Rights when living with a crazy parent?

This probably sound terrible, but I am 35 and recently moved in with my mother after my divorce. Do I have any rights as a tenant normally would? I would hate to play the technically I am a tenant card instead of I am your daughter. But I can’t take how insane her rules are. I have to be home before they go to bed at 7 or doors are locked (unless other wise discussed), She barges in the room without knocking, goes through my stuff constantly, she will throw away what she feels I don’t need, sets her alarm for random hours during the night to wake up to check if I am asleep If not ww3 insues. She will shut the wifi off if I have been on my phone to long, checks the mileage on her vehicle when I use it. She took my vehicle that was in my name. I didn’t come straight home from work, it was disrespectful of me to stop at the vape shop instead (nevermind) But its like I am not allowed to have a life, literally. I cannot go out with other people. “Most 35 year old don’t go out, they act their age” So I can’t go have a drink with friends, go out on a date nothing! I am expected to work and come home. I can’t even have a say when it comes to my kids. I tell her all the time she is nuts, but she goes into this rant that "everyone agrees with her’. Then I question my own sanity. Being in your own thoughts 24/7 will make you question your sanity that’s for sure. I almost feel like I am in highschool!!! And completely at my wit’s end. I would like to know if anyone knows if legally there is something I could do.

Legal advice is best suited to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Are the kids living with you? Do you have legal responsibility for them? If you go out for a drink or a date or whatever, does that mean leaving the kids with your mother?

If you pay her any kind of rent, then yes, I believe you have the same rights as a tenant, including things like her not being able to barge into your room without notice. If you’re not paying rent, I assume this would get into a squatter’s rights area.

But even with all that, what are you hoping to gain? If you throw that all in her face, do you really think it’s going to change her mind about how she treats you? And then where does that leave you? With an even worse relationship with her and the only next step is taking her to court…but again, do you honestly think a court order is going to change anything.

I think you know the right answer. You need to move out. Every decision you make, every penny you earn (or spend) should be done under consideration of whether it you’ll be able to move out sooner or later by doing it.

Now, you didn’t say why you moved in with her, just that it was related to a divorce. If it’s about money, maybe see if there’s another relative you can crash with, especially if it’s for a set amount of time (for example, X weeks until you can pull together a security deposit). If it’s just about support during/after a divorce, you’re probably better off leaving now.

Your rights as a tenant mostly depend on what state you live in, assuming you live in the USA. County and city might also be relevant.

Is your Mom’s current behavior consistent with her personality when you lived with her as a teen/young adult?

Yep. IMHO, you gotta get outta there. Soon.
You’re not gonna change your Mother at this late date.

7 is very early to go to bed. Don’t you have your own key to where you live?

A car is not a shirt, it can’t just be thrown in the trash can. She is preventing you from using it or has disposed of it in some way, sold or junked?

I don’t mean to pry, but there’s more than one side to every story. Was she always like this or did something happen with your divorce that she thinks she needs to baby you & set very tight boundaries on what you can/not do? Addiction, perhaps?


As others have - you have MORE rights. You have the right to move out, not subject to a lease.

As Joey P says, if you are paying rent, you have, in legal theory, the same rights as any other tenant. OTOH you don’t have a written lease, so it is going to be difficult to establish that the terms under which you hold residency do not include a curfew, not having a key, use of your car, whatever.

Your most important right, and the one easiest to establish, is the one Dinsdale mentions.

And, not legally but practically, the chance of you being able to come to a reasonable accommodation with your mother while still living with her are indistinguishable from zero. So, put up with it, or move out. I don’t see any other option.

I look forward to your return to the thread to discuss.

Shodan the Incurable Optimist

In some states, even without paying rent or having a written lease or rental agreement, you have exactly the same rights as a tenant, under an “implied lease” for a tenancy at will. Greatly simplifying things, you have the right to enjoy the premises on the terms you agreed to with your mother. But, either of you can terminate the tenancy at any time. So, if your mother wants to impose new rules on your living there, she can do so whenever she wants. Your right is to either accept it an continue living there or move. You also have the right to an eviction process if you don’t move out when your mother tells you to.

Here’s your problem: without a written agreement specifying otherwise, a court is likely to accept your mother’s testimony that she let you live there only if you agreed to live by her unreasonable rules. If you continue to live there, you will be deemed to have accepted these rules. If you reject the rules, she she can just tell you to move out immediately. If you want a court to enforce your rights as a tenant, your tenancy rights will probably end before your case is even heard. In most states, your mother can’t just throw you and your stuff out if you refuse to go (this is referred to as “self help eviction”). If you refuse to move out, she is supposed to take you to court before changing the locks and leaving your stuff on the lawn. However, if she self-help evicts you on an implied lease, courts won’t reinstate your right to live in the house. The best you can hope for is to get some damages if she trashes your stuff. Even that is hit or miss in the real world.

I don’t know what’s going on with the car or your other things. She shouldn’t be able to dispossess you of your stuff but, for the most part, you don’t have a legal problem; you have a relationship problem. You aren’t going to solve your relationship by taking your mother to court or even just yelling at her about your tenancy rights.

Your living situation sounds unbearable. I agree with everyone else that the best thing for you to do is to take control and move out. Good luck.

My first thought at reading the OP was that mom was acting like that to encourage the child to move out. Help the tenant find the door, as it were.

You likely have tenant’s rights regardless of whether you are paying rent. Your Mom can evict you, but would need to give 30 days or 60 days notice depending on the State and how long you lived there. Arguably, she could give you a 3 day “shape up or ship out” notice if you break her rules, and the court rules that those rules are in the implied lease. Personally, I think a court is unlikely to find that in the lease, but who knows.

Note that your mom does not seem likely to follow the law to the letter, and enforcing this can be tough.

My first thought when I read the post was an “entitled” daughter proving why she’s divorced.

If I’m wrong on that then better move out.

Conspicuously missing from the OP is any mention of why she moved in with Mom and why she continues to live there. Without that information, there can really not be any good advice given with any certainty.

How did this work? If you have (had) a car that is titled and registered in your name, nobody can just “take” it.

If she just told you to give her the keys, and you did, well, you shouldn’t have done that.

And you mention kids. How many? How old? Where are they? Are you the custodial parent? Did you move into your mother’s house with six kids, or what? Is she providing day care for them while you work?

Really, there’s a lot of stuff left out of your post.

But seriously, you gotta get out of there.

I’m in a somewhat simililar situation after a divorce and living with my Mom after losing my house and everything basically. People kick you when you are down. I’m planning on moving out as soon as it comes to that but you are legally a tenant. If my Mom were to kick me out she had better give me written notice, if she changed locks or put my possessions out on the street I would call the cops. Survival is more important than feelings, you have to use whatever you have in your aresenal to survive. Forget about any pride you have and do what you have to do.

Or any follow-up.

Where’s that sock thread again? (Just saying.)

IANAL but I don’t think you can simply tell the person who owns the house that you’re living in that you are establishing a landlord/tenant relationship. It has to be a mutual agreement between both parties.

Now granted if the two parties can’t come to an agreement, the next step is somebody has to leave the house. And it won’t be the owner.

But if the mother refused to accept the status of landlord and the daughter’s status as a tenant, I don’t think the daughter can legally force the issue. All she can do is leave.

Maybe the wifi’s been shut down again.

Depending on your state and your exact circumstances, you might have some rights as a tenant. If you are paying rent, have a key, have your mail delivered to the house, and things like that, it’s much more likely that you’re legally a tenant. Also the duration matters, generally you need to have been living at a location with the consent of the owner for a period of 2-6 weeks before you become a tenant.

Even if you are, it’s pretty unlikely that the courts will help you with a lot of this stuff. They will come down on her if she keep you from getting to your own room or changes the locks, and might allow you to withold rent (if you’re paying any). They’re extremely unlikely to do anything to stop her from talking to you. If she’s throwing away your property, that’s illegal whether you’re a tenant or not, but is also probably going to be hard to prove. If she actually stole your vehicle, that’s also illegal whether you’re a tenant or not.

Mostly, what being a tenant means is that you get guaranteed access to your room and you can sue for damages if she does a self-service eviction. It isn’t going to solve your interpersonal issues, and while the courts may respond to a few specific things, most of what you’ve listed is not something they will intervene in.