Dear Penny: Am I Wrong to Make My Unemployed Niece Pay Rent?

Dear Penny,

Recently, we needed to transfer our mother to a nursing house. Prior to the transfer, my niece had moved in along with her. My mother has dementia and isn't more likely to return to dwelling at house. 

The niece was dwelling rent-free when Mom was right here. She remains to be staying right here and nonetheless not paying. She is unemployed however has been getting unemployment. She has been there since final September. Mom went to the nursing house in February.

My brother is the sturdy energy of legal professional and accountable for bills. We are hoping to hold onto the home. There are some financial savings to pay for the nursing house for a number of years. When the financial savings are gone, we may have no alternative however to promote the home.

My niece was paying a roommate a considerable sum earlier than she moved in with Mom. She has had many months to save lots of, and her bills are low since she pays no hire or utilities. My brother turned off the cable, however the web remains to be on. Plus there are bills for gasoline, oil, electrical, property taxes and upkeep. I reside out of state however come again for prolonged visits and work remotely whereas I'm there. I plan to ship a examine for the web, electrical and so forth. to my brother. I normally keep for 3 weeks or so.

Someone wants to inform the niece she wants to start out paying for among the bills. I don’t fairly know methods to deliver it as much as her. When I discussed it to my sister (the niece’s mom’s twin), she appeared indignant that we might anticipate cash from an unemployed particular person. 

I assume I would like to determine methods to deliver it as much as her. Before Mom went to the nursing house, there was an enormous argument as a result of after Mom stated she may transfer in, Mom then determined she didn’t need her right here. After Mom was moved to the nursing house, it was my thought for the niece to have the ability to keep. So, I really feel like I must be the one to inform her the free experience is over.


Dear L.,

When you provided to let your niece keep in your mother’s house, you didn’t absolve her of hire for all times. The dialog you’re about to have shouldn’t come as a shock. Note that I say “shouldn’t” slightly than “gained’t” right here. I think shock is precisely the response you’ll get.

Think about it out of your niece’s perspective. After eight months of dwelling rent-free, why ought to she have completely different expectations for months 9 or 10?

I do assume that since this association was your thought, you need to be a part of this dialog. But as sturdy energy of legal professional, your brother is the one making the choices. So I feel the 2 of it's best to speak to your niece collectively.

What’s good is that you simply appear to be feeling average frustration, slightly than full-blown rage at this level. Don’t let issues attain a boiling level together with your niece. This dialog must occur quickly.

First, speak together with your brother on what consequence seems to be like. Do you need your niece out altogether? Are you OK along with her staying if she pays for maintenance and utilities, even when she wouldn’t pay hire? Or are you hoping she’ll keep and ultimately pay hire at truthful market worth?

I’m guessing the best situation is someplace between the second and third choices. It’s affordable to anticipate her to pay one thing for hire however most likely not what you’d cost a stranger, particularly because you keep on the house once in a while. You and your brother ought to agree on a greenback quantity that she’ll be liable for and every other duties you want her to tackle.

Regardless of your splendid consequence, give her a heads-up that this dialogue is coming. Schedule a time to speak about methods to deal with bills transferring ahead in order that she doesn’t really feel blindsided.

Try to not lecture her about all the cash she ought to have been saving since September. I get your frustrations. But actually, it’s irrelevant at this level.

Keep the dialog ahead trying. Show your niece what it’s costing to keep up the house and ask her what she will be able to afford to contribute. She’s getting unemployment, so she ought to be capable to kick in one thing, even after groceries and different bills. You can provide to assist her make a funds or revamp her resume. But finally, it's worthwhile to set a really clear expectation for what you want from her going ahead.

What I’m hoping is that just a little strain will give your niece some much-needed motivation and that extra excessive measures, like eviction, gained’t be vital. Sometimes a looming deadline forces us to behave.

This can be a tricky dialog. You had good intentions, however now it's important to be the dangerous man. Please don’t child your self by pondering this case will change by itself.

Robin Hartill is an authorized monetary planner and a senior author at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tough cash inquiries to [email protected].

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