I Rent A Room In A House. What Are My Rights?

Your legal rights depend on whether you are a tenant, guest or boarder. A tenant is one who pays rent for the exclusive right to use the premises, usually for a defined period. A boarder or guest is one who pays a fee for the right to use a room and receive services, generally for a short period of time.

To determine if you are a tenant or boarder the court will look at:


  • whether there is a written agreement and if it refers to itself as a lease and to payments as rent;
  • the length of time you have lived at the residence;
  • whether the room is the only residence you have;
  • whether you are residing there temporarily;
  • how often you pay rent; daily or monthly;
  • whether services such as linen service, switchboard service and maid service are provided;
  • whether you own the furnishings in the room;
  • whether the amount you pay includes tax; and
  • whether the person you pay has a business license.

If you are not a tenant but are a guest or boarder, you have limited protection under the law. If the hotel owner or boarding house owners wants a resident to move he need only give notice equal to the time for which the occupancy is paid. For example: if payment is made weekly, one weeks notice to vacate is all that would be required. However, if payment is past due no notice is required.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

Additional Landlord Tenant Law Articles

Search LawInfo's Landlord Tenant Law Resources