Renting From a Relative (The Right Way)


When Rachel Lewis moved in with her mother-in-law in Oakland, Calif., you can bet it wasn't her idea. "It was my mother-in-law's [idea]," she says. "I did not like it. But the apartment next to ours had been condemned because of mold," she explains, "and our daughter kept getting sick, so we left."

Living with family can be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, generally speaking, renting from family can seem like a very attractive option when you find yourself in a bind and in need of a place to live. On the other hand, the familiarity that got you to leave home in the first place is going to apply the minute things get sticky -- and since renting tends to involve money, business transactions and stress, expect that they will.

"It can end bad," warns Lewis.

But it doesn't have to. If you are renting from, or thinking about renting from a family member, follow these steps to avoid going from family home to family feud: