Landlady and DM/MIL one and the same

(79 Posts)
TeenyW123 Fri 26-Apr-13 08:37:01

That's me.

My son and his partner found out they were expecting a baby last summer. They did the rounds trying to find somewhere to live - council waiting list was 6 months plus, private rentals were either slums, or if they found a house with potential, it was gone in a flash every time they enquired or tried to put in an offer.

To cut a long story short, my husband and I bought them a house they liked, in an area that wasn't too bad. They have signed a rental agreement and although we are proper landlords, we are also their family.

6 months down the line, they have turned the house into a slum. I went today to pick up my 5 1/2 month old grandchild and the floors are covered in bits (a dog that chews everything), there isn't a kitchen surface without dirty crocks, pots and pans - actually, you can't see the kitchen unit surfaces at all, and the stuff is so yuk and dried on it could be up to 2 weeks old! The toilet is absolutely minging, likewise the bathroom sink. These are my observations just from walking through the house to the toilet, not poking or moving things at all.

If DiL had worked before having the baby she would be on ML now, and I know how hard it is with a small baby. The general consensus on MN is that the housework can go b*gger itself, but I consider the state of the house to be bordering on a health hazard - salmonella and e.coli from the food lying around, cockroaches and rats ditto.

I've had a look through the tenancy agreement and apart from keeping the glass clean inside and out and general maintenance etc there's nothing specific about cleanliness and hygiene. I am, however, aware that a landlord's inspection is not unreasonable, and I could use it to highlight my concerns and use it to get the place decent.

BUT, they obviously don't see a problem with the way they live. I've been to DiL's parent's house and while it was slightly better than the rented house, it's still way below my standards. And I'm not a very house proud person; each household job, e.g. vacuuming and dusting is done approx once a week, kitchen sorted every 1 or 2 days, just enough to keep on top of it. It isn't that hard, and I'm a bit of a slob too!

How do I handle it so I don't upset (hardly) anyone?


TeenyW123 Fri 26-Apr-13 08:50:50

Oops! Before I get flamed, I know my son should pull his weight. He works full time and he occasionally makes noises about cleaning this and tidying that, but he's famous for telling me what I want to hear and often stretches the truth.

I want both of them to take a bit of pride in their home.


Lj8893 Fri 26-Apr-13 08:53:29

Hmm it's a difficult one. Is there maybe someone you could hire to do an inspection for you? Therefore slightly putting the onus on them rather than you.
I don't know if such people/businesses exist!

I think some sort of inspection does need to happen though, although it is jut going to get worse and worse, and not only is it unhygienic from a DM point of view, it is awful from a landlords point of view.....eventually you may need to resell/relet the property and the worse they make it the more work you would need to do to it.

Saying that, I don't like the fact you seem to have put all the responsibility on your DIL?! Surely its a joint responsibility, housework?

Crinkle77 Fri 26-Apr-13 08:54:31

The thing is if they don't keep the place clean then the fixtures and fittings (carpets, paintwork etc...) will deteriorate which will evebntually cost you money to replace if it is not maintained. Could you have a quiet word with your son about it?

Lj8893 Fri 26-Apr-13 08:54:48

Sorry x post, glad you noticed your mistake on not mentioning your son!

TeenyW123 Fri 26-Apr-13 08:56:22

X posted. I was trying to give her an excuse for not having housework at the top of her list. I just omitted to mention shared responsibility.


DeepRedBetty Fri 26-Apr-13 08:57:46

I can't see how you can do this without damaging your relationship, unless, have you taken out a landlord's mortgage to buy this place? In which case, can you make them believe that it's the Bank that is forcing you to make this inspection and have this report done, and something awful will happen with insurance or something like that if the internal mess isn't dealt with?

CloudsAndTrees Fri 26-Apr-13 08:57:48

If they have signed a proper rental agreement then they are allowed to keep the house as messy as they like. I assume they are paying rent?

As long as they don't actually damage anything that belongs to you as part of the house, then they can do what they want. They are not obliged to live by your standards of cleanliness just because you are their landlord.

I agree that you should have some sort of inspection to ensure that the mess and dirt is only only the surface, and if it isn't, charge them for whatever needs to be done.

LIZS Fri 26-Apr-13 09:00:18

Short answer is you can't and mixing family with rental is always a minefield. They feel it is their home and don't need to meet your standards, which in a way is correct. However you could use gc as motivation since presumably he will shortly become mobile and may well get ill if he chews on odd pieces left lying about. If DIL doesn't work there is no reason why she can't give the kitchen and bathroom a quick wipe over (or your ds either as presumably he has to wash too) and hoover/sweep/mop especially if she has childfree time when you pick up dgs. I think your only way forward is to offer to get someone in to do a "spring clean" and ask them to at least maintain the general cleanliness for dgs' sake.

Lj8893 Fri 26-Apr-13 09:01:56

I agree with cloudsandtrees, they arnt obliged to keep the house up to your standards but I do worry that underneath the mess your property will be deterioating (sp?) and an inspection will help sort tht.

Also an inspection should inspire them to have a good tidy/clean!!

If it's as disgusting as you are describing they could easily be reported to social services by the health visitor, or a friend - or even you.

Children have a right to a healthy, clean and safe home. Failure to provide one is neglect and is very much grounds for a referral.

In this situation I would be worried about my GS rather than the house.

They sound as if they are really not coping. They do have a newborn - is it possible your DIL has PND (sorry, I'm very ignorant so excuse me if that's a daft idea)? Or that both of them are just not coping?

I don't know what your means are, but if you've bought a house - do you have any way of helping them out with a cleaner, or could they afford a cleaner once a week?

As to the LL bit - yes, you can request to inspect a house, no, you can't be specific about cleanliness, but as others say, there's the risk your property will deteriorate. Assuming they agree to an inspection (which they don't actually have to, though it's surely moot here as you know what it's like!), what do you realistically think they'll do?

And what would you do? Are you considering giving them notice to leave at the end of the tenancy period?

I think you're going to struggle not to damage the relationship, but if it's as bad as you say, they do have a problem.

expatinscotland Fri 26-Apr-13 09:08:10

I'd report them to SS.

Longdistance Fri 26-Apr-13 09:08:11

We have an inspection every 3 months on our property.
Yes, the house isn't spotless at times, but when the inspection is done it is tip top.
Make a plan for an inspection, and a list of what is required ie; oven and cooker clean, carpets hoovered, lawn mown, windows clean, all rubbish thrown out, and bins empty.
That sort of thing.
Might chivvy them on to have some pride in the place once they've tidied and cleaned up.

SomeBear Fri 26-Apr-13 09:09:21

It's hard mixing family and business. Many years ago, I rented a house from a good friend and she deliberately went through a letting agent so that the inspections and any issues were dealt with by a third party. It meant that she could pop round for coffee and I wouldn't feel like she was judging.

Perhaps it's time to have a meeting with your son and DiL explaining your concerns. Whilst they are entitled to quiet enjoyment, as landlord you're entitled to see that they are maintaining the property... and as a grandmother you're rightly concerned about your grandchild's welfare. If they were renting from a private landlord they could expect 3-4 monthly inspections and for the letting agent or landlord to list defects (this is what we are subjected to).

ENormaSnob Fri 26-Apr-13 09:09:57

If its as bad as you say then my primary concern would be the child that lives there.

starfishmummy Fri 26-Apr-13 09:10:40

You say the house is a health hazard.
And you are more concerned about the house, fixtures and fittings than about any possible consequences to your grandchild from living in such squalid conditions YABU

expatinscotland Fri 26-Apr-13 09:12:11

'I don't know what your means are, but if you've bought a house - do you have any way of helping them out with a cleaner, or could they afford a cleaner once a week?'

FGS! They live in a house bought for them, no worrying about being turfed out, having a LL who doesn't maintain the property, etc etc and now she's supposed to buy them a fucking cleaner as well?

The gal grew up in a shit tip. So did my DH. He doesn't see dirt and wouldn't give a toss if he lived in a midden heap if I didn't have to ride his arse and buck him up.

I had PND. Severely. Twice. DH had to step in and keep the place from becoming an utter pit because it's not healthy for the children.

OP, your first mistake was buying a house for your son whom you knew to be lazy.

quoteunquote Fri 26-Apr-13 09:12:31

Put the rent up by £20 a week, and include a cleaner once a week. If they know they have a cleaner coming in, they will join in with keeping on top of stuff.

If you do this diplomatically, it will give them a chance to have a shift in standards, at a later date they may go for the rent reduction and drop the cleaner.

The may be overwhelmed, and in a joint denial.

tomatoplantproject Fri 26-Apr-13 09:13:01

I wouldn't offer to pay for a spring clean - they'll start expecting it and you've already been amazingly generous with the house. I'm on ml at te moment with a dd who doesn't nap in the house, but that hasn't stopped me keeping everything in an ok state. Can you offer to take you dgc for a few hours to give her time to clean instead? I have done this when my dm has been to stay.

NumTumDeDum Fri 26-Apr-13 09:13:57

I think calls for social services are a tad extreme. Cloudsandtrees has it right afaic.

Loulybelle Fri 26-Apr-13 09:14:27

Im a slobbly single parent, but i make the effort, maybe have a word with them again, having a dirty house makes you feel miserable, maybe you can give them hand sometimes.

FYI, if someone called SS and they paid a visit, your DGD would be removed from their care. I know, as this happened to me, when i was suffering from PND, they claimed i was neglectful of my DD.

purrpurr Fri 26-Apr-13 09:14:55

I agree that having regular inspections is a good idea. The way that I used to clean prior to a landlord inspection was always quite difficult to how I cleaned for my DM visiting. My MIL believes cleaning is wimmins werk so I find myself randomly not cleaning things as a small scale dirty protest prior to her arrival...

I think you need to separate out your cleanliness standards, your perspective of your tenants, what you view as your DIL's duties, etc. Your DIL cannot be given the idea that she needs to clean like a mad thing prior to your arrival as you are the landlord - so every cup of tea visit is essentially a landlord inspection. If you are not exaggerating and being the MIL from hell and the house really is as disgusting as you describe, then it's not an issue for Mumsnet, you needed to have called social services already, there's a child in there for god's sake. This really isn't about a few cobwebs.

Longdistance Fri 26-Apr-13 09:15:09

Oh, and when you do the inspection, remind them that you have your business head on, and is purely fir business purposes. If they take any critisims about the cleanliness, give them like a week to tidy/ clean and then re inspect. If not good enough perhaps mention them leaving. May put the wind up them.

Personally, I'd be happy if someone bought me a house even just to rent in.

SomeBear Fri 26-Apr-13 09:15:38

Meant to add - our current letting agent is a reasonable man. He explained that the inspections were only relevant to the fixtures and fittings belonging to the landlord, so for instance if we hadn't washed up or swept the floor he couldn't comment but if there was paint spilled on the carpet he could ask us to clean it.

I had PND after my DS was born, DH worked away and there was just no way I could keep on top of the housework, I had no idea where to start with cleaning. I'm not naturally tidy and even now (10 years on) I have to try hard to tidy. It will never be up to my MiL's standards though!

expatinscotland Fri 26-Apr-13 09:15:48

So in addition to providing the equivalent of housing gold dust - a house bought for you by your folks and rented to you so no crap LLs, letting agents taking you for a ride every 6 months, inspections, etc - the OP is also supposed to sort out their cleaning problems by sourcing cleaners and providing childcare?

5.5 months. They aren't overwhelmed, they are lazy.

Report them to SS, OP, you can do it anonymously.

Nagoo Fri 26-Apr-13 09:17:18

I wouldn't talk about it from the POV of the house at all, but from a point of concern for the baby sad

LIZS Fri 26-Apr-13 09:20:42

Sounds like she is already providing childcare.

expat - yes, sorry, I do see that. I agree they are extremely lucky.

I am not trying to suggest the OP should pay for a cleaner. I just don't know what her situation is and whether it's an option. I would think it depends hugely on whether these people are just being a bit slummy and lazy, or whether there is a more serious issue such as the PND I'm mentioning? Or maybe, as you say, the DH needs to step in and isn't doing so (and the OP suggests that might be).

The LL isn't 'expected' to do anything, but she is this baby's grandmother and it's not rocket science to realize she actually might not want to report her own child to SS if there is another way.

maddening Fri 26-Apr-13 09:24:15

If you're ds moans about cleaning in the future that might give you a chance to broach the question - you could offer to include a cleaner in the rent - so increase the rent but hire a weekly cleaner?

LIZS Fri 26-Apr-13 09:29:55

or they could employ a cleaner ...

I did suggest they could employ a cleaner, upthread.

Let's be totally honest here, the OP is being extremely generous but if her son and DIL don't see anything wrong with the way they live, the fact is she is worried about them not seeing her actions as concern, but as interfearing. She is in a really difficult position because she has her grandchild to think about, and I don't see that ignoring the facts in order to talk about SS and 'laziness' is helpful.

specialsubject Fri 26-Apr-13 09:34:58

there's a bit untidy, and there's plain disgusting. Sounds as if they never wash up and never clean the toilet. Money clearly isn't a problem as they are feeding a dog.

OP's son doesn't have PND. Is he as entitled and idle as he sounds?

The child is at risk from this filth. Straight talking time, or social services will have to be involved.

Netguru Fri 26-Apr-13 09:37:17

Talk to son and get him to employ a cleaner or help more. Regardless of who owns the house, clearly not coping.

I'm a multiple landlord. Tenants don't have to keep the place tidy. Again though, forget the landlord bit. A caring grandmother/mother would still have an interest in this.

jacks365 Fri 26-Apr-13 09:38:40

I would recommend the ss route to be frank. No they are unlikely to have dgs taken into care but from the sounds of it if it was felt needed he'd be placed with you in this situation while dil sorts herself out.

Your ds and dil need to realise that this is an issue for their child and it needs to be done for him.

cantspel Fri 26-Apr-13 09:39:42

FFS just tell them to get the place clean or you might have to rethink whether or not you want to be a landlord.

But she can't. She's said she has a contract.

I am going to say this and I know lots of LL think it is really unfair, and I see that in this situation it must feel really unfair to the OP. However: tenants don't have to clean up for inspections. They don't actually have to allow inspections. This is obviously not an excuse for anyone living in a pigsty, and obviously you would bloody hope that if your MIL bought you a house and rented it out to you, you'd show gratitude by keeping it clear or at the least having a clean-up when she came round.

The fact they're not doing that might be that they're just lazy and entitled as some have said.

Or it might be that they are not coping with a newborn, for whatever reason.

Or, it might be - especially if the DIL's parents rent and aren't especially houseproud - that they don't see the problem and won't be amenable to being expected to clean up for a LL with whom they have a formal relationship as well as a family one. That's the worry, isn't it? That if they won't clean up, what does she do? If telling them she'd like them to clean for inspections happens to work - brilliant. But there are reasons why it might not and since she posted about being a LL as well as grandma, that side of it needs to be mentioned.

I reckon she needs to talk to the son and see if they'll go for a cleaner, and if the DIL has a HV or anyone to talk to. Maybe she's fine but it can't hurt to try to see if she's not.

olgaga Fri 26-Apr-13 09:46:12

I really think you have to separate your concern about the house from your concern about your grandchild.

To be perfectly honest, the cleanliness of the house is nothing to do with you as a landlord. It's perfectly possible to get a deep clean done at the end of a tenancy, and replacing carpets and other fixtures and fittings is part and parcel of renting property. It's a business expense which along with general wear and tear is recognised in the tax allowances on the income from property.

If you are a proper landlord and you have a proper tenancy agreement then your tenants are obliged to use the property, fixtures and fittings in a way that causes no damage - that is all. If there is damage, that is addressed through the damage deposit. They are not expected to keep it clean to your standards.

As a grandparent, if you have concerns about the way your grandchild has to live then you need to deal with it as all grandparents would.

Ask your son if he is happy with the state of the place, and whether they need help. If they can't see that a reasonable level of hygiene is important then that's a pity - but unless you feel the child is seriously at risk I'm not sure what you can do if you want to maintain amicable relations.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 26-Apr-13 09:50:21

FYI, if someone called SS and they paid a visit, your DGD would be removed from their care.

This is not true!

Loulybelle, obviously I don't know what happened in your case, but it is simply not true to simply say that if social services visit they will remove a child from the care of their parents, and I actually think that's a shockingly irresponsible, scaremongering thing to say. It's just not true. Plenty of people have messy houses and PND and take fantastic care of their children, social services know that.

Personally, I think social services should be the last resort and a landlords inspection would be by far the best route to go down at this stage, but for social services to remove a child because of the state of a house, then there will be valid concerns about the health of the child.

olgaga Fri 26-Apr-13 10:00:17

FYI, if someone called SS and they paid a visit, your DGD would be removed from their care.

I agree this is completely OTT! For heaven's sake, the child has to be at serious risk of harm before that happens.

Alwayscheerful Fri 26-Apr-13 10:08:40

It might be an idea to separate the problems, your house and your grandchild's safety and your disapproval of how your son and his family are living.

I am a landlord, well landlady, tenants for me seem to come in two main types, perfectionists and slobs, the sensible ones in the middle seem to be few and far between. Perfectionists can be nuisance, they tend to make frequent and petty demands. You know about the slobs but I find they never ask for anything and are too lazy to move out.

From a commercial point of view, you want a tenant who pays the rent and pays it on time. Is the rent paid on time and do they pay an average market rent? Another thing to consider is yield, your yield is most affected by voids, voids can be avoided by not being too greedy with the rent and keeping tenants happy and when they occur they can be minimised by quickly bringing properties back up to the required standard. Whatever the state of the property I am assuming you son and his family are unlikely to move out and therefore you will have no void periods, a very big plus.

Your main financial concern would seem to be Fixtures and fittings , average lifespan will depend on quality but boiler every 10 years, bathrooms and kitchens 5- 10 years, carpets say 5 years if you are lucky or 10 years if they were more expensive and you have perfect tenants. I don't know how long your son and his family will stay but you would be perfectly within reason to tell them to replace their own carpets. As far as the fixture and fittings go, send in a handyman once a year to do any little jobs they have and check the plumbing connections. You would be within reason to point out you will not be replacing kitchens/ bathrooms for a number of years.

So far as your concern for their general welfare goes, I think another thread is in order along the lines of Mil disapproves of filthy house. Separate your concerns as a landlord from those as a MIL GM. Pretend your tenants are just that and just view the financial consequences.

coralanne Fri 26-Apr-13 10:11:00

So sorry for you.

It might cost you more but I feel that you should put the property into the hands of a letting agent.

They are then responsible for collecting rent, inspections etc.

I have had an investment property for 10 years and when it became vacant my DN asked to move in.

I gave her the Agent's name and address and they manage the property the same way they always have. (I did tell the Agent that there was no need for references etc.)

expatinscotland Fri 26-Apr-13 10:12:50

If your son treats the house this way, I'd think seriously about the contents of your will if there's any money left to will to him besides this house. He sounds lazy and irresponsible.

elliejjtiny Fri 26-Apr-13 10:13:08

Putting aside the LL bit, could you offer to take the baby for the day so they can get some cleaning done. Or come and help them with the cleaning?

Cloverer Fri 26-Apr-13 10:17:20

It depends on how bad it is - messy floors and plates piled up isn't damaging the house is it? So I do think they have a right to live how they like in their own home.

If you really think it is a danger to the baby then obviously you have to act. If not, just accept that they have different standards to you.

Alwayscheerful Fri 26-Apr-13 10:17:47

Cross posted with Olgaga- she said what I wanted to say but in a different way.

I think it will be helpful to consider how the rental property is doing financially, look at the rental income minus the loss of investment income or if there is a mortgage rental income minus interest on the mortgage and boiler cover, gas & electrical certificates. I forgot to mention you are
Fortunate in that you have no agent set up costs or commissions to pay. You may be pleasantly surprised not only do you have the satisfaction of knowing you are helping your family but hopefully you are growing family assists too.

expatinscotland Fri 26-Apr-13 10:17:47

'Putting aside the LL bit, could you offer to take the baby for the day so they can get some cleaning done. Or come and help them with the cleaning?'

Sounds like she's already taking the baby.

Help them with cleaning?! She bought them a house to live in, they are adults, now she's supposed to help them clean, too?

No wonder you read about so many pisstaking, cheeky, entitled people on MN!

coralanne Fri 26-Apr-13 10:22:17

Well put Expat

expat, did you miss the bit where she has a contract with them and they're paying rent?

She's not 'supposed' to do anything, but she is fairly obviously a normal grandmother concerned about her grandchild. Do you not think she might actually like to see the baby?

She didn't post 'OMG, I hate my family and want to shop them to SS because they are horrible shits', but no-one would know it from your replies.

expatinscotland Fri 26-Apr-13 10:26:29

'expat, did you miss the bit where she has a contract with them and they're paying rent?'

And? She could give them notice tomorrow if they are outside the short-assured period or in the notice period and they'd have to pay rent to someone else who would probably at the very least do inspections, not help them with childcare and hire a fucking cleaner or come in and clean up.

A private rental with a great LL, no chance of getting turfed out, no letting agent fees left right and centre, is fucking gold dust. Anyone who's been out there knows that and would be falling over themselves to keep that place up if they were in any way responsible people.

Just thinking off the top of my head here.

You say they signed an agreement - how long is that agreement for? Is there a clause that allows for a break in tenancy? What conditions would give rise to a break in tenancy and are they documented in the agreement?

Are they keeping their refuse outside the property in bins or just leaving it outside the door? Could you comment on an Landlord inspection that you have received phonecalls from neighbours (and you're not at liberty to say who), complaining about vermin in the area and you want to make sure that it isn't being sourced from their property? If they think there are mice and rats around, maybe they would keep their home in better condition? Are they aware that wherever vermin walk, they pee so that is not a safe environment to have a small child in.

I don't envy you. If you take it purely as a Landlord, you risk offending your family and if you take the matter purely as a grandparent & parent, you run the risk of having nothing done to improve the quality of your investment home.

Perhaps it would be best to deal with this solely as a landlord (and make it clear that you don't harbour any ill will but you have to look after the property as it is your investment) and see if there is any way that you could come to an amicable arrangement either to increase the rent to cover the cost of a cleaner, or to give them notice and they have to find somewhere else to live. It is a minefield and I wouldn't want to be in your situation.

Best of luck dealing with it.

Yes, she could give them notice, and this is one of the options that has been suggested.

I know, because I suggested it.

You are flying off the handle, but you seem to have no solutions except to tell the OP her son is probably lazy. I don't understand why you're bothering to post, TBH.

I rent, btw, and you are kidding yourself if you imagine most people jump at the chance of a LL who is family and who wants to monitor their cleaning standards. The OP has been exceptionally generous but it is a fraught situation she's in, it's not easy on her and potentially not easy on her son and DIL.

expatinscotland Fri 26-Apr-13 10:30:52

'You are flying off the handle, but you seem to have no solutions except to tell the OP her son is probably lazy. I don't understand why you're bothering to post, TBH.'

I'm posting because opinions were asked for, just as you are. If you don't agree or think it's flying off the handle, that's certainly your entitlement, just as I and everyone else is permitted to post opinions as they see fit and are within the talk guidelines.

I suggested a solution, call SS, the kid could be at risk if the place is as filthy as she believes.

expatinscotland Fri 26-Apr-13 10:32:19

'I rent, btw, and you are kidding yourself if you imagine most people jump at the chance of a LL who is family and who wants to monitor their cleaning standards.'

I rent, too. I'd jump at the chance of a private rental that would take on a family and to be free from the possibility of nearly always being two months notice away from having to find another place to live. Some would, some wouldn't, no kidding involved.

I know opinions were asked for. I just happen to be of the opinion you're reacting in a bizarre and OTT way. I'm actually allowed to disagree with you, you know.

I'm glad you'd jump at the chance of a private rental - but the point is, not everyone would see this as gold dust.

And the OP's son and DIL may well be naive, or entitled, and that may be why they aren't appreciative.

I just think it is really unhelpful to jump in and assume the worst, start scaremongering about social services, when the OP is in a really difficult situation.

EggsMichelle Fri 26-Apr-13 10:48:26

I will be renting my dp's second home from June, with my DH, 5m old DS, dog and two cats. I acknowledge my DM is a clean freak and I'm what she classes as a slob, but at the end of the day it's her house and if I don't keep it up to scratch she has every right to charge me for a cleaner or turf me out. I respect that its her house, your DS and dil need to do the same.

fluffiphlox Fri 26-Apr-13 10:49:02

I have a holiday home that I rent out. Friends and family who want to use it are asked to go via a letting agency as I don't like to mix business and personal things because of the aggravation it can cause. The agency then checks it on departure as with everyone else. Could you start doing this? Or ask them to employ a cleaner on a weekly basis as part of their commitment to you? £15-20 a week surely won't break the bank? Especially if their rent isn't competitive? (I have no idea if that is about right for the job btw.)
They do seem to be taking the mickey rather. Surely plenty of people with a child keep a relatively clean and tidy house?
My other suggestion would be to give them notice and see how this pair of adults get on in the big wide world without parental props.

msrisotto Fri 26-Apr-13 10:51:37

[side steps bun fight]

OP, do you think you could say to them - I was in the house the other day and want you to look after it so please keep it clean - ?

If not, maybe you could delegate this to someone a bit more removed. I don't know if you have a relative who lets anywhere out, or you could hire a managing agent. After all, if you are not a professional landlord then you could probably use the guiding hand of an agency to ensure you are complying to legal standards etc. This will have the added benefit of them doing site inspections and telling them to pull their finger out if they're letting it go to wreck and ruin. They will also hold them to reasonable standards - to be honest I can't tell if you are over reacting about the state of the place or not.

olgaga Fri 26-Apr-13 10:53:41

Yes the OP has a relationship to maintain - that will hardly be achieved by having a go at their "laziness" and calling SS in.

OP could end up with no tenants and no grandchild either! This is a situation which calls for a subtle approach.

In any case, it's absurd to imagine that children get taken away from parents simply because their living conditions are not ideal.

expatinscotland Fri 26-Apr-13 10:54:04

'I know opinions were asked for. I just happen to be of the opinion you're reacting in a bizarre and OTT way. I'm actually allowed to disagree with you, you know.'

Fine with me, I never said otherwise.

Scaremongering? I suggested calling SS. The kid's at risk. If you think that's scaremongering, again, you're entitlted to that opinion, just as you are to believe that being offered a private let on a house with no chance of being turfed out isn't gold dust. After being served notice on 5 homes over the course of time and facing 'No children' more than once, I certainly see it as such.

You see it as unhelpful to suggest ringing SS, I see it as unhelpful to suggest getting a cleaner in for them.

Different strokes for different folks.

I don't agree, but I don't accuse you of being unhelpful. I just disagree and live and let live.

expatinscotland Fri 26-Apr-13 10:55:07

'[side steps bun fight]'

There isn't one. Or, at least, not one that I started or want to be a part of. hmm

I didn't intend it as a bunfight either. I am just saying what I think.

I saw your posts as unhelpful. Sorry, but I did. I was bewildered by the way you jumped in to give the worst case scenario and tell the OP her family are lazy, entitled, and should be cut out of her will. She is a grandmother worried about her grandchild and her property, and to me at least, her description makes me worried for her family, not judgemental. She admits she knows her son sometimes tells her what she wants to hear, and she has a DIL whose house seems to have got out of control, with a five month old baby. Maybe the DIL is absolutely fine; maybe she isn't. But I think it actually might matter a little tiny bit!

I'm going to butt out because mrsr is right, it's not helpful to get into this with you, but I do hope the OP is ok and I do wish her all the best in what I think is a really fraught situation.

TeenyW123 Fri 26-Apr-13 11:03:51

Crikey! I turn my back and so many responses!

They probably are a bit entitled and lazy, but I don't think either of them see that they're going down the 'life of grime' route.

My son has a very low personal hygiene threshold, and it's not for the want of nagging pointing out that I can smell him from across the room! He's got worse since he's left home. I actually took his clothes of him and washed them while he showered when he brought Dgc round a few weeks ago. I think there's been a slight improvement since then. My husband is his stepdad and has been since son was 7. He's so clean I could eat my dinner off him! His bio father however had very dubious standards. The old nature/nurture debate. My Ddil Is what I'd consider fairly normal in this regard.

I don't think my Ddil really knows HOW to clean, but it's teaching/showing her without offending that worries me. I know I could railroad DS into doing things better but I want them both on board. There's another family member (by marriage) who's similar with regard to cleanliness, but my lovely old dear departed mum (who could be a bit of a harridan with me) said that the family member just didn't KNOW how to clean, was never taught. Made me think again. And I'm applying said thinking here.

There's no way I'm involving SS, but perhaps I could use it as a subliminal threat in some way? My Dgc is ATM hale and hearty and growing like bamboo. If anyone's poorly it's often Ddil. Perhaps I could use that to motivate her into putting in a bit more effort into it.

There's also no way I'm getting them a cleaner. As has been mentioned they are very lucky to have a house provided. It would make them even more entitled. Besides, don't you have to declutter to let a cleaner do their job?

We have DGC overnight once a week and have done since he was 2 weeks old. I've worked less hours over the last few months so have taken to picking up Dgc for an afternoon every week too. I'm no expert with PND but would venture that its unlikely Ddil is suffering from it, but will take it into account if I'm wrong.

I think I'll have a word with Dson, express my concerns both as a granny and as a LL, and offer to clean it ONCE ONLY to show how its done. As someone up thread said, when DGc is mobile there'll be a whole new kettle of fish to be worried about. I'll point out Expats comment re the gold dust too!

Of course, it might be that Ddil won't be offended at all! I don't feel I know her well enough to be able to judge her reaction, and if I never say anything then she'll never know how it's irking me.

Thanks all for your input. You've given me a few gems to think about.


expatinscotland Fri 26-Apr-13 11:05:14

So you disagree? You've said that. Over and over again.

The child's at risk. So ring SS.

And yes, I think the son is lazy and entitled.

Good point about the clutter and a cleaner. sad

You sound lovely and you obviously have your family's best interests at heart. It's awful if she genuinely doesn't know how. I can see how that could happen. I think it's a really good idea to offer to do it once - I hope they take it well and I hope things get sorted.

Best of luck.

Cloverer Fri 26-Apr-13 11:09:32

How is the child at risk?

rollmeover Fri 26-Apr-13 11:11:50

I dont have any solutions to offer re your cleanliness issues with the house, but I just wanted to say you sound like a lovely mum and you son and hispartner are lucky to have you.

olgaga Fri 26-Apr-13 11:31:42

The child's at risk. So ring SS.

expat you have a very strange take on what makes a child "at risk"!

DontmindifIdo Fri 26-Apr-13 11:34:27

well then, perhaps the nicest way to do it is to say for your landlord's insurance and mortgage, there has to be an inspection, so surfaces have to be clear etc so they can see if there's any damage - not that you think there is, just it's one of those things the bank make you do [innocent smile] - and say to DIL, look, I know it's a faff you have to put up with this, do you want me to come over the day before to help you with cleaning everywhere? Make a point of making sure she has the correct cleaning products, and showing her how to use them.

If she's getting half a day a week to herself and a night a week, then they have far more help than most and don't really need a cleaner, just an incentive to do it.

But while as the landlord you have a right to expect they won't damage your property, you have no right to expect them to keep it clean, except that it's returned to you clean when they leave.

Bobyan Fri 26-Apr-13 11:36:31

They are using you, they are not children and I can guarantee that if you clean the house once, you will end up doing it again in the future.

Put the rent up, change the rental contract to say a cleaner will visit once a week. Use the money to employ a cleaner and stop mollycoddling them.

fluffiphlox Fri 26-Apr-13 13:22:59

I meant^^that THEY should pay for a cleaner if they can't be bothered to do it themselves.
They've got it cushy I think

DuelingFanjo Fri 26-Apr-13 13:37:23


how bad is it? What does a minging toilet look like? Are we talking crusted in shit or just a bit dusty and unloved?

Is it unhygienic for a child? Or is it more that you would have a daily/weekly routine of jobs that keeps mess down?

I am pretty sure that my own mother can't bear the state of my house but she leaves me to it and my child is not in any danger because I only hoover once a fortnight or because there are clothes lying about. If my mum comes round she could easily find worktops covered in cooking stuff and assume that it had been there for ages when the reality is it may only have been there for 12 hours.

you say "I don't think my Ddil really knows HOW to clean, but it's teaching/showing her without offending that worries me. I know I could railroad DS into doing things better but I want them both on board. "

I think it would be totally the wrong thing to start telling your DIL how to clean better, it's not going to go down well. Perhaps you should, as you say, have a word with your son who sounds like a bit of a slob and ask him why he doesn't think of clearing away the dinner stuff and sweeping the floor?

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Fri 26-Apr-13 13:51:44

Put the rent up by £20 a week, and include a cleaner once a week. If they know they have a cleaner coming in, they will join in with keeping on top of stuff.

Honestly - this is the best suggestion of the thread. I am a LL and I employ a cleaning service for all of my properties. It works to keep the tenants reminded of what an acceptable standard of cleanliness is.

I think this couple do need some tough love. Once the baby is crawling / walking they will need to be less lazy to protect the child from dirt / debris hazards. I wouldn't approach it from a LL perspective but from a concerned parent / grandparent.

Homestart may be helpful? If they are neglecting their own hygiene when do they start neglecting their DCs?

TeenyW123 Fri 26-Apr-13 15:18:24

Hi folks,

A bit of a breakthrough.

I'd muttered something to my Ds yesterday when he came to pick up Dgc about the state of the house and it looks like they've had a chat and decided to get it sorted. I went to fetch Dgc today and Ddil said about giving the place a blitz. I asked if I could help, e.g. Take some washing for them or by having Dgc until it was all done. She said that it would prob take more than this pm and tomorrow am. but should be able to get most of it done. No attitude at all!

I have no qualms now in arranging a LL inspection in a week or so, by which time there should be some sort of order.

I suppose all I had to do was mention something! A bit like that joke that ends up "well, you can shove the foot pump up your arse!"

Thanks all


Whew! Good to hear. smile

Bobyan Fri 26-Apr-13 16:38:07

Great news, you sound a lovely mil by the way!

olgaga Fri 26-Apr-13 16:44:11

Oh that's great Teeny, second the bit about being a lovely mum/mil!

(and landlord!) grin

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 26-Apr-13 16:53:02

I'm glad when you said that your DGC is hale and hearty. That's the key in all of this. Also delighted it seems to be sorted for now.

It must be a hard role being both Land Lady and Grandmother and there is a difference between being a bit messy and not keeping the house in a hygenic state.I think you just have to accept they have different standards and as long as there is nothing that is actively hazardous to your DGC turn a bit of a blind eye.

It sounds like you are already providing quite a lot of support by looking after your DGC in the afternoons and the once a week overnight stay.

LIZS Fri 26-Apr-13 19:22:39

Hopefully they'll prioritise him for now and get into better habits.

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