Slightly different from last Friday’s post on whether to rent TO family members, this one’s for those of you looking for an ideal place, and wondering if it belongs to Uncle Frank. If you’re considering moving into an apartment run or owned by a relative, consider the following points first.
Make sure they can say no
Are you putting your relative in a tough spot? You might be in one yourself, but if you’re forcing someone’s hand, no one will benefit in the long run. If you really want it to work, give your family member/landlord an out, and see if he still offers you the place.
Don’t assume you will pay less than the market rate
Not only would it be unfair to ask your relative to give you discount, it could get him into financial trouble; as we’ve discussed before, renting for less than market rate can count as a financial gift on which he’d have to pay taxes, or as personal use, meaning he couldn’t write off any maintenance or repairs as a business expense. Avoid these pitfalls, and pay what anyone else would be charged for the space.
Are you ready to be a really good tenant?
With family usually comes expectations. While you might be able to get away with paying your rent a little late or slightly damaging the baseboards at another property, your kin might be expecting more from you. Have an honest conversation about how the situation should play out, from both your perspectives. Setting boundaries is important in any relationship, but especially one complicated by mixing business transactions with personal ties. If you get the feeling that you’ll need to be pitching in on repairs every weekend, it might be worth finding someplace better.
Will your relationship blossom?
On the other hand, if you can arrange it well, renting from a family member might result in a stronger bond. Again, clear communication is required to develop a healthy and sustainable working/personal connection.
Bottom line: you have to use your best judgment. But if you have qualms, and there’s somewhere else for you to go, choose the least-risky option.