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to be a little suspicious of landlord MIL.

(324 Posts)
SmellsLikeTeenStrop Mon 20-Aug-12 21:17:13

Sorry, this is long.

DH and I rent from my MIL. She bought the house for DH before we met and there was always the understanding that when he had a steady income that would enable him to take on a mortgage she would let him buy the house at the same price she paid for it.

This was over 10 years ago, DH and I live here with our DCs and we're now in a position where we can buy the house, but now the plan seems to have changed. MIL is very cagey when we try and talk to her about buying the house. In the past she's said she'll 'be fair' when it comes to selling the house, but she's also said that for various reasons it would be impossible to sell the house to us for anything less than full market value. We've been told that the rent barely covers the mortgage and insurance, but we've also been told that she relies on our rent as her main source of income.

The last discussion we had she was pushing towards us not buying the house but instead having our names added to the mortgage and taking over the mortgage payments. I asked her how much the mortgage was and she claimed not to remember.

She's not been the best landlord in the world, she's made no effort to update the house at all. We can't have the boiler serviced because it's so old there are no parts available for it - but she can't replace the boiler as she has no money. The house is in massive need of updating, the kitchen is at least 30 years old, ditto the bathroom. The windows we're fighting a losing battle with, we sand them down and paint them every other year but they're deteriorating more and more.

For a house we're merely renting, it's not suitable for us any more. We're expecting another DC soon and we're a bit squished as it is. If we owned the house DH and I would hang on here a bit longer to improve the house and hopefully get it to a point where we can sell it on at market value and use the equity for a bigger home. Alternatively we could extend and/or add a loft conversion. MIL is aware that this is what we want to do and has said that this would be fine, but that was when we weren't in a position where we could actually buy the house.

If she won't sell us this house than the only real alternative is for us to move out. I won't hang on renting a house that is too small for us, especially with all the issues we're having with it. Us moving out would either force MIL to sell, or to invest a few thousand in to the property before she could get new tenants in. Given the amount of work the house needs, I can't imagine it would sell very quickly unless she sold it very cheaply.

So, after this huge wall of text. AIBU to be suspicious of MIL and WIBU to expect her to honour the promise she made to DH but if that really is impossible for her, to give us a mahoosive discount to take in to account the years of rental we've been paying, plus the huge amount of money we'll need to invest in the house?

AKissIsNotAContract Mon 20-Aug-12 21:20:35

YANBU to want that but you might not get it from her. I'd just give her notice that you'll be moving out and see what she says.

ThreeWheelsGood Mon 20-Aug-12 21:27:50

You have to focus on your immediate family's needs. Forget the fact she's your MIL and treat it like a landlord/tenant relationship - you're moving because you need more space and all mod cons, not unreasonable, especially if you can afford it.

MoreBeta Mon 20-Aug-12 21:35:43

Sorry this is going to be blunt but it needs to be.

I am pretty sure that what your MIL has done over the years is to keep adding to the mortgage on the property you are living in and it has now grown to quite a large amount.

A lot of old people are in this position and were very happy when house prices were rising. They used houses like piggy banks and kept on borrowing as prices went up to maintain their lifestyle.

You need to have this out with her. She has been using you to pay the interest (and probably none of the capital) on the loans she has been taking out and now she wants you to take responsibility for her debts too. Do NOT do that. It is not your responsibility. Move house and let her sell. No doubt she is in a panic now prices have started falling.

G1nger Mon 20-Aug-12 21:42:33

It was a lovely thought she had years ago. But completely unrealistic. Move and don't try to hold her to this any longer.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 20-Aug-12 21:46:49

I think you need to tell her you are finding somewhere else. That way she can decide if she wants to sell, or invest and continue renting. If she decides to sell, then decide if you want to buy it.

It would be unfair of your dh and you to pay less than market value IMO, even if market value is less than it should be because of the state of repair of the house. But to not pay market value would seem like you are massively taking advantage of her, especially if you know that the rent is her main source of income.

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Mon 20-Aug-12 21:48:36

morebeta no need to apologise. She has re-mortgaged the house once, I know this because we had a surveyor come round. Would adding our names to her mortgage make us responsible for her debts?

twooter Mon 20-Aug-12 21:51:39

If you're going to buy a house, would you prefer to have a look round lots of houses and choose your favourite, rather than settle on this one?

WhereYouLeftIt Mon 20-Aug-12 21:52:04

"... she would let him buy the house at the same price she paid for it."
How much was that, 10 years ago?

"she's also said that for various reasons it would be impossible to sell the house to us for anything less than full market value. "
How much is that? Bearing in mind what you've said about the state of repair and the need to update it, is it really going to be that different from the original purchase price?

WhereYouLeftIt Mon 20-Aug-12 21:54:19

Oh, and I note she's only asking you to add your names to the mortgage, not the deeds. So to me that means you get to pay, but you don't get to own.

BlinkersOn Mon 20-Aug-12 21:56:28

Why would you add your names to a mortgage without having ownership of the house? If I were in your position I would definitly want to know what her plans are. Can you and your DH tell her you want a proper discussion about it within a few weeks. You could offer to get the house valued for her. Ultimately you need to do what is right for your immediate family.

GravyHadALumpyMashBaby Mon 20-Aug-12 22:01:53

Why would you go on the mortgage with her anyway? How does that benefit you exactly?
It doesn't sound like you'd be thrilled to buy the house anyway tbh. It's not really big enough for you and MIL is skirting around the issue, saying the original agreement is not possible anymore, so go and find yourselves a house that suits your family.

Thymeout Mon 20-Aug-12 22:07:23

I'm worried about your boiler.

Is your MIL aware that it needs to be serviced annually by a Corgi engineer and a safety certificate issued?

There's another thread where someone (also renting from a family member) is currently without hot water because the boiler broke down and the engineer has disconnected it because it was emitting carbon monoxide fumes and was unsafe. Needs new vents before it can be reconnected.

Apart from that, it sounds as if the market value of the house will be a lot less than your MIL is expecting. Would she be able to invest the money and realise enough income from interest to cover her living costs? At the moment, there's a much bigger return from letting a property with interest rates so low. That may be why she's changed her mind.

MoreBeta Mon 20-Aug-12 22:13:50

"Would adding our names to her mortgage make us responsible for her debts?"

Yes you woudl become joint and severaly liable for the mortgage debt and still without having title to the house. She would still own it 100%.

Sallyingforth Mon 20-Aug-12 22:22:44

She has remortgaged the house and been living on (spending) the capital raised against it. So there is no value left in the property.
If you take on the mortgage you will have to pay the mortgage company the full amount she borrowed, plus interest.
You would be f* idiots to do this.

AKissIsNotAContract Mon 20-Aug-12 22:23:39

If she remortgaged before 2007 there's a good chance the house is in negative equity.

KenDoddsDadsDog Mon 20-Aug-12 22:25:27

Echo what thymeout says about the boiler. You need that sorted before anything else due to the carbon monoxide risk.

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Mon 20-Aug-12 22:25:53

whereyouleftit 10 years ago it was just shy of 40k and that was a few grand cheaper than other houses sold in the area at around the same time. The last house sold in the street was for just over 90k and was in very good condition, nicely decorated and UPVC windows. Zoopla says my house would be worth around 75k now.

Suffice to say I don't live daan saaf. grin

Also, good point about mortgage/deeds. She didn't mention anything about adding our name to the deeds ....

Gravy You're right, I'm not thrilled at the house but it's in an ok area and it's probably all we can afford right now without going in to another area in town but that would also involve a change of schools for the DCs. The houses I'd really like to live in, we'd probably have to save another few years to get a big enough deposit, but if we moved to a bigger rental house we'd be paying more in rent and that would diminish the amount we could save. I'm also feeling frustrated that we had this promise waving over us but nothing concrete seems to be coming out of it.

I'm debating whether to just suck it up and live here for another two years until we have the deposit for the house we really want. We do pay slightly cheaper rental prices for the size of the house and that has made it easier to save. Or to move and save but more slowly.

WilsonFrickett Mon 20-Aug-12 22:35:04

My DM bought her council house for around 25k I think. The mortgage on it now is around 80k. She's managed to get my DB to take over the mortgage, although he's also on the deeds, I hasten to add. I think he's mad, myself but he's a real homebody and wants to stay in the family home for the rest of his life. Tbh if your mil is anything like mine... I'd move out. Without being morbid or scaremongering, does your MIL have life insurance? Because if anything happens to her that debt would need to be cleared. Sorry! That sounds so grim but what I'm trying to say is you have very little security for your family...

GravyHadALumpyMashBaby Mon 20-Aug-12 22:35:36

Well everyone has scared the crap out of me WRT your boiler now! So get that sorted with her ASAP! If she won't deal with it get the hell out into another rental property straight away if poss and save more slowly.

No reduced rate of rent (or having a good relationship with your MIL) is worth risking the safety of your children for!

HoleyGhost Mon 20-Aug-12 22:46:58

Sort out the boiler as a priority.

Then get a book on managing finances 'love is not enough' is a good one. Start looking at other housing options.

amybelle1990 Mon 20-Aug-12 22:47:52

If you do decide to take over the mortgage agreements, etc Get everything in writing and record any conversations had otherwise you won't have a leg to stand on if she is being a bit dodgy.

But it all sounds a bit off to me. I don't believe for one second that she doesn't know how much her mortgage is off the top of her head- that's just silly

MoreBeta Mon 20-Aug-12 22:49:05

Get yourself a carbon monoxide detector from B&Q tomorrow and put it near the boiler. If the alarm goes off leave the house immediately and do not return until the boiler is repaired properly.

All landlords by law have to produce a gas safety certificate every year. If she has not done that MIL is breaking the law.

AngusBearn Mon 20-Aug-12 22:54:00

Uh oh. Rotten, manipulative situation. Get out. Simples. Why would you live in a third-rate property with a fourth-rate landlord? Leave. If she has some grand gesture to make, she can still make it when you've left. Nothing to lose, everything to gain. Just hope your fella has the balls to stand up to his mum, which is probably the underlying problem anyway. If he hasn't, make him read what Mumsnet contributors have to say!

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Mon 20-Aug-12 22:56:20

*If you take on the mortgage you will have to pay the mortgage company the full amount she borrowed, plus interest.
You would be f* idiots to do this.*

So in answer to my first AIBU, I am not unreasonable to be suspicious of my MIL. The house we live in isn't her only investment property, she would know what she was doing when she suggested we take on the mortgage.

thymeout that thread inspired me to start this one, It got me thinking of the situation we're in. We've talked about the boiler before and it's always the same answer - she can't afford to replace it. DH and I could use some of our savings but ...

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