Can my fiancee’s parents charge us for rent if they are not licenced landlords?

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Can my fiancee’s parents charge us for rent if they are not licenced landlords?

My fiancee and I are living with his parents, and our 2 kids. At first I didn’t mind helping them out with the bills and mortgage, but ever since we moved in, his parents have been raising the rent on us every month without our consent. First it went from $300/each ($600 total), to $375/each, to $400/each, it and keeps going up every month. We don’t have any type of a lease agreement with them. We never signed any papers when we moved in stating that we would pay that much every month. They are not even licenced to be able to be a landlord. Is this legal? What are my rights?

Asked on October 9, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You don't need to be a licensed landlord to have an agreement that a family member would only be allowed to live with you if they pay rent. It's their home; if you don't agree to their terms, they have the right to evict you--i.e. they don't have to let you live with them, and therefore you have to comply with their terms to live there (or else you can move out).

Without a written lease, you are month-to-month tenants on an oral lease. That means that either party can terminate the tenancy on a month's notice. It also means they can change the rent or terms on 30 days notice.

Your only "right" when it comes to living in another's home is essentially to either live by their rules and pay what they like or else leave. (Again, there is no right to live in a family member's home.) For what they are charging you, you should be able to find a rental that's not with family. (Consider this: maybe they are raising the rent to make you leave, without having to tell you to "get out" in so many words.)


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