk about specific terms informally, like how long they plan to rent, if they will pay fair market value for rent, or if they will get a deal for being related. If you are borrowing from family, you may want to suggest that they write down their demands in an official Lease Agreement to protect you and them. Remember that you and your family are making a business deal. A signed deal could protect your rights if the property changes hands quickly.

What should I do if my family kicks me out?

If your family kicks you out or makes you leave and does not do it the right way, you may be the victim of an unfair eviction. The only times an owner, even if they are connected to you, can kick you out are:

Your owner follows the rules for removal in your city or state, which might include giving you a warning to pay any rent you owe.
Your boss has a good reason to throw you out.
If you refuse to leave, your owner will ask the sheriff’s office or other local law enforcement to help you get kicked out. But they can not try to physically kick you out of the house.

Remember that you have the right to fight or appeal any eviction decision in a court of law, even if you are renting from a family member.

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