How to rent a room to family members

Written by jennifer campbell
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How to rent a room to family members
Set expectations together. (best friends image by Mat Hayward from

Renting a room to a family member can be a smooth process if both you and your family member have a mutual understanding of the expected tenant and landlord responsibilities. A common worry in renting to a family member is the incidental clashing between the business and personal relationships, and steps should be taken before move-in to prevent this from occurring. You can help prevent disagreements that could potentially affect your family ties and create an unpleasant living situation by assuring that both parties are aware of all expectations throughout the entire rental period.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Decide together that your business relationship and your personal relationship will remain separate. Agreeing to create a specific lease agreement and planning a communication strategy to work through potential business disagreements will help prevent negative effects of mixing relationships.

  2. 2

    Discuss expectations and establish particular boundaries for the family member-tenant. The expected rental period, usage and maintenance of common areas such as the kitchen and living spaces, the handling of landlord property, how property damages by the tenant will be dealt with, visitor guidelines, noise regulations, parking options, and renovation, pet and smoking restrictions should each be clearly documented as part of the lease agreement to avoid misunderstanding.

  3. 3

    Establish and record all payment and maintenance expectations as an inclusion to the lease agreement. Include the rental fee, utility bill percentages owed and payment due dates per month for each. Also, note landlord and tenant maintenance responsibilities such as how repairs will be handled and any required upkeep by both parties.

  4. 4

    Keep all payment and deposit records pertaining to the rental and adequately document any damages and consequent repairs. These records are your proof in the case that action must be taken to obtain compensation from the family member-tenant for property damage or any missed rent or utility payments.

Tips and warnings

  • Maintain your personal relationship etiquette for as long as it is received constructively when addressing discrepancies between the family member-tenant actions and lease agreement requirements. If discrepancies continue, address the issue in an all-business manner.

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