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to use my dead neighbour's washing machine?

(52 Posts)
OKComputer Mon 27-Dec-10 17:02:06

I know this is weird, but my neighbour died last week. She was 95 and I was in and out of her house a fair bit over the past few months, helping her out and generally keeping an eye on her.

My washing machine has broken and we're running out of clean clothes. I also have a key to her empty house...

When I originally suggested it to DH (jokingly) we cringed. But then I wondered:
is it really unethical to use her washing machine for a couple of loads? confused

OKComputer Mon 27-Dec-10 17:02:53

BTW, as soon as we can we'll fix our washing machine. The seal's gone and the shop which sells is has been shut today.

SilveryMoon Mon 27-Dec-10 17:03:07

If she died last week, who does the house belong to now?

Tortington Mon 27-Dec-10 17:03:32

go for it

Tortington Mon 27-Dec-10 17:03:57

i have no morals - i'd swap the washing machine

Thingumy Mon 27-Dec-10 17:05:14

I wouldn't.If anything goes missing,the finger will invariably point to you.

I would use the laundrette unless I had the OK to enter her house and use the washing machine by one of her relatives.

HappyHECmanay Mon 27-Dec-10 17:05:19

yes, I think it would be really cheeky and, just, wrong.

I assume that she has family, who are dealing with her estate? You should turn over the key unless you have been requested by the executor to keep it for some reason.

What if they turn up while you've got a load on?

Fibonacci Mon 27-Dec-10 17:05:43

I think it's fine but i think you should ask permission from the next of kin - what if they came round and found your load in her machine?

alicet Mon 27-Dec-10 17:05:45

Objectively there is no reason for you not to do this really.

However if I turned up at my dead grandmother / mothers house while you were there emtying her washing machine I would be livid with you. It would just come accross as totally heartless. I don't think this is the case by the way but think to a grief striken relative (unless they knew you really well and knew how much you had done for your neighbour)

Spinkle Mon 27-Dec-10 17:05:56

I'd go for it. I'm sure your neighbour would be pleased to have been of some use to you.

Bloodymary Mon 27-Dec-10 17:06:15

Since you kept an eye on her during her last months, do you really think that she would mind?
I do not think so.

OKComputer Mon 27-Dec-10 17:06:48

SilveryMoon, her sons, I presume. They live in Yorkshire and America. They know I have a key and have told me to hold onto it in case of burst pipe etc.

Thanks Custardo. I genuinely don't know if using it is taking the mick or being disrespectful or what!

alicet Mon 27-Dec-10 17:06:58

oops didn't finish post before I pressed send...

I think to a grief stricken neighbour it oculd come accross like this

MerrilyDefective Mon 27-Dec-10 17:07:22

No,it's technically stealing.
The dead womans estate now own the house and you have no right of entry.
What would happen if something valuable went missing and you were blamed.
Never mind the electric and water etc.

I can see why you'd think it isn't a big deal but imo it is.
I would'nt want someone going in and using my Mum's stuff after she'd gone,even if they had been a huge help.

diddl Mon 27-Dec-10 17:07:24

You have a key-but do you have the right to enter the house?

goingforit Mon 27-Dec-10 17:07:28

No,I don't think it is unethical.

I really think she'd want you to. She was probably grateful for the time you showed her and would be only too happy for you to use her machine while yours is out of order.

Does she have any relatives dealing with the necessary arrangements to run this by. I feel it would be manners to ask them if you can, but I sincerely feel that your neighbour would not want you to struggle.

Let's face it, if she was alive and you asked her, I'm sure she would have said, yes of course, wouldn't she.

autodidact Mon 27-Dec-10 17:07:32

I think it might not go down well with her next of kin (if any)! If she was alive you'd have to ask her and now she's dead you'd have to ask them and you'd probably not want to because it'd feel weird!

SilveryMoon Mon 27-Dec-10 17:08:13

Erm, I don't really know how I feel about it tbh.
I don't think I'd use it, I'd feel too weird.

alicet Mon 27-Dec-10 17:08:28

Ok so cross posted.

If they have asked you to keep key in case of problems I would do it.

ChippingIn Mon 27-Dec-10 17:08:33

Custardo grin

OKC - Don't hesitate to use it, if she trusted you to have a key to her home when she was alive, she'd hardly begrudge you using her washing machine is she.

Does she have family or will the house be cleared out by a company? IF it's a company then I wouldn't hesitate to do what Custy said as they'll get nothing for it and will probably only take it to the tip anyway

OKComputer Mon 27-Dec-10 17:09:03

Yes, I know what you mean. I'd HATE for her sons to see that I've been using it. Although they did say that they were very grateful for looking after her.

If she was alive she'd permit me to use the washing machine. I used to do a lot of her washing at mine because she struggled with it.

Hmmmmm, I think I'll bottle it and not do it. I can't imagine what someone would think to see me carrying clothes out of her house!

Punkatheart Mon 27-Dec-10 17:09:25

No. Legally you would be in the wrong and yes, if anything was missing - you would be suspected. If that was my mother/grandmother/aunt - I would not be happy to see a stranger using her washing machine...someone else is paying for the electricity, after all. But is it possible to ask permission? Especially as you have been so kind...

diddl Mon 27-Dec-10 17:10:32

Would you also give money for water & electricity?

Can you not ask the sons?

ChippingIn Mon 27-Dec-10 17:10:39

x-post sorry

Fibonacci Mon 27-Dec-10 17:10:44

There is also the issue of the water and the energy the washing machine would use, of course. I think ask permission.

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