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AIBU to tell my lodger he needs to go home for Christmas?

(130 Posts)
CupOfTeaAndSixBiscuits Fri 15-Nov-19 11:08:16

I have a lodger who has depression (recently started to receive care from the CMHT and GP) and he made a suicide attempt relatively recently. I have to encourage him to take his pills and not take his own life, in a nutshell. He's also got Asperger's, which can affect his understanding of some things, but he's still pretty social.

We actually get on quite well, and have become friends. It's just that I worry and have to keep an eye on him.

Since he moved out of the local family home in the spring, he literally hasn't visited once (though he has seen them, they come to us). They're not especially supportive with MH things, but they do care about him. He's talking about not going home for Christmas and just staying in the house by himself, which I don't think will be good for him. I'll be staying with my family in another city.

I've told him that he needs to go home for Christmas, essentially so that I don't have to worry that I'll come home to a corpse about him. He's resisting this. There's no written lodger agreement, and I have no actual way of ensuring he does go home.

Am I being unreasonable? Part of me says I am because he'll still be paying to be there just like I am, and part of me says I'm not because it's for his own good!

dontalltalkatonce Fri 15-Nov-19 11:10:53

YANBU but not sure how to handle this one.

RadishesAndLentils Fri 15-Nov-19 11:12:05

It's not going home for Christmas, is it? Your house is his home. I appreciate that you're worried about him but he's an adult and allowed to make his own decisions.

Aderyn19 Fri 15-Nov-19 11:15:15

You can't insist. He's paying rent and has a right to stay there. I get why you are concerned and you are right that being with his family would probably be better for him, but he's an adult, so you can't make him.

I'm also concerned that you gave no formal tenancy agreement. You both need the legal protection of this.

GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Fri 15-Nov-19 11:15:26

You mean ‘visit his family for Christmas’ not ‘go home’ surely? He lives with you!

CupOfTeaAndSixBiscuits Fri 15-Nov-19 11:17:13

It's not going home for Christmas, is it? Your house is his home. I appreciate that you're worried about him but he's an adult and allowed to make his own decisions.

Under normal circumstances I would agree 100%, and this has never even crossed my mind with previous lodgers and flatmates. However, he's quite unwell and not always entirely rational. He may be an adult, but should I have allowed him to take his own life without intervening?

Genevieva Fri 15-Nov-19 11:17:21

You have taken in more than a lodger. Please make sure that you don't end up being his carer. It is so easy to get drawn in when there is an undressed need. I have filled similar spaces before, because no-one else was willing, but it becomes draining and after a while you realise that you have got caught in a vortex that you never chose.

Yes- tell him he needs to go to his family for Christmas. If he objects then tell him that his suicidal history makes it impossible for you to leave him by himself at a festive time of year and you are making it a condition of his continued tenancy. I know that sounds odd, but needs must.

CupOfTeaAndSixBiscuits Fri 15-Nov-19 11:19:31

You mean ‘visit his family for Christmas’ not ‘go home’ surely? He lives with you!

I refer to myself as "going home" for Christmas too, even though I haven't lived there for a decade. Let's not get bogged down in semantics confused

prawnsword Fri 15-Nov-19 11:20:04

YABU because it’s his home too, you can’t forcefully send him away for Xmas! Also think you’re incredibly caught up in your housemate & it sounds rather unhealthy dynamic. You’re so invested in helping him, yet don’t see the house as also being his home too. If he is just a lodger get rid of him, he isn’t worth it emotionally. You should not have to worry that you’re going to come home to a corpse.

Wingedharpy Fri 15-Nov-19 11:23:45

Sorry OP.
You cannot force a grown up to do anything they don't want to do, particularly when you want them to do it so that you "don't have to worry".
It may be that his local family is a huge contributor to his poor mental health, and extended contact with them would be anything but "good for him".
You're not his Mother.
It's kind of you to care about him but .......

GetUpAgain Fri 15-Nov-19 11:24:54

You can't tell a lodger they can't be in the place they are paying to be in.

You also can't tell a friend what they should be doing.

You can tell him you worry and you care but ultimately he is not your responsibility.

I had a friend who was repeatedly doing something risky and died from it. We all felt sad, and guilty that we didn't stop him, but he knew how we felt and he choose to do it anyway. So I do understand how you might be feeling and I wish you lots of strength and luck.

Passthecherrycoke Fri 15-Nov-19 11:26:38

Of course you’re being unreasonable. There is no way for you to insist anyway- why would he do as you say?

churchandstate Fri 15-Nov-19 11:26:39

He pays you. He is entitled to be there provided he pays his rent. Are you proposing to return his rent for the period during which you want to exclude him from his accommodation?

Your other option is to throw him out, and I can’t see that that would be a good idea at the moment.

just5morepeas Fri 15-Nov-19 11:28:24

If you're not comfortable leaving him in your home alone why is he still your lodger?

Don't let him become a drain on you or become his carer as others have said. He is an adult and not your responsibility.

I'd be looking to put an end to him lodging with me tbh or at the very least make sure you have a legally binding agreement in place. For yours and his sake.

BrokenWing Fri 15-Nov-19 11:28:29

As his landlord you cant tell him to go home. Your house is his home.

As his friend you can advise him it might be best to be around people at Xmas, but you cant make him.

If cant cope with the responsibility of his illness, not many could, I'm afraid the only solution is to give him notice to leave and find another lodger.

Honeybee85 Fri 15-Nov-19 11:29:32

It’s a difficult one OP.
I think Christmas can be a really difficult time for those with MH issues as it’s nearly an obligation to be happy and cheerful at that time and it might be that he’s trying to avoid that by not going to visit his family. His MH might actually get worse from such visit.

Then again, I appreciate your concern re suicide potential. Is there another solution that might work out for you? Is there any possibility he can come with you to your family so you can keep an eye on him? Or do you have a friend/ neighbor also being alone at Christmas who might pop around to see if he’s ok and needs anything?

Podemos Fri 15-Nov-19 11:29:44

That sounds so hard. I don't think you can make him but could you keep trying to strongly encourage him to, or if he really won't, can you get him to organise something else on Christmas day, e.g volunteering for a few hours. Also, if he is receiving counselling, could you suggest he talks through his arrangements for Christmas there?

You have taken on so much more than just a lodger and it sounds like he's very lucky to have found you as a landlord.

Just as a side note to the person above who was concerned about not having any formal contract - it wouldn't be worth anything to live-in landlord. A lodger has very few righrs - doesn't matter what you write on a piece of paper and sign. They can be thrown out with no notice, but equally could leave without giving any.

lottiegarbanzo Fri 15-Nov-19 11:35:32

Your problem isn't Christmas, it's becoming his de facto carer year round.

You need to take a deep breath, have a think and decide whether this is a role you really want to take on. He has no right to your time and care. You are not obliged to give it. You should have been given a choice about taking this on. It sounds as though you've been bumped into it without prior knowledge or choice. That's not fair on you.

However nice and supportive you are, you are probably not qualified to be a mental health nurse.

Yes, having a kind, supportive house mate is good for him and everyone should try to be nice to each other. What you're describing here goes way beyond that though.

safariboot Fri 15-Nov-19 11:36:12

Legally you can tell your lodger to leave with reasonable notice. Usually however often rent is paid. So you're fine to tell him now that he needs to leave mid-December.

Morally, it's just about the shittest time of year to do it.

RedskyToNight Fri 15-Nov-19 11:36:25

You are assuming that visiting his family over Christmas will be beneficial for him. If family issues contribute to his MH issues that might actually be the exact opposite.

Hmmmm2018 Fri 15-Nov-19 11:39:09

Christmas and New Year is a very difficult time for people with depression and suicidal ideation and I agree with you him being on his own is not going to be a good idea for him at this time of year. If I were you I would strongly recommend he goes back to his family or other friends for at least some of it as being on his own with space to ruminate is not going to be a great plan. However he is an adult so if he declines to go not much you can do to force it. If he didn't go perhaps his family could visit at yours. If he stays on his own and is under the CMHT he could also discuss with them and his care co-ordinator could be aware to make phone contact on the non Bank Holiday days to check in on him. CMHT may also have list of places offering lunch to people on their own on Christmas day. Hope that he does decide to go be with the family. Obviously if the family are contributing to his low mood then the home environment may not be ideal either.

Sparklybanana Fri 15-Nov-19 11:39:10

Hard one, but you have no right to tell him to go anywhere he doesn’t want to. You could speak to his family and tell them your concerns though. It’s not unreasonable to think that Xmas makes depression worse and suicide risk would increase and if they do love him then they’d make sure he was either with them or keep in contact whilst you’re away.

Twistables Fri 15-Nov-19 11:42:59

That is soooo hard. I voted yanbu but now, thinking more on it, if I were you I think I'd insist that he sees professional help before Christmas because otherwise you are inadvertently carrying the weight of his difficulties.

JinglingHellsBells Fri 15-Nov-19 11:43:52

How old is the lodger? Assume he is over 18?

You cannot force him to leave his room. He is paying for it.

Your mistake has been to take a lodger with quite severe MH issues from what you say when you have become overly involved.

I feel you are exaggerating when you say you have to make sure he takes his drugs and doesn't commit suicide. If this is the truth then this is not a lodger-landlady set up- you have become his carer.

You need to decide if you are happy to carry on offering a room to a vulnerable adult. I think your mindset shows you aren't.

You need to re-think the whole thing.

Sadly for your tenant, I think you should end the agreement (and it's mad you are letting out a room in your home with no formal contract) and ensure you help him find somewhere else.

You really aren't cut out to be doing this because for a start you have not done it legally, and secondly you have been very short sighted over the risks of having somewhere with MH issues in your home when you are not around to 'look after them' which is not your role anyway.

AtrociousCircumstance Fri 15-Nov-19 11:45:01

He is not your young child. He’s an adult man. We all feel worried about those we care about with depression but taking away their autonomy is a way of worsening things.

You have made your feelings clear to him, and maybe you could contact his family to let them know the situation.

You cannot stop him committing suicide I’m afraid, if his mind is set.

Personally I wouldn’t want to share my home with someone who had become a dependent (you say you take control of his pill taking). I understand you want to help and be a friend but you are allowed your own choices and needs too, your own free space.

It sounds a really tough situation but maybe have a look at the codependency that it’s triggering in you (a natural response from a nice person but one that needs examining - and I say this from personal experience, so am not judging).

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