Casper, WY asked in Family Law and Landlord - Tenant for Wyoming

Q: Troubled son (drugs/mental illness) lives in 2nd home rent free, do I need an agreement to protect myself and property?

My son has history of hard drugs and mental illness, he also has been convicted of misdemeanor in another state (Molotov cocktail thrown in car). He moved back home and I allow him to live in my second home rent free. We have video proof of him threatening to kill neighbors and set their houses and cars on fire. I want to be sure I am protected as well as my property if anything were to happen to my house or a neighbors property. Will a simple agreement written out give me protection with the law and my home insurance?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In this situation, it would be best to consult with a local attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant law and property matters. While a written agreement can provide some level of protection, it may not be sufficient given the complexities of your son's situation and the potential risks involved.

Here are a few steps you should consider:

1. Consult with an attorney: An experienced attorney can help you draft a comprehensive agreement that addresses your specific concerns and complies with state and local laws. They can also advise you on your rights and responsibilities as a landlord.

2. Create a detailed lease agreement: If you decide to have your son sign a lease, make sure it includes clear terms and conditions, such as the duration of the lease, rules regarding property maintenance, and grounds for eviction. The agreement should also address any specific concerns related to your son's history of drug use and mental illness.

3. Review your insurance coverage: Contact your home insurance provider to discuss your current coverage and any potential risks associated with your son living in your second home. They may recommend additional coverage or have specific requirements to maintain your coverage.

4. Document any incidents: Keep a record of any threatening or dangerous behavior, including the video evidence you mentioned. This documentation may be necessary if you need to take legal action or file an insurance claim.

5. Consider involving local authorities: If your son's behavior poses a serious threat to himself, your neighbors, or your property, you may need to involve local law enforcement or mental health services.

Remember, while a written agreement can provide some protection, it is not a guarantee. The best course of action is to work with a qualified attorney who can help you navigate this difficult situation and protect your interests.

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