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Author Topic: And another request: "3rd" child moving in  (Read 14037 times)

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And another request: "3rd" child moving in
« on: January 14, 2014, 01:52:38 AM »
Please be patient, my question is coming after the BG:

When my kids were growing up, they had a friend their age who lived in the neighborhood. This child spent a lot of time with us, and I began to refer to her as my third child. Her parents were very strict when she was at home, but had no problem if she was at another house. (I think it was more of a shut them in their room so they don't bother me type of thing.)

Anyways, she is now in her mid-twenties. She had moved to another state to live with her sister after she lost her job here. She is now back to go to school via unemployment benefits. Her plans to live here fell through, so my daughter asked if she could stay with me. (She has a small dog, otherwise my daughter would let her stay with her, and it's not allowed where she lives.)

On a side note, her mother will not give her or her sisters the address where she lives. Her father has a new girlfriend and pretty much ignores his daughters and grandchildren from the older daughters.

She is a good kid, and wants to work and find a permanent place to live. She knows this is just temporary.

So, I've lived by myself for a number of years. Is it ok for me to establish rules? I am not charging her rent.  I really don't think she is a guest as I'm helping her out so she won't be homeless. I don't want her to have guests, I want her to clean up after her pet. She needs to purchase her own food as I am on dietary restrictions. Help!


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Re: And another request: "3rd" child moving in
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2014, 02:00:50 AM »
you sound like a really good person and i just don't want to see this go terribly wrong, but this sounds very much like the beginnings of many a "judge judy" case: "of course we didn't sign a lease, i was just helping her out", "i've known her since she was 10; she's like another child", etc.

I think what you should do is treat this as a rental situation (even if you don't actually charge rent), and establish ground rules - not as in "i'm your [other] mom and as long as you're under my roof you'll do what i say" but as in "we are two adults living together and it makes sense to agree on ground rules: who cleans up after the dog, what happens in personal space/public space, can either of you have overnight guests, what her move out date is, who buys food, etc. I *would* charge her some kind of rent - even just to cover the extra utilities/food/heat you will incur.

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Re: And another request: "3rd" child moving in
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2014, 02:11:23 AM »
I think that I want to establish points right off the bat. In lieu of rent, she will be cleaning (and I know from the past she does an excellent job).

My daughter says her little dog is quiet, and since I live in a duplex, that will be the line for me.

I'm just nervous after living alone for so long. On the upside, I work 4 to midnight, (and I trust her) so hopefully it will not be too much of an intrusion on my life. (I would  be feeling the same way if my younger biological daughter asked to move in.)


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Re: And another request: "3rd" child moving in
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2014, 02:31:33 AM »
that's fine - all i'm suggesting is you write out an agreement and spell it all out - and write "in lieu of rent, Child will clean the house as follows: once a week will deep-clean all the bathrooms, dust and vacuum the entire house. Child will be responsible for taking out trash and recycling. Kitchen - once a week wipe down the fridge, stove  blah blah blah" And since you don't know how it's going to work out, start out on a trial basis for a week or a month and take it from there. again - in writing.

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Re: And another request: "3rd" child moving in
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2014, 02:58:19 AM »
I think it might be wise to require one of two things--either that she put away a predetermined amount of money each month, even if it as low as $25.  Or, she needs to get a job, put away a little money and pay her share of the utilities.
It is my observation that resentment can build when one does a gigantic favor for someone else and that person squanders it even if it is in small ways.

She needs to use your help for her as a springboard to her own independent life.


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Re: And another request: "3rd" child moving in
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2014, 05:00:54 AM »
Cosigning other posters. There is absolutely nothing at all wrong with establishing a number of perimeters to structure this situation, including, but not limited to: a firm move-out date, household chores or help, savings in lieu of rent paid, and especially, a signed lease outlining basic rules (no overnight guests, no smoking, quiet hours between 11-8, etc.) This legally protects BOTH of you. After all, what happens if she moves in, and everything is going swimmingly, and you are hit by a car? She could be forced to vacate immediately if there is nothing in writing indicating she is legally a tenant and would have certain rights.

After seeing my brother burned by this more than once, I cannot emphasize this enough: BEGIN AS YOU MEAN TO GO ON. I know you'll want to be "nice" by doing her laundry that one time, or not knowing how to say no when she shows up with a date and asks if it's okay if this stranger has dinner with you and spends the night. But keep your spine shiny and practice scripts for saying no. It is absolutely your right to do so.


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Re: And another request: "3rd" child moving in
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2014, 05:03:00 AM »
I think you are asking for trouble!



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Re: And another request: "3rd" child moving in
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2014, 05:28:28 AM »
Begin as you mean to go on, so absolutely set ground rules, preferably in writing, which make clear what expectations you each have.

I would suggest that you consider having a fixed time periods for her to stay with you, or at the very least that your ground rules specifically include one which says that you can ask her to leave at any time, and that you agree to give her a certain amount of notice.

Talk to a lawyer to make sure that you are quite clear on whether she would at any stage have any legal rights and if so, address this.

I agree that some rent, even at a nominal level, might be a good idea as it does keep the dynamic on a more formal basis


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Re: And another request: "3rd" child moving in
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2014, 06:58:07 AM »
I agree with those who say set up the rules in advance and IN WRITING.  Since you have been living alone, you might also want to address the idea of private areas/alone time expectations on both sides--eating together, not talking when you first get home from work, whatever.  And I'd do it face to face--if she seems reluctant about any of your requests (which seem reasonable), that's a good red flag for you.  Make sure she brings the dog, as well--it will be a tenant, too, so you need to see its behavior for yourself.  I'd also set a time limit--this agreement is for 60 days, for example, and have a meeting.  If it's working, renew.  If not, out and no bad feelings on either side.

And all worries aside, what a generous thing for you to do.  I hope this works out, and you can comfortably give her this help with her education.


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Re: And another request: "3rd" child moving in
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2014, 07:36:54 AM »
Agree with the other advice about rules in writing and creating some type if rent. But if monetary is not possible it can be labor in lieu of rent. So yard work or house work she is responsible for completing weekly and if she doesn't then she must pay the equivalent in rent.

Make it a business relationship as much as possible. It will most likely make her feel more comfortable knowing exactly what is expected.

She's probably wondering, will I be able to use the kitchen, should I offer to do laundry, do I get to use the tv in the den? But she would feel odd asking as you are doing the favor.


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Re: And another request: "3rd" child moving in
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2014, 08:11:32 AM »
The thing I'm noticing is that you say you don't want her to have guests but that you work from 8pm to midnight and you trust her.

Do you mean romantic, overnight guests or even just pals hanging out in the evening?  Is she never to have a friend over for dinner or cards, even if you're not there to be bothered?


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Re: And another request: "3rd" child moving in
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2014, 08:23:32 AM »
By all means establish rules!

Check out this topic for ideas on rules.
What seems perfectly obvious to you may not be to them.

Also do some due diligence on why the mom won't give her the address. It is an issue with the mom or the child? 

When do you expect her to move out?  What do you expect her to be doing to move out?  (e.g., Work/find work to save up $1000 for deposit or save up $100 per week or finish the semester or whatever.) 

Also you could say that staying with you is contingent upon her continuing schooling.

How would you feel if you see her buying a bunch of DVDs instead of saving? Perhaps you might ask her to create a budget.

If you do chores in lieu of rent, then write down the chores and say when you expect them to be done.    By Wednesday night, the following tasks are to be completed:  X, Y, Z

Agree on what will happen if she does not do the chores/clean up after her pet.

Like other say, come up with a list of "topics" and then talk with her about them. 
So decide ahead of time what is okay with you.  For deal breakers, mention them ahead of time.
"No overnight guests, no smoking, no drugs, no new pets.  If that is not good for you, then you staying here won't work out."

For more optional things, you could say
"I like to watch TV in the living room.  I will make a list of shows/times I watch. At other times feel free to use the TV."
"If you have people over, I would expect them to leave by X:00.  If you need to study as a group later than that, then the library might be best."
"i go shopping on tuesdays, so let me know if you want to go with me."

« Last Edit: January 14, 2014, 08:28:28 AM by bopper »


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Re: And another request: "3rd" child moving in
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2014, 08:50:45 AM »
I agree with the others.

Don't treat this as a child moving in. She isn't your child, and even if she were, she's in her twenties, and does not need a parent. She needs a landlord.

Make a written agreement. And make sure you cover all the things that are important to you. Don't assume that "Oh, she'd know not to do that! I don't even have to mention it." She may well think that "that" is ok with you; it sounds like she's been independent up to now, so she may be used to doing her own thing in her own home.

If you can remember she's not a child, nor a guest, and think of her as a stranger who's renting a room, I think things will go relatively smoothly.
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Re: And another request: "3rd" child moving in
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2014, 09:01:02 AM »
I highly recommend spelling out the rules in writing before she moves in. I also HIGHLY recommend you find out what the tenancy/landlord laws are in your area also before she moves in. You will want this info in case the situation goes to heck in a hand basket and you want her out. It would stink if that happened and she had become your tenant legally and you had to evict her. That's a mess and a half.


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Re: And another request: "3rd" child moving in
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2014, 09:07:29 AM »
I also think you should cover some financial areas.  It's probably a good idea if she helps cover some of the expenses, especially if there's an extra fee for extra cable/satellite for her room, internet access, or private land line, which are probably expenses you're not going to want to take on.  I think "no friends at all" is a little extreme, not that you don't have a right to place that restriction, but you might want to consider quiet times, not too many people, or no overnight guests, no parties.  Would it be so bad if one or two people come over to watch a favorite show once a week and make dinner or study?