Suppose one is allowed to remain as a house guest free of charge for more than a month and comes to use the place as one's only or primary home. Does this protect one from eviction? Or an adult child living with family. Are there any safeguards against such people abruptly losing their homes?

I've heard that even a hotel guest that stays longer than 30 days can gain the rights of a tenant.

Where is the threshold of conditions that give rise to tenants rights?

  • 1
    In the US, this will be a matter of state or in many cases of local (country or city) law. The relevant rules vary significantly. A good answer will need to specify at least the state (or states) of interest, and quite possibly the locality within the state. Jun 21, 2022 at 17:16
  • How could the rules vary within a state? I'm especially interested in the situation in Florida. Jun 21, 2022 at 18:06
  • 1
    There is often city-level or county-level legislation on landlord/tenant matters. In some states there is little or now such legislation at the state level, and quite a lot at the city level.. Jun 21, 2022 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


In Florida, a "tenant" is defined in Fla. Stat. 83.43 as "any person entitled to occupy a dwelling unit under a rental agreement". Then "rental agreement" "means any written agreement, including amendments or addenda, or oral agreement for a duration of less than 1 year, providing for use and occupancy of premises".

One trigger for tenancy is giving (accepting) rent. Tenancy can also be established by a person providing something of value in exchange for the right to stay in a domicile, e.g. painting the house, picking oranges, taking care of grandma. Other signs of tenancy are receiving mail and moving furniture into the domicile. These are indicia of tenancy – the intent to reside – and not bright-line rules. If a friend comes to visit for a month, and it is clear from e.g. conversations that the intent is to stay for a month then leave, they will not have created a right of tenancy. Changing the scenario a bit, e.g. "stay until I get back on my feet" signals a different intent, and could be taken to be a rental agreement. The question of "consideration" would arise, regarding this putative contract, and the consideration would be something like "companionship and affection". There are various rulings regarding "guest to tenant" conversion, for example hotel guests can become tenants.

  • What does staying more than one year make one then? Jun 21, 2022 at 18:35
  • It would tend to support a tenancy claim, since it is an abnormal duration for an ordinary houseguest.
    – user6726
    Jun 21, 2022 at 19:33
  • But why is duration of less than one year specified for orally agreed tenancies? Jun 21, 2022 at 22:26
  • Tenancies for a year need to be written, oral tenancies are month to month. But a person can stay month to month for a year (or a decade) with an oral agreement. The point is that if you allow a person to stay for a year, that is evidence that you are treating them as a tenant, that you intend to enter into a contractual agreement.
    – user6726
    Jun 22, 2022 at 4:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .