Avoid giving rental rights to guests

Rent it Right

Q: I’d like to offer temporary housing to people in the neighboring town whose houses have been burned by a natural gas explosion. I have a vacant rental unit that could be used, but I would not collect rent, and I’d expect that the residents would be out within a few months at most. Is there any advice you can give me on how to set this up? –Betsy B.

A: It’s very kind of you to offer temporary housing to your neighbors. Similar gestures followed the massive homelessness caused by Hurricane Katrina. The generous souls who opened their homes generally had good experiences, but there were anecdotal accounts of some problems, including the refusal of some guests to leave. You’re wise to think ahead about how to forestall any problems.