Shelly Kreiczer-Levy, ‘The Informal Property Rights of Boomerang Children in the Home’

Adult children living with their parents represent an increasingly common social phenomenon in the United States that challenges the boundaries of both the family and formal property rights. What is the legal status of adult children living with their parents? Do parents have any additional duties when they rescind permission for their child to live with them? Property and family scholars have not addressed this important issue. This Article fills the void. Instead of treating people who live together as strangers, owing no legal obligations to one another, I argue that under certain conditions living with others creates a property community in the home. I call this community ‘home-sharing’. Conceptualizing living with others as a property community allows us to legally recognize the deep commitment between people who share a home. I urge scholars to reconsider the rule that allows an owner to unilaterally revoke permission to live in the home, and I argue that eviction law should stipulate additional responsibilities when the owner seeks to evict a cohabitee. I do not claim that the child should continue to live at home, but argue for remedies that recognize the child’s voice, for example, a duty to explain and justify the decision, to listen to the child’s arguments, and to respect a predetermined cooling-off period.

Shelly Kreiczer-Levy, The Informal Property Rights of Boomerang Children in the Home. 74 Maryland Law Review 127 (2014).

First posted 2015-01-15 18:18:14

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