How can I establish a secure legal relationship to run a business out of someone else’s home?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How can I establish a secure legal relationship to run a business out of someone else’s home?

I teach classes for parents. I have encountered an opportunity to build a classroom in an acquaintance/co-workers home. I will raise the money for finishing her basement and then use that space to host my classes. We would like to ensure that I can still access and use that space to run my classes, rent-free, in the event that they sell the home. Is this possible, and if so how would we go about it? Any other obstacles to this idea?

Asked on September 18, 2018 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The only way to get the right to occupy the space "rent free" enforceable against a buyer would be if the current owner gave you a "life estate" in the basement: gave up some of their rights to their own property to you, giving you the right to use and occupy it for life (or until you voluntarily move out). Then when they sell the house, the sell the rest of it free and clear, but only sell a "remainder" interest in the basement (the right for the buyer to get access and possession of it when you die or move out). 
Of course, that makes the house unsaleable: it is very difficult to imagine anyone paying to buy a house where they can't use their basement (or can only use it with your permission, when you let them), have someone using/occupying it rent free for potentially years and years, and have to put up with strangers (your students) coming onto their property and into their home.

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.

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