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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 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.


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