Roommate Agreement With Family?

Amanda's husband invited his sister, her husband, and their two kids to live with Amanda and her family since the husband just lost his job. Do they need a roommate agreement while they stay with Amanda's family?

QUESTION: Amanda in Texas says her husband invited his sister, her husband, and their two kids to live with Amanda and her family since the husband just lost his job. Do they need a roommate agreement while they stay with Amanda and her family?

ANSWER: The chance of Sharon inviting someone to live in my house without me being in on the deal is about zero. That changes the discussion. You and your husband need to get on the same page long before we try to get these people on the same page or allow them into your house.

Once you’ve done that, then to answer your question, yes. Your purpose of allowing them to move in is not because we actually want more people in this home because gosh, with all these kids, we don’t have enough. That’s not your purpose. Your purpose is we want to give these folks a chance to get back on their feet. You need to ensure that they’re doing the steps to get back on their feet. That involves working, but it also involves you going over their budget with them. You’re not going to charge them rent, but rent is while they’re there, they go over this stuff because you want them back out of there. And you put a time limit on this. Regardless of what happens, they’re out of there by X date.

I wouldn’t suggest $70,000 worth of time. They just need to get back on their feet. I don’t want somebody living in my home until they pay off $70,000 worth of debt. If you do, you’re unusual people. I think letting them get back on their feet and doing the steps to get there is the big idea. I don’t know . . . three to six months or something. You just put down there by the end of the year, this will be over. If you want it to be a year and both of you agree to that, it’s your house. You can decide that. I don’t have to decide it. I would not just let this thing be in perpetuity where it just goes on and on and on. That’s going to get you guys in trouble. You need to set expectations on the front end. That way, you stand a chance of pulling this off and keeping the relationships.