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I lived with my parents since 2015, not because I was homeless (I have a home) but I thought it was the thing to do when my dad's Alzheimer's started getting worse. I left my home, my husband and our son at our house and I went to live with my parents. My dad passed in 2018 and I was not going to leave my mom alone at that point. My mom passed in January 2023 at which point I was going to return home. Unfortunately, with 2 men living alone, my house needed some work done. Unfortunately, my husband passed 34 days after my mom which made it harder for me to fix my house with the loss of my husband's check. It took me 10 months to move out but thankfully, I am back in my own house now. After my mom's passing, her property became the property of her 6 children. My siblings are now wanting to charge me rent for the 10 months I lived there rent free after my mom's passing. Can they do that?

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    Which country do you live in?
    – o.m.
    Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 6:01
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    Jurisdiction is really important. Dale M's answer might not be right in mine (England) where in some circumstances joint owners may owe an occupation charge (which would seem to you like rent) for use of the property. It is complicated. Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 10:07
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    @willeM_VanOnsem Sorry I was rambling a bit... "By Any Stretch Of The Imagination"
    – komodosp
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 10:59
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    Did your siblings at any point prior to you leaving your parents house ask you to start paying rent, or compel you to make any sort of agreement to pay rent? Because that is an essential part of answering this question accurately - in particular, for the 10 month period in which you all co-owned the house.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 14:00
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    You can charge your 5 other siblings fees for looking after your parents retroactively. Would they like that? Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 15:46

3 Answers 3

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No

As an owner, you have no obligation to pay rent to other owners.

Notwithstanding, even if you were not an owner, rent cannot be levied retrospectively. That is, even if you were someone totally unrelated to the owners, if they allowed you to live there without agreeing on rent beforehand, they cannot subsequently demand rent afterwards.

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    Which country does this apply to?
    – o.m.
    Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 6:01
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    And even if the siblings cannot legally oblige the OP and instead they try to guilt-trip her, she could answer that she was there for years taking care of their parents, and it would have cost a lot more to hire a caretaker.
    – vsz
    Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 11:56
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    @vsz Or, if they are charging her for rent retrospectively, she could charge them for the care costs retrospectively, which might be a way higher amount. So they have time to think about whether to go on their way.
    – glglgl
    Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 12:45
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    Indeed, looking at my parent's latest 24 hour care bill, I'd say your siblings owe you big time (like $30,000 per month).
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 14:10
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    "As an owner, you have no obligation to pay rent to other owners." I'm quite certain that's false. That is, if you're saying "Other owners have no standing to charge you rent". If you have a one-third ownership, then other owners absolutely can charge you rent, with a fair amount being two-thirds of the market rate. Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 16:32
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In France, yes, absolutely.

L'indivisaire qui use ou jouit privativement de la chose indivise est, sauf convention contraire, redevable d'une indemnité.

The co-owner who uses the co-owned thing, unless agreed otherwise, owes an allowance.

https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/codes/article_lc/LEGIARTI000006432422

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  • Intriguing. Does this paragraph, along with the previous one ("A défaut d'accord entre les intéressés, l'exercice de ce droit est réglé, à titre provisoire, par le président du tribunal.") mean that there is no way to determine the height of the allowance except by going to the tribunal?
    – Stef
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 22:45
  • Also, how does this combine with the fact that the OP had been living rent-free in that house when the house was the property of the parents, by agreement with the parents? Isn't this a "convention contraire"? This could be considered a prior agreement, especially if the OP's siblings never said "we want to change the agreement that you had with the previous owner" after they inherited the house.
    – Stef
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 22:50
  • @Stef For the height of the allowance you either come to an understanding with your co-owners, and you are absolutely free to choose whatever you want (as long as you agree) - or a judge will settle it for you. For the previous agreement because OP lived there, definitively not for a rent-free verbal agreement. However, should OP have a renting contract, even for a very low rent, then it is a previous agreement.
    – Maxime
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 8:14
  • With a big caveat being "don't do tax fraud".
    – Maxime
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 8:17
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In Germany as well as in the U.S. exists the concept of an implied-in-fact contract. It describes a mutual agreement — a contract — which has not been explicitly expressed in written or spoken words. Instead, the parties entered into the contract by acting in a manner consistent with an agreement.

Usually, this construct is used to prevent somebody from taking an unfair advantage, which makes your case a bit atypical. The text book example is a customer of a restaurant who never signed a contract or even said that he would pay; instead, he sat down, ordered and ate. Both parties acted in a manner which must be understood, in context, as a contract over the purchase of food.

Rental contracts also can be established simply by living in a place and paying a fixed sum for that every month. After some time, a contract has been entered through conduct implying an intent. The landlord must provide the usual services (which, because nothing has been specified, are the legal defaults, if any), and the tenant must continue to pay the now-customary sum of money.

If your siblings

  • knew you were living there,
  • did not object and
  • did not demand rent during that time or announced that they expected compensation later,

I would argue that you and your siblings entered such an implicit contract which allowed you to live in your mother's house, possibly as an acknowledgement and compensation for services rendered to your mother in their stead, or because they wanted to support you in a time of difficulty.

Your case is atypical because, indeed, you used a service without paying for it. But because your relationship to your siblings is not primarily a business relationship and the house was your mother's home, and you had helped your mother before, the usual expectation that rent be payed does, in my opinion, not necessarily apply.


A quite different take is that the previous owners, your parents, gave you permission to live in the house together with them, for free. Because it was never agreed that you move out when they die, you actually have a continuing right to live there, for free. The permission your parents gave you carried over to the new owners, which is you and your siblings. This hinges a bit on implicit or explicit agreements: Was your position more that of a service person whose presence is tied to the service, or was it a "family group house" situation? Was it discussed with your siblings what would happen when your parents die or move out?

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  • Good answer. There is a similar question on frag-einen-anwalt.de, with a similar conclusion - to charge rent, the others would first have to explicitly object to the person occupying the house for free. If they stay silent, that would count as tacit agreement.
    – sleske
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 11:26

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