• Resolving Problems

Renting to family or friends

Published: June 7, 2016 | By | 1 Reply Continue Reading
Being a landlord can be tricky when you are renting to family or friends.


H Irene,

My nephew and his fiancée rent an apartment in my house. I really loved having neighbors to be friendly with and for six months, things were great. Then we had a disagreement about my handling of some landlord responsibilities. The fiancée was trying to push me into doing something I couldn’t/wouldn’t do. After a couple of days I sent her a text that was not the best tone.

I attempted to patch things up and was rebuffed. After a couple of months I was able to get her attention long enough to apologize. Our Facebook friendship resumed and I thought we were on our way to healing.

However, last weekend she had a very loud party without telling me. I was broken-hearted that I was left out. Their last party was in my living room!

Should I continue to be patient, lower my expectations, or ask them to move?

Signed, Valerie


Hi Valerie,

Renting to family or friends is essentially a business relationship, one that can get tricky if expectations aren’t spelled out clearly at the beginning. One aspect of this arrangement that may have further muddled the waters is that you expected to have a close social relationship with your tenants (your nephew and his fiancée.)

With hindsight, your responsibilities as a landlord and theirs as tenants should have been spelled out in writing at the onset. It’s unfortunate that your text message wasn’t written in “the best tone” and that the fiancée was so unforgiving over a period of months.

In terms of not being invited to the party, given that the relationship has eroded the way it has, you shouldn’t be totally surprised at not being invited unless it was an intimate family gathering. In terms of it being “loud,” if that was annoying, it’s something that you need to discuss with the couple.

At this point, I think you should pull back from any social expectations and try to iron out the landlord-tenant problems. I wouldn’t ask them to move unless they do something particularly egregious because that would likely put the final nail in the coffin of your relationship with both of them.

Although I’m not excusing her behavior, it could be that the fiancée isn’t mature and/or ready to immerse herself in your nephew’s family. Since all the sturm and drang seems to be focused on her rather than your nephew, do you think a heart-to-heart with him might help diffuse the situation?

Hope this helps!

Best, Irene

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Category: Neighbors, RESOLVING PROBLEMS

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  1. Amy F says:

    The only time I think friends and family should conduct business is if all the parties have impeccable communication and problem solving skills, and if the boundaries are clearly laid out in writing.
    While I always believe in apologizing for poor behavior for which one is sorry (i.e. the tone, but not the context of the text), I also believe in accepting the consequences of the behavior.
    Ask yourself, if the tenants were not your family, would you evict? If the answer is no, then don’t let your hurt feelings get in the way. If you choose to evict, then recognize that your relationship with your nephew and his soon to be wife could be irrevocably damaged. If you decide to allow them to stay, draw up a the type of lease you would with a stranger renting, and go over rules and expectations. To prevent future problems.
    Good luck.

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