Sometimes life happens for somebody that you know and you feel that it is the right thing to do to let them stay at your house for a while. Many times such arrangements work out without any problems. However, sometimes things go awry and you could suddenly become an unsuspecting and unhappy landlord embroiled in a legal mess. Therefore, it is important to know how the law works in this area.
In Tennessee, it is possible to create an oral lease or landlord/tenant relationship. In such a relationship, the tenant has certain rights to access and use the rented premises. Proper procedures would also have to be followed to terminate the relationship. In the most extreme circumstances, eviction could be necessary.
This is not to say that one should not let another person stay at their home. The first thing to ask is how well you know the person. Is he or she a close friend or family member? Could he or she be bringing someone into the home that does not need to be around your kids? If you feel comfortable with the person staying, but you do not know them really well and it is going to be for longer than several weeks or for an indefinite period of time, it would be advisable to get it in writing. Such a writing would need to define the duration of the arrangement, i.e. for two months or week-to-week, what the person staying with you is going to contribute monetarily, and how much notice is required to terminate the relationship.
My firm represents both landlords and tenants and can advise you on the matters above and assist in “papering” the arrangement if that is necessary.