Mom, Dad…Landlord? Entering into any kind of financial arrangement with family or friends can be risky business. Depending on the personality of your parents, it could be smooth sailing or you might be screaming SOS within a matter of months. Generally, the best policy is to treat a financial arrangement with family much as you would treat any other financial arrangement. Read on for tips on making the most of renting a house from your parents.
Lay down the ground rules. Sometimes, financial arrangements with parents come with many strings attached. Find out at the start what strings exist, if any. For example, your parents might not be comfortable with you having a boyfriend or girlfriend sleep over, since it is “their” house. Or perhaps they feel that since you are their child, it is okay to enter unannounced. Have several lengthy discussions with them to determine just where their heads or at, and make sure you are okay with their vision of the arrangement.
Make it legal and put it in writing. Your parents are having you pay rent for one reason or another, and so this is definitely a business arrangement. Treat it as such. Have them draw up a formal rental agreement or lease and review it carefully. After you have both signed it, keep a copy for your records.
Remember, this is business. Things can and will come up along the way that will remind you of the business nature of your agreement. You should expect to pay the rent on time every month, and your parents should expect to be responsible if the toilet needs replacing.
Treat the house even better than you would treat another rental. This becomes especially important if your parents are cutting you a deal on the rent, but even if they are not, you should take excellent care of the house that they have been gracious enough to rent you.
Keep communication open. Communication is vital when deciding whether to rent a house from your parents, but it remains important throughout the tenure of your agreement. For example, have them over and make sure they are pleased with how you are taking care of the place. Check in with them often to make sure that this business relationship doesn’t negatively affect your personal one.
Christe Bruderlin-Nelson's work is in over 50 print publications and all over the Web. She is a member of the National Association of Science Writers, the Association of Healthcare Journalists and the American Medical Writers Association.