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Author Topic: When a friend or relative needs a temporary home  (Read 17233 times)

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When a friend or relative needs a temporary home
« on: April 06, 2013, 03:27:35 PM »
A relative and I were discussing this earlier.  She and her husband were contacted by someone going thru hard times who is going to be evicted soon.  The person’s unemployment ran out, he hasn’t been able to find a job, and has very few options.  Relative and husband care about him, but they decided against letting him move in, even for a short period of time.  They offered to give (not loan) him enough money to stay in a cheap motel for a few days if he can’t work something else out, but made it clear there will not be more money forthcoming. 

I completely understand and agree with their decision.  I know of too many situations that have turned into horror stories and negatively affected or ruined friendships and other relationships.  I've also seen situations where getting the person out of one's home can be difficult or even get ugly.  (Sure, some situations work out 'okay', but all too often they don't.)

Would you allow a struggling friend or relative to move in temporarily?

If so, what time limit would you put on the arrangement (if any)?

Would you charge them rent?

Any experience (negative or positive) with such an arrangement?
« Last Edit: April 06, 2013, 03:29:57 PM by reflection5 »


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Re: When a friend or relative needs a temporary home
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2013, 03:47:29 PM »
I really don't like living with people. I struggled with living with my parents and do not think I could have roommates. It really stresses me out to have someone in my space.

With that being said, if a family member needed a place to stay, I would take them in. Depending on the person, I might give them a deadline of a month. I would not charge rent.

I would not do the same for any of my friends.


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Re: When a friend or relative needs a temporary home
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2013, 04:01:17 PM »
For me it depends entirely on who the other person is.

There are two people who I would ever allow to stay in my home. My best friend, and DH's best friend. I know that living with them would enrich my life rather than complicating it. I would not consider allowing anyone else to live in my home for any length of time, because I know it would cause problems/hassle/irritation/hard feelings.

We do let people sleep on the couch after parties. In a true emergency I would probably let someone stay a single night on the couch, no longer, and would not let them move in any stuff.

DH's best friend moved in with us in January and now lives here permanently. He pays rent and contributes toward groceries. Currently he lives in our spare bedroom (right across the hall from us). The loss of privacy took some adjustment but it's nowhere near as odious as I had feared, and we all genuinely enjoy having him around. We have come to an agreement that he is going to take the money he was paying toward rent, and use it to work on finishing our basement instead (he is a skilled carpenter). It will probably take at least a year, but when it's done he will have a bedroom, bathroom, and living area that will be his permanently.

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Re: When a friend or relative needs a temporary home
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2013, 04:13:47 PM »
I agree that it depends on who the person is.  I also think that it depends why they need a place to live.  If they are having financial problems then I probably wouldn't charge rent because they don't have it.  In the case of somebody whose unemployment has run out - how would they pay it?  If it was somebody who needed a safe place to stay but had the money then I might ask for at least some rent, not just for me but because it would give them a sense of control over their lives.


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Re: When a friend or relative needs a temporary home
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2013, 04:14:13 PM »
Quite a coincidence, as I'm currently reading a cozy mystery that includes this very question.

Here is my "hypothetical" answer, as (other than my children) I've never had anyone ask to live with me and my DH, except for a close friend who spent a short while here after Hurricane Katrina.

For people I am very close to -- parents, children, siblings, children of siblings, grandchildren -- my answer would be an unqualified yes, and the time limit would be highly negotiable (based mainly on not enabling someone to avoid making good choices).  These are the people I will always be there for.

For not-family-but-close-friends -- it would depend on whether they were someone I could live with without going crazy.  A definite time limit would have to be set.  It also depends on whether it's one person, or a couple sharing a room, or a family with kids -- more than two people might well be more than we could handle.

For people who are not family or close friends, I'd probably refuse.

To me, the reason matters.  I would be very sympathetic to "My company downsized, and I was laid off."  But "I decided to quit working for awhile, so I could reflect on the wonders of nature" would leave me ice cold -- even from my children.  Even from my much-adored grandchild.

Anyone staying with us would have to agree to some rules:

1) Rent/contribution to utilities/groceries, if they can reasonably afford it.  If not, I'd let them stay for free.
2) Pitching in with housework/yardwork/cooking, and keeping common areas tidy.
3) If unemployed, the person must be actively looking for work (or attending school, if that was the agreement).
4) Rules about use of family room, TV, computers, house phone, tools, cars, washer/dryer, kitchen at meal times, personal possessions.  (And the rule might be "no use at all.")
5) Rules about where they are allowed to keep their stuff.  (Yes, your furniture is lovely, but I prefer my own, thankyouverymuch.)
6) Rules about guests, especially those who will be staying the night.  (I'd be wary of having someone else who essentially moves in with the boarder, but without asking first.)
7) Any other rules needed to keep everyone sane and happy, such as "no loud noise after 10 pm" or "that's MY spot on the sofa" or "leave my Girl Scout Cookies alone if you like living."


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Re: When a friend or relative needs a temporary home
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2013, 04:18:49 PM »
Came back to add that my family has had elderly relatives live with us for extended periods of time when they needed care.  Assuming I could do that for a close family member I would not think twice.  Of course, that means you need to have a home that is physically accessible and that they are able to meet all the needs of the person in question.


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Re: When a friend or relative needs a temporary home
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2013, 04:32:55 PM »
It would depend on the person, but overall I would say yes. However, there would be rules and limits, which can be very flexible if the person was truly in difficulty, committed to finding work, and polite and helpful. If my mother ever needed it, and she wouldn't, there would be no rules and no limits. I would take care of her in all ways and expect nothing in return. (I have a good mother.) Family depends. I have one sister, a welfare queen, who is one of the most entitled people I have ever met. Because of her smoking and drinking (and when she can afford it, drug use) I would probably not, but if I did the rules would be hard, strict, and written in a contract. Also, there would be a hard limit. For close friends, they would have the same "freedom" as my mother. But then I know them very well and they would contribute as much as possible in ways they could.

It is truly scary to be in that situation. I understand your friends' reasoning, but I would probably choose otherwise based on what you wrote here, OP. The reason is that apparently this person has been looking for work. I would want to know how hard. Registered with temp agencies? Willing to work retail? (Grocery stores as well as others are often hiring, and fast food places have openings all the time.) Is the person willing to look for a room to rent and take that rather than relying on me for anything but a short-term stay? If so, I am more willing to help and more willing to be flexible. I dislike putting a specific time limit on it like a week or a month when maybe it only takes a few days beyond that. But ... I am thoroughly unwilling to have it play out like the story on here about the guy who is now off on a trip without following through on his commitment to move out when he said he would--and I am hardcore enough to enforce my deadline. 

I am a softie, but I can bring up my iron hand in the velvet glove when necessary. Now anyway.

ETA: Looking for work myself I know how exhausting and discouraging it is. I wouldn't expect the person to engage in it 40 hours a week, but if she/he was not working I would expect two hours a day and perhaps 25 hours a week volunteering somewhere, and a decent time cleaning, cooking, or otherwise helping around the house in addition to doing their own room cleaning and laundry.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2013, 05:03:48 PM by Amara »


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Re: When a friend or relative needs a temporary home
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2013, 04:42:35 PM »
I think that if the individual just ran out of unemplyment they would have been turning in proof of their job search. 


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Re: When a friend or relative needs a temporary home
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2013, 04:46:44 PM »
I don’t have the space now, and I’m not letting anyone sleep on my sofa or the floor (exception being an air mattress for the teen aged son of relatives in town for a week last summer.  He actually was fun and helped me with chores).

But often it’s a red flag if the person has a history of jobs that didn’t work out, no concrete prospects on the table, no friends or family who will take them in, relationship drama, and makes vague references about getting back on their feet.

I think renting a safe, clean room is preferable to staying with friends or relatives because it gives the person some independence.  Still not free, and there are drawbacks, but all things considered, imo, it’s a better arrangement.

« Last Edit: April 06, 2013, 04:49:00 PM by reflection5 »

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Re: When a friend or relative needs a temporary home
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2013, 04:53:26 PM »
Need to stay with me for a week or two after being hospitalized?  Sure.  We can do that.

Other than that, there might be certain very specific exceptions, but no.  I would not let anyone move in with me.  Overnight or for a few days with just a suitcase?  Maybe.  But no longer than that and absolutely NO FURNITURE or other "permanent" belongings.

I might  be willing to possibly pay a month (or three) rent for them until they can get on their feet.  I might also be willing to pick up extra groceries for them and let them come by once a week to do a couple of loads of laundry.

But no.  I don't want to ever live with anyone else and I don't want anyone else living with us. 


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Re: When a friend or relative needs a temporary home
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2013, 05:17:01 PM »
I remember when an uncle (who lived a strange. nomadic life) used to show up at various relative’s door every couple of years.  He was full of fascinating stories, (many which had to be embellished or just plain lies).  He stayed with my mother for a couple months (long after we moved out) and there was always the same pattern:  waiting on a check that had gotten misrouted, long-distance phone call bills, and (after he left) calls from women and creditors, and mail which Mom had to mark “return to sender”.  It got to where some people refused his (collect) calls and hid if they saw him coming.  A phone call network developed:  "Guess who is back in town?" (warning)

Actually "Strange Nomadic Relatives" would have been a good thread.  ;) Oh, well.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2013, 07:29:44 PM by reflection5 »


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Re: When a friend or relative needs a temporary home
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2013, 05:58:51 PM »
Would you allow a struggling friend or relative to move in temporarily?

Yes. With caveats.

A friend of mine was going through a divorce. She had no money for down payment/security deposit for an apartment of her own. She did have a full time job but was in major debt. So she was struggling for a while.

After discussion with LDH we agreed that it would be okay for her to live with us for a couple of months until she got back up on her own two feet. The agreement was that Friend would have to live around our schedule.

The only place we had for her to sleep was the living room couch. Or an air mattress in the basement. Her "closet" was in the basement, with her clothes hanging on the I-beams. It certainly was not the best "hosting" situation..

We didn't charge her rent . . . She was the perfect guest.

Once a week she bought groceries and made dinner. On the weekends she occasionally offered to watch the DDs so that LDH and I could go out on a date. At times she made herself scarce, at other times she joined in on the family fun.

All in all it was a good experience. I think that's mostly because Friend didn't take advantage of our rent-free hospitality. She knew the limitations before she moved in.

She ended up staying with us for 3 months.

If I were to do it again? If the Friend was as gracious as my friend was? Then my answer would be "YES!"

reflection5 -- you asked for negative/positive stories. I'm giving you a positive story. Sometimes having someone in dire straits moving in with you doesn't mean that the situation will turn out bad.


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Re: When a friend or relative needs a temporary home
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2013, 06:12:24 PM »
DH and I let a friend and her family stay with us for a few days. They had been staying with a different friend and his GF. They were supposed to be there for 2 months or so. They lasted 2 weeks. Then they had to leave in a hurry. After the second night with us, DH and I discussed it and decided they could stay for a week. No more. They only stayed about 4-5 nights, then they found an emergency shelter program. My sympathy level wasn't too high for them, they were homeless due to their own foolish decisions.


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Re: When a friend or relative needs a temporary home
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2013, 06:40:29 PM »
Well I imagine this depends on your politics. If you are a liberal you would not only give them your home, but cash assistance. If a conservative, you'd try your darndest to find them a job.


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Re: When a friend or relative needs a temporary home
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2013, 06:44:07 PM »
If it were one of my relatives, the answer is "Not a chance in hell".  If it were on of my DH's relatives it would depend on which one.

I've been burned more than once with my relatives...not paying what they agreed to, rearranging my furniture, purchasing many, many pay per view movies, eating all the food in the house, eating my packed lunch that was in my lunch box for work, fiddling constantly with my thermostat, leaving every light, TV, other electronics on through the entire house, having a garage sell and tried to sell my stuff, kept watching porn on my computer causing it to repeatedly crash...the list goes on.

For a friend, it depends on the friend and there would definitely be a contract/temporary lease involved.
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