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Family rental situation, and what do to after..


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So, I'll try to get right to it.

 

Currently I (oldest sibling) am helping my Mom (In her 60's) and my 3 younger siblings with a housing situation in which they are renting a 3 bedroom house.

Mom and I are the primary co-signers on the lease, with my credit and financial history being the main reason they were able to get the rental.

I have my own apartment across town, and am able to suppprt myself for now with my job in the software realm.

Mom has had issues with bankruptcies in the past with her late husband (my step-dad who passed about 3 years ago), and they ultimately lost their house.

They had a ton of financial issues due to his business with his twin brother that went south, but to summarize, they had zero savings, terrible financial planning, and

we are still dealing with the aftermath of it (debts, etc).

 

3 younger siblings (in the house with Mom) are:

Sister 2, 30 years old - 2nd oldest sister, she's a chef starting a new job.

Brother 1, 24 - younger brother - does not work, but is looking.

Sister 3, 18 - youngest sister, about to go to college.

 

(outside of house):

Sister 1, 33, married, lives with her husband, but is also a financial supporter of the family.

Me, 38, single, mostly just help out financially when needed.

 

Anyway, we are 1 year into a 2 year lease in this 3 bedroom house. Main question here really is what to do once the lease is up?

Mom is primarily living off of her social security and making money as a babysitter for Sister 1's youngest kids.

Sister 2 is about to start a new job, and so she is, ideally, going to help with a majority of remaining costs.

Any gaps that they can't fill when it comes to rent, etc, I fill in.

 

Ultimately, this is not sustainable as at some point Mom's babysitting services will no longer be needed.

Once the lease is done, Sister 2 may decide to move for work, or move in with a friend.

Ideally Brother 1 was supposed to move out with a friend ages ago, but he has had terrible luck finding a job and basically does not contribute (although he does help Mom with day to day activities, chores, driving, and helping with babysitting).

Sister 3 is about to go off to college as mentioned, and I can tell she is itching to get out of town and start her life. Can't exactly blame her.

 

So really, there are quite a few variables to account for.

 

For the remaining year of the lease, I am 100% fine with helping out as I currently am as far as helping with rent and bills.

But what happens after?

 

Should we:

1. Re-up a new lease? Seems like a possible option, assuming the owners agree. Although Mom doesn't like the house, and while its suiting our needs for now (since it was all we could get in the short timeframe), I can tell she doesn't like being there dealing with a rental.

2. Do we downsize Mom to a smaller house or apartment? (Not ideal, but could be doable...and again I would probably have to be one of the main names on the lease).

 

A lot of this hinges on what Sister 2 and Brother 1 decide to do with thier lives.

With the current economy, jobs are hard enough to come by. We are lucky to be where we are now even with everything that has gone on.

As mentioned Sister 2 is a chef, and is passionate about what she does. Unfortunately with covid, the food industry has taken a huge hit, so she's had a few rough patches.

She's talked about moving to a new city to work at a bigger restaurant, but that has not been fully decided yet. For now she's just sticking out this last year. She's mentioned in passing that she would likely live with Mom for the next few years...but somehow I doubt this.

 

For Brother 1, if he decides to move out, honestly I would be happily surprised. It would mean he has a job and has financial stability. The problem is that since he's graduated high school, he's had no interest in doing anything at all. He's worked a few retail and warehouse jobs, and has toyed with the idea of "working with his hands" (e.g. woodworking or blacksmithing) but ultimately has really not made any significant strides toward this. I have thought of talking to him about maybe joining the military (since it would take care of his finances, insurance, give him a skill, etc) but am worried it would just come off the wrong way. He's dealt with sensory issues his whole life, and I wonder if that has something to do with his capacity to really go out and be on his own. He is really close with Mom and helps her out a ton. And while I am grateful that he is helpful, I ultimately would like for him to go out and live his own life. His best friend (the one he was supposed to move in with) is a huge pot-head. And while there's nothing inherently wrong with that (aside from it still being illegal in my state), he doesn't really seem to have much drive to do anything at all besides smoke with his friend. Maybe I'm being harsh...

And don't get me wrong, I've had many talks with him 1 on 1 about what his goals are and what he wants to do... He talks a good game, but I just don't see the execution. I want him to be happy but I also wonder if maybe there's something that he can't quite figure out yet. Then again...when I was his age, I didn't exactly have things figured out either.

 

As for Mom, she's had a lot of issues with her health and I have concerns for any type of scenario where she is living alone. She's basically always had one of her kids with her

helping out around the house and I just don't know what she would do without one of us there. From the financial perspective, I've resigned myself to the fact that I will probably have to help her out for the rest of her life in some form or fashion. Since step-dad died, she's been a trooper as far as trying her best and trying to go on with her life...but I can tell its still hard for her just to get through an entire day.

 

What bugs me somewhat is the notion of the rental and not having anything that we can call "ours" to build upon. Losing our house (the one we had with step-dad) was

really tough as we were there for the last 15+ years and had to downsize in a hurry when the foreclosure came down. I was able to scramble and help them move, put things in storage, and transition...but as I mentioned...this is not sustainable.

 

As much as I want to help out, I can't do this for the rest of my life. I simply will run out of resources.

 

I have had a thought of possibly buying them a house so that we can have something to put value into, but this seems like a bad idea for a multitude of reasons.

 

I am going to the rental tomorrow to discuss with Mom and Sister 2 about what our gameplan might be for the upcoming year.

 

I figured I'd at least bring this up here and see if anyone has any suggestions.

 

I think the main plan would be to have them downsize...as much as I hate the idea of financing another move (and no doubt about it, it would be me financing it).

This is of course assuming that either Brother 1 or Sister 2 move out. If not, then I suppose it would make sense to try and stay in the 3 bedroom.

 

Since I'm single, I see it as my duty to help them out as much as possible. If I had a wife and kids, it might be a different story, though I'd obviously still try to do what I could for my Mom.

 

Anyway, any advice would be appreciated. Thanks everyone.

Edited by Guitarguy_82
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Sorry I actually haven't read the whole post because I kinda formed an opinion on it before I finished reading the post lol Just in regards to this: "Since I'm single, I see it as my duty to help them out as much as possible. If I had a wife and kids, it might be a different story, though I'd obviously still try to do what I could for my Mom." It's nice to help out here and there, but you don't actually have to pay their rent. They have to work and pay the rent themselves. They are all adults, even the 18-year-old. Do they all put in for the rent and bills? It should be very simple - whoever lives in that place has to pay all the rent and bills. There are four of them there so surely between the four they can cover it? Even the 18-year-old could have had a little side job. If she moves out for college, that's different. By constantly helping out financially you are enabling your siblings to think that they don't need to provide for themselves.

 

So what if you're single, who cares? So are all your siblings except one sister. That doesn't mean they can just bludge off you. They all need to get a job and pay their own way.

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Hmm reminds me of a situation a friend of mine had with her family. Her mom relied on her father forever and stayed home raising kids. Later on, she kept the kids living with her "to help" way past the time they should have been out. She was and is a highly dependent woman.

When he asked for a divorce, there wasn't anything but a boatload of debts. The family home had to be sold.

I remember sitting around my friends kitchen table, and her mom talking to her about wanting to rent in this fancy complex and have her sister ( unemployed) live with her cause she couldn't be alone. My friend was trying to get across in the most diplomatic way possible that " mom, you're broke. You can't afford it and it's not feasible for me to cover this". Said much softer though!

Her mom didn't get it, and it sounds like your mom doesn't either. That SHE is responsible for herself.

In my friends case, she was able to save the family home by bailing her out, but it was after a lot of deliberation on my friends part on what would be the most cost effective long term in making sure her mom didn't end up on the street. She had to factor in entire long term care and housing for her mom, and she pays essentials directly.

Her mom does in fact live alone, with frequent visits, and yes she complains but grown children need to live lives of their own. And she wasn't going to pay for her sister.

So think about the longer term here. If your mom isn't competent to care for herself, for whatever reasons, it's time to cut the fat so you can be there for preventing dire straights in the future AND build something for yourself.

Gather all resources, and create a retirement and end of life care plan for your mom. Hard to deal with and talk about, no joke. But that's what the bottom line is.

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My thought is there is a big difference between supporting and enabling and you've crossed that line with your siblings.

 

Your mom needs to downsize to either one bed or studio. Look into adult/senior type apartments as they tend to be cheaper and also nicer. You all need to come up with a long term plan on how to support/supplement her as needed. However, it needs to be realistic with emphasis on affordable.

 

There is no reason why your 24 year old brother isn't working. You live in Texas, soooo I know good and well just how many jobs are available and hiring right now. Banners on buildings desperate for employees, so don't bs yourself about "it's hard right now". It might not be the job that he wants or even a career, but he absolutely can get a job that pays his bills and enables him to move out and live on his own.

 

In fact, a friend's son did exactly that. Had a hard time getting a professional job out of college, so he worked warehouse for over a year. Meanwhile kept looking. He got hired to an awesome higher than average paying position precisely because they were impressed with his work ethic and willingness to do what it takes even if it's not pleasant or easy.

 

In your shoes, I wouldn't even consider extending a lease of the 3 bed and make it clear to all of them that it's time to grow up and move on and they have until the end of the lease to make arrangements that don't involve mooching off you.

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Your mother can apply for social housing since she is a senior and has limited income. The wait might be a year for them to find her a place, so it's about timing...get her on the list now. As for finances, her bank or a financial service can set up a plan for her so you all don't have to shell out anymore money.

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Thanks everyone for the replies thus far. Really helped me open my eyes to the reality of what we're dealing with.

 

As for enabling, I would unfortunately have to agree that I'm guilty of that somewhat. I think when we had to scramble and downsize from the house to this current rental, I knew I was going to have to help them out for that transition. Storage units, moving cots, as well as the actual physical move, etc. Those were individual events which I thought were needed at the time.

 

As for the monthly rent and bills, up until sister 2 lost her job, it was just her and Mom paying for all of that. I would only help out here and there if they asked me directly...and even then it would be for something small. But overall, I totally agree, we need a more sustainable situation where everyone that lives under that roof is able to contribute.

 

I told them as much when they first moved in a year ago and even helped them set up a mock budget online... I think they dismissed that for whatever reason. As I said, Mom had a bad history with step-dad as far as finances and planning things out long-term. Sort of why we are in this situation in the first place.

 

As for the end of lease, and any possible renewal...I agree that continuing forward would be a disaster. They need to figure out their own situation. Ideally youngest sister will go off to college, and as for sister 2 and brother....I really don't know what they will do. I have high hopes for sister 2 since she is a great chef and really has a great drive for that...but as for my younger brother...I really don't know else what to say to him as far as telling him how to get his life together. As I mentioned in my original post, I've had many many long talks with him about this specific subject and it all just seems to go in one ear and out the other. I will urge him to keep looking though.

 

I hadn't considered the senior housing scenario for Mom, and that sounds like it could be a good option. I think her health is still something I would worry about though. And the thought of being alone is something I think she would have to really digest for a while before she would sign up for it.

 

 

Again, thanks for the insights. I really needed to have some outside opinions on this.

 

Any other stories or similar experiences are welcomed as well.

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I would consider telling them that there is an end date. . such as the end of lease to this ongoing arrangement.

Give them notice which will give them time to get their affairs in order. You can't be soley responsible for all these people.

Pull back on all the financial assistance and will be surprised how resiliant people will become when their feet touch the fire.

As long as you carry most the weight, there isn't much motivation to.

In the long run you will be doing them a favor when they figure how how to be self sufficient adults. To the degree in which you think you are helping, you are actually enabling them.

I would limit my support to my mother, but to the degree in which she really needs it. Her history is a shame but you shouldn't be the price for the bad choices that were made. You could see that somehow she is comfortable and safe on her own, but close by with the collective support of her children.

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I'm not sure why your sister or you can't take your mother in. This may be a cultural thing. The rest of the siblings need to start supporting themselves (sister 2 and brother).

 

Is the youngest planning to move out of state or far away? My concern is your youngest sister even though I think it's not something that you have the time or resources to think about right now. She's vulnerable, only 18 and probably feeling the greatest pressure being the last child with the least amount of autonomy and experience compared to her older siblings. I would have a good talk with her.

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Have mom move in with Sister 1 in exchange for babysitting and a small fee.

Have Sister 2 move to the city to get a job.

Have Brother 1 get a job doing anything under the sun, and move in with you

Have Sister 3 go to college, and when visiting, stay with Sister 1 and You

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Focus on your mother getting the appropriate housing, social services and help. Let the siblings figure out their own lives, budgets etc.

I hadn't considered the senior housing scenario for Mom, and that sounds like it could be a good option. I think her health is still something I would worry about though.
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In terms of your younger brother - necessity is the greatest teacher. Right now he thinks he can always get by mooching off you, others, his mom, so motivation is zero. Don't try to lecture him, instead tell him very directly - "I can't afford to support the situation anymore. Lease ends at x time, after that you are on your own completely." Be emphatic about that and leave him to figure out his life. Step aside and your silence might be more eloquent than any lecturing. Either way, you actually have to be mentally prepared to let him fall on his face if that's what it takes for him to wake up and start taking things seriously. Your other sister seems to be set in terms of she already landed a job and chefs do make a good living, especially talented ones. Your youngest is off to college and sounds like rearing to go. The only trouble is really your brother and you really do need to let him fall on his own sword.

 

Senior communities, 55+ type communities are really great in terms of being very social. Again, it varies from place to place a lot so you have to look around quite a bit, but they can be great if you find the right fit. A small personal place when she wants to relax plus a nice mix of activities and social life might be just right for her. I have an aunt living in a community like that and she loves it. At first she was dubious, but it wasn't really an option, now she wouldn't trade it for the world. Made friends, they cook, they socialize, they have hobby classes, entertainment, etc, etc, etc. She has a more active social life than the rest of us combined. Quite eye opening. So not so much living alone, as enjoying her retirement. Frame it like that.

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Sorry -- unless your brother is developmentally disabled, you let everyone figure things out for themselves with maybe the exception of the 18 year old who is graduating. I think that after the lease is up and your mother has had this positive rental experience under her belt, mom should get a place by herself with perhaps an extra cot or nook when the 18 year old is not in school. There are plenty of senior apartments who accept seniors with low income. I don't mean assisted living or a senior "community" necessarily because those are expensive. Let your brother figure it out - he has to sponge off your other siblings if they let him or find his own way -- or he will get sick of sleeping on mom's floor.

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I'd tell Mom that I'm willing to take her to social services to sign up for senior housing for next year, and if she won't do that, then she'll need to work out her next lease with whoever else in the family she believes can help her get the credit and pay the rent.

 

I'd be willing to take on the villain role in order to 'help' everyone else in the family to step up and take over whatever hero role they might wish to adopt for themselves--including Mom.

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