Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in New York

My brother had a friend move in as a babysitter, less than a month ago. The deal was he pays rent, all utilities, all food (including for her pets), she gets her own room and $100/week. He has also given her rides any time she needed to go somewhere and let her use his van to transport her stuff. She is now saying she is owed double, $200/week and sent a screenshot of a legal site that she won’t send us the link to, but the little it does show, is that she’s looking at a law involving “host families” which I’ve never heard of a babysitter that’s “live-in” as living with a host family but either way, it’s BS. My brother and she did most of their discussion on this arrangement over the phone but he has the copy of the ad he posted showing exactly what payment he was offering and all extras included. Does she have any legal leg to stand on here? And if she no longer agrees to watch the kids can he have her leave immediately? The no bills scenario was only a stipulation of her watching the kids so I don’t see why she should live there free otherwise. And again this is less than a month, she decided to bring it up after her first payment from him.

Asked on 6/21/18, 9:51 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Carol Ryder Law Office of Carol Ryder PC

This can be a tough one to answer without having more information and a copy of the ad. It appears she is an employee and NY is an at-will employment state. Having said that, I personally would be very concerned about someone doing something like this that is not just living in one's home but also watching the kids. Going forward, I would recommend seeing an attorney to put everything in writing and for further guidance because your brother can be running afoul of Labor rules on how much she is being compensated, and I don't know the rules in detail on live-in nannies/babysitters off-hand. I know child care is so expensive and having a babysitter/nanny partially compensated by not having to pay rent and utilities, which the parents would be paying for anyway as part of their overhead (plus any additional costs to feed her and her pets, maybe a bit more on the utilities) helps make this far more affordable for people, and hence getting an attorney beforehand is tough but may, as we see here, a necessary thing. The sitter needs to consider that it is difficult to find a rental when you have pets unless you put up a large security deposit and pay first and last month's rent, plus landlords usually want great credit, income and reference checks from where a potential tenant was living before. This puts her at a disadvantage should she attempt to find a rental, so odds are, she is actually apparently, depending on her hours and conditions, doing OK living in a situation like this, and should she no longer have this job, finding another live-in position. This is not the time to be penny-wise and pound-foolish so next time, perhaps consult an attorney.

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Answered on 6/22/18, 8:35 am

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