The Complications of Renting an Apartment with Family

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The Complications of Renting an Apartment with Family

Staff Writer · Mar 1, 2010

One great way to save money on renting an apartment is to have roommates to share the rent. However, it’s important to carefully choose those who you’ll be living with. The wrong choice can often end up disastrous.

Given the pitfalls of choosing a bad roommate, some people think that moving in along with your family members in a new apartment is the best way to go. Unfortunately, sometimes those you’re related to can end up being the worst roommates of all.

Blood Is Thicker Than Water

A common misconception about making deals with family on things like being roommates is that, even if things do go wrong, in the end it’ll still be okay. After all, they’re still family. What this ignores is the fact that family members are only human, too. Yes, they may still be there for you ten years from now. Yet, in the event of the worst happening, the intervening years may end up very uncomfortable.

In fact, it is because family members will be around in the long term that you should take care not to create any undue tension with them. A bad roommate experience with non-family is easily handled by simply making new friends; a bad roommate experience with family could result in some awkward family get-togethers for years to come. This can impact other familial relationships as well.

Familial Verbal Contracts

Another issue that comes up whenever one deals with family is the differing interpretations of verbal agreements. For some people, a verbal contract is considered stronger when it is made with a family member-for them, the fact that the other party is family means that the agreement is that much more solid. But for others, a verbal contract between family members is actually considered looser. Because the other party is family, they think that means it is okay to not follow the agreement as strictly as they would with a stranger.

Either interpretation is valid, but it is important that both roommates feel the same way about familial verbal contracts. Make sure to ask the other person how they feel on this issue. If you disagree with each other, be sure to use a written contract rather than a verbal contract between you.

Loss of Roommate Benefits

Renting with family also limits some of the benefits living with a roommate often has. Ordinarily, if you had to leave for a family emergency, your roommate might be able to help with looking after the apartment. If your roommate is also family, they may also have to go with you, leaving the home and any pets you may have all by themselves.

Of course, none of these complications are so strong that you should automatically rule out living with family members as roommates. It all depends on how well you get along and if you agree in advance with how to resolve issues should they ever come up. As always, if you use your best judgment, you should end up doing well in the end.

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