What are our rights in a rent-to-own situation?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What are our rights in a rent-to-own situation?

We are debating on buying a home rent-to-own through a family friend. He has put a lot of stipulations on us about decorating no nails, no painting, no messiness inside or out which I’m fine with, etc. One thing I’m really not comfortable with is they said they want to do surprise inspections, can enter the home when they like, and when they come to visit friends/family, they want us to leave our house while they stay in it, sometimes up to a week. They stated that the last renting tenant tried to tell them no and they evicted them. Is that even legal? If we are buying the house can they make

us leave or prevent us from painting?

Asked on January 30, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

This is all based on the agreement between you and them: the law does not set out your rights in this regard, but rather your rights are set by contract (agreement). Whatever you agree to (i.e. anything that gets into the rent-to-own written agreement--and you *must* have a written agreement for this) is legal. So if they will not enter into this transaction without you agreeing to these points, your only choice is whether to agree or not; if you do, then you are bound to what you agreed to, and if you don't, you can walk away from the transaction.
That's the law. An observation based on experience--I do landlord-tenant law and have significant experience with landlords and rentals: do NOT do this. They are asking for far more than landords typically get (a landlord cannot simply enter a home whenever he or she wants unless the tenant agreed to it, for example; landlords do NOT typically displace their tenants so the landlord can live in the tenants' home for a week at a time; etc.), so they are overreaching and being abusive; if they are asking for abusive things up front, you can be certain that they will continue to abuse the relationship all the way down the line. Not only do you not want to be kicked out of your home so the landlord can stay there, but why would you want to do business with people like this?

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