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Boyfriend's Dad Has No Boundaries


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Thanks in advance for reading.... my boyfriend and I have been together 3 years and live together. His parents own the apartment building we live in, but they live about an hour away. My boyfriend and I pay the highest rent in the building, which we can barely afford, but this is to make up for all the other apartments where they charge very little because they are family friends of my boyfriend's father. Our rent is still technically low for our location, so that is how we justify it with ourselves, and why we don't just move elsewhere.

 

His father has keys to our apartment (as he is our landlord), and enters without knocking multiple times a week. I am in my 20s and my boyfriend's father is in his early 70s. He is conservative, there is a language barrier, and we are not close. So even on a good day, it is awkward when he walks in. One can imagine how this has posed significant obstacles in my relationship, and also just as a person renting an apartment.

 

My boyfriend has tried talking to his father about this, saying it is unacceptable, and to at least call before he comes over. This has been to no avail. They even got in a huge blowout argument about it about a month ago, but the behavior did not change for even one day. We've talked about changing the locks, but that just feels wrong to us. We'll be lucky if he so much as knocks on our front door, and even if he knocks, he lets himself in immediately (like a courtesy knock).

 

I'm just curious as to how others would act in this situation where we feel we can't take action in any direction without being total villains. Keep in mind, his dad is not coming in to "hang out" with us, he's usually coming in to use the bathroom and look around the apartment for a few minutes, leave, and then usually comes back an hour later to do it again before he goes home. We keep the apartment sparkling clean, I have to have the dishes done at all times (per my boyfriend's request) in case his dad comes over. And also you can imagine how awkward this is concerning sex/masturbation/changing clothes/just wanting to be comfortable in your house and enjoy privacy. All replies appreciated!

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If you are paying rent, there are laws governing this. A landlord can never just enter an apt. When you pay rent, you enter a legal contract. It's your "home' to which you have the right to "quiet enjoyment of the premises". It's that simple. Your bf needs a spine and you need a locksmith to install a deadbolt and chain. Your bf's father is not a mere pain in the butt, he's breaking the law. You need to start looking up tenant/landlord laws and start enacting them. Stop pretending it's a cultural problem when it's actually a legal problem.

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Personally, I would find a new place. That living situation sounds terrible, and it's nice that your boyfriend tries to stick up for your privacy but it's clear it isn't going to change. If you're set on staying, buy a traveler's lock (or some other temporary lock) and use it when you're home. It won't stop him from snooping when you aren't in, but there are no countries or states where temporary locks are illegal in rental units, and it will certainly keep him out! If he gets upset, so what! You're 100% within your rights to use a temporary lock.

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I'm just curious as to how others would act in this situation.

I would walk around nude all day and let him catch me as such. :tongue:

 

Put bucket of water above the door so when he barges in it spills on his head... :tongue:

 

Go to your landlord/tenant tribunal and ask for a print out of your rights and obligations and tape it to the door of your unit... :tongue:

 

Seriously though: Put a chain lock on the door so at the very least you have a warning that he's about to enter (so you can get dressed if you're nude Ha!

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In this situation I would begin looking for a new place to move to ASAP. In my opinion, paying lower rent is not worth such an extreme violation of my privacy. There are ways to find places that both you and your boyfriend can afford. Get a couple of roommates and split the cost of rent amongst all of you, if necessary.

 

Moving out is probably your best option as far as resolving this problem without further straining your relationship with the father/landlord. If he were not your boyfriend's father, I might also have suggested that you could take legal action (many states have rules that specify circumstances when a landlord may enter a tenant’s rental unit and the amount of notice required for such entry) but if you go the legal route, it will certainly result in a lot of tension and family drama. Best to avoid all of that and devote all of your efforts into finding a new place to live.

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I would walk around nude all day and let him catch me as such

 

Actually what prompted me to post this today was that he walked in this morning while I was changing my bra... he gave me a stern look and then continued to the bathroom! and I ended up being the embarrassed one!

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I'd resist the urge to claim your right to the apartment. He's the owner and he is also (by extension) to be considered family. The second part of that sentence poses more trouble than it's worth.

 

Learn to pick your battles wisely if you intend to spend your life or future with your boyfriend. Putting a deadbolt on the front door may pose some issues in the contract if you are not permitted to damage the property or alter it in any way. Again, pick your battles.

 

Be a bit more grown up about this, find a different apartment (possibly in a less popular area of town and not the expensive hub, for example) and grow out of living under the wing of any parents. You are appearing bratty and a bit self-entitled even though I'm sure you both see yourself as adults. At the end of the day you are paying lower rent than the surrounding area's tenants or what other apartments are worth. It may be time to take a good hard look at your finances/budgeting and live more within your means. This may be a big wake up call to you and your boyfriend and an indicator that neither of you are actually self-sufficient or making it in any sense of the word.

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Simple solution is put in a chain or blind deadbolt so when you are at home, he can't just walk in like that. In most places, this is actually a legal safety/security requirement for any rental property and landlords can be fined and penalized for failing to install such.

 

Anyway, you are a paying tenant and as such, are entitled to privacy and other formal rights regardless of the relationship with the landlord. If the man will not adjust his attitude even after multiple confrontations, you guys aren't villains for installing an interior lock you can use when you are home to protect yourselves.

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Thank you for your reply. My boyfriend is in his 40s, which is why this feels so ridiculous to us, and I have supported myself since age 18. That's why it sucks every day to feel like we're 12 even though we're both working to contribute most of the building's rent.

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Actually what prompted me to post this today was that he walked in this morning while I was changing my bra... he gave me a stern look and then continued to the bathroom! and I ended up being the embarrassed one!

 

Unfortunately.....it's rather possible that he actually gets off on this and does what he does precisely because of the thrill of sometimes walking in and getting "lucky". Put on an interior lock or get out of there. This man is more than without boundaries, he is creepy af.

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I agree it's time to find your own place together that is not owned by family.

This will establish a more equal footing and position to be treated more as an equal rather than the sons gf who is living in their building.

In your own place, you can establish whatever boundaries you want. There are always strings when a favour is done, a cost , and this blurring of lines can be cut by ending the continued assistance ( in the form of cheap rent and not having to go through regular hoops) from his father.

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Actually what prompted me to post this today was that he walked in this morning while I was changing my bra... he gave me a stern look and then continued to the bathroom! and I ended up being the embarrassed one!

 

Don't be embarrassed, flaunt those puppies, Pinky. He's rude and should be made to be the one that feels uncomfortable.

 

P.S. *get that privacy lock, pronto* not a deadbolt. Its against the landlord/tenant act here in Ontario to put such a lock on your unit. It's also against the LL/T act to not give a key (if there is one to be had) to any lock placed on the door. A chain lock has no key hole nor key needed so it would at least stop him from just coming in and he would have to wait until you opened it for him.

 

You should really read the lease... Do you have one with him?

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I don't know how tenant laws work in your state, but where I live, you're not allowed to just change the lock without notice to the owner or their approval.

 

I know it sucks, but I think the only solution to your problem here is to look for a new place. The increased rent won't be the best, but at least you'll have privacy and peace of mind.

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What would I do? I'd move. And while I were getting my ducks in a row in that endeavor, I'd install a chain lock. Unfortunately, if it's not a breach of property law, it will be a breach in 99.99% of the leases out there to change out a lock without the property owner having access. Give him as little fuel as possible, particularly if you want to go the legal route.

 

And yes, it's obviously illegal if there isn't an emergency. The big question is what kind of time and money do you want to sink in to have your rights legally enforced? If you're off work for the season with more money than you know what to do with, by all means go crazy and deal with the drama of legal threats and, likely, lawyers. And then what's your big reward? Saving a few hundred bucks a months living in Bushwick while your and your boyfriend's relationship with the guy and perhaps his family is shot to ****? None of it's worth it.

 

Honestly, the only investment I might make a goal would be dropping a few hundred bucks to cam and mic the apartment entry and use the documentation to support you breaking the lease should he be the one so petty as to make it a legal headache. Then feel free to go through all the hoops and drama you would have before. Consult a lawyer either way. Or at the very least a tenants rights advocacy group. They're a dime a dozen in NYC.

Edited by j.man
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We do not have a lease (although we've been trying to draw one up with him for almost a year, but he keeps saying it isn't necessary). In terms of laws, we live in NYC, and most of the laws are in the tenant's favor here.

 

You are not in a financial position to be able to move so just get the chain lock (discuss with hubby first so you are BOTH in agreement about installing it) which will stop him from just barging in. He can still come and go as he pleases when you're not there but at least he won't catch you changing while you are there. I'd get that cam as well to see what he's actually doing while there and why he needs to be in there so damn often.

 

Good luck.

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I don't know how tenant laws work in your state, but where I live, you're not allowed to just change the lock without notice to the owner or their approval.

 

I know it sucks, but I think the only solution to your problem here is to look for a new place. The increased rent won't be the best, but at least you'll have privacy and peace of mind.

 

You cannot change locks, but you can add a blind deadbolt or a chain or equivalent. Basically, something you can use only while you are inside the unit. There are also laws requiring the landlord to give 24 hours notice before entering. Again, in many places, the interior only extra lock or chain is required by law.

 

I keep emphasizing landlord, because that is what this is. This is an apartment building and a formal lease of one of the apartments. This is not a situation where the OP is living in the parent's home. This is a business and needs to be treated as such. The guy's father has certain legal obligations to all his tenants regardless of being friends, relatives, etc. The personal relationship level is actually irrelevant here.

 

Without a written lease, you are month to month tenants. You still have all tenant rights with the exception that you can leave with 30 day notice...also get evicted with same or less. In short, if you want to put effort into finding a better place to live and succeed, you can get out easily and quickly.

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We do not have a lease (although we've been trying to draw one up with him for almost a year, but he keeps saying it isn't necessary). In terms of laws, we live in NYC, and most of the laws are in the tenant's favor here.
I can guarantee there's no tenant-sided law in NYC that would permit you to physically restrict the property owner access to his property by changing locks. However, if you're not on a lease, that makes moving out that much easier. Both you and your boyfriend need to put on your grown-up pants and properly rent a place that isn't a family connection.
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Don't be embarrassed, flaunt those puppies, Pinky. He's rude and should be made to be the one that feels uncomfortable. P.S. *get that privacy lock, pronto* not a deadbolt.

 

Hahaha thanks for your feedback! That was my attitude in the beginning, but after seeing how he only judged me, did not show embarrassment, and continued the behavior, I've become much more sheepish and terrified of him walking in on anything. And yes -- the privacy lock is my favorite idea so far. It's highly unlikely that my boyfriend would approve putting on a deadbolt anyway, but a short-term privacy lock at least while I'm home alone would be great.

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This is a business and needs to be treated as such. The guy's father has certain legal obligations to all his tenants regardless of being friends, relatives, etc. The personal relationship level is actually irrelevant here.

 

Thanks so much for your feedback. Yes--that is the way I see it as well. I have been sympathetic to seeing it from my boyfriend's POV since it's his father, but they also don't have a good relationship (not surprising). I know that I need to keep checking myself because I've been fortunate to come from a family that, for the most part, communicated well, and parents who would *never* put me in this position. I understand that isn't everyone's experience, and that my boyfriend was raised in a family with few boundaries, and a home that often crossed over into abusive. This is a complex I can't even begin to understand, as often as I may try, and I think that these psychological effects have a lot to do with my bf not wanting to leave the apartment (even at times in the past when we have been able to afford to). I've been extremely disappointed to witness his father's unacceptable behavior directly affect my bf into his 40s, and our relationship. Thanks again for your feedback, I appreciate the perspective that the personal relationship is irrelevant, because it should be.

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Thanks so much for your feedback. Yes--that is the way I see it as well. I have been sympathetic to seeing it from my boyfriend's POV since it's his father, but they also don't have a good relationship (not surprising). I know that I need to keep checking myself because I've been fortunate to come from a family that, for the most part, communicated well, and parents who would *never* put me in this position. I understand that isn't everyone's experience, and that my boyfriend was raised in a family with few boundaries, and a home that often crossed over into abusive. This is a complex I can't even begin to understand, as often as I may try, and I think that these psychological effects have a lot to do with my bf not wanting to leave the apartment (even at times in the past when we have been able to afford to). I've been extremely disappointed to witness his father's unacceptable behavior directly affect my bf into his 40s, and our relationship. Thanks again for your feedback, I appreciate the perspective that the personal relationship is irrelevant, because it should be.

So, what are you going to do about it, Pinky?

 

Let us know what your boyfriend says about that privacy lock.

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I would’ve told him to get out the minute he walked in, then put a dead bolt on the door.

 

That’s not being a villain, that’s just maintaining a pretty reasonable boundary.

 

I agree! Get a lock on that door. This is an easy solution. You can also move to Jersey for cheaper rent.

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