renting room to in law for free

My wife let her step sister and child move into a spare room in our home until she can get a job and get back on her feet. This lady has been with us 3 months and is not truly looking for work, she is a FREE LOADER! I am concerned that when we need to ask her to leave, she won’t. She is not paying rent, only helping minimally with milk, eggs via WIC program. Do we need to have her pay a small amount of rent to help with any future eviction process? What should I do to make life easier legally so that she cannot force us to keep her lazy bum….? Help please

Asked on June 4, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Oregon


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I'm not an Oregon lawyer, but based on general principles I'd say don't take rent from her! She is a guest in your home. If she is no longer a guest in your home, she becomes a trespasser, and if she refuses to leave when asked, you are entitled to call the police to remove her from your property.  She's family, and if you have to do this, you're going to give her warning, a deadline -- but if it comes down to that, you'll have to do it.

I'd recommend being prepared, before the confrontation, by having an attorney review all the facts of this situation, for advice that you can rely on.  One place to find a lawyer is our website,

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Instead of operating informally, you could have her sign a formal lease (assuming you have the right to lease or sublease) and pay rent and whn she fails to do so, legally kick her out.  Better yet, tell your wife to have her leave now.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.