Is it wise to have a tenancy agreement amongst family and friends?

Question from hayley updated on 7th August 2008:

My friend has just started leasing an apartment so that her son and my boyfriend can live there. All she wants from them is £150 a month from each of them. she will not be living there, it will just be my boyfriend and her son. Does my boyfriend need to sign to any agreements before he moves in and starts paying £15.00 per month?

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

In New Zealand, whether this situation is covered by the Residential Tenancies Act, and whether a written agreement is legally required, will depend on the agreement between the parties. However, it is advisable to record any agreement in writing, regardless of whether it is legally required or not. I recommend that you contact the Department of Building and Housing on 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262 or 0064 4 238 4695 from outside New Zealand) to discuss whether the Residential Tenancies Act applies in this situation, and what type of written agreement is most suitable in the circumstances.

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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