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Is this suggestion too weird?

(22 Posts)
TheWinterOne Thu 14-Nov-13 11:45:46

DH and I have a very amicable relationship with his ex and her partner. Last week we found out they're in financial difficulty and are being evicted from their current property.

Both DH and I will have the kids until they can find elsewhere so there's no upheaval for them. It doesn't make much difference to us anyway as they're here EOW and Wednesdays anyway.

Now here's where I need to know if this is weird.

We rent out a property that is currently empty. We weren't planning on renting it back out until after Christmas - maybe even spring time as it needs a bit of an update - nothing too major - just decoration. A new kitchen was planned but I suppose that can wait.

As the property is currently empty - would it be too weird to suggest that DH's ex and partner move in to the place until they can get back on their feet (they've had a bit of a terrible time - currently trying for a baby of their own and suffered several miscarriages).

It was only a suggestion as it would then mean that the kids would get to stay with their mum and we'd still be on the original access arrangements.

I suggested it to DH who said he'd bypass it with them but we're both unsure if it may be over-stepping the mark and upset the equation we have?

needaholidaynow Thu 14-Nov-13 12:22:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheWinterOne Thu 14-Nov-13 12:30:25

Oh yes, Need, that would go without saying. Not to be harsh but we'd certainly be well out of pocket if they were to live scot free.

We're just worried how it would look to them and if it's none of our business to actually offer and if they'd take offense. So I thought I'd ask here on how others would take it if they were offered smile

flowerpotgirl12 Thu 14-Nov-13 12:49:35

hmm, I would be very careful about renting to someone so close to you, even if you get on well now, mixing money/housing is a recipe for potential disaster. Personally I wouldn't purely to keep things separate and simple.

needaholidaynow Thu 14-Nov-13 13:25:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Petal02 Thu 14-Nov-13 14:14:27

But what if, for some reason, they can't pay the rent and/or won't move out in time for you to let it properly??? These sort of 'family' arrangements are ok til there's a disagreement.

TheWinterOne Thu 14-Nov-13 14:18:20

Thanks both. That's exactly what I'm afraid of. We all get on so well now. TBH the more I think maybe it was just an great idea in the head but not so the more you think about it. That's why we're a bit worried. We'd happily rent the house out to them for the time being but if they did fall behind on rental payment then things could turn sour I guess?

I know they've had trouble coming up with a bond for a place - that's why the idea of our rented property popped in to my head.

There was another suggestion of DH perhaps helping towards a bond on a new place if they can find one (as his kids will be moving there so he'd like to help if he can).

He's really worried because of how close it is to Christmas for them too. The general consensus is that mum has the DSC Christmas Eve/Christmas Day and we get them on Boxing Day and New Year's. So he's worried about where they'll be spending Christmas and them having a stable home with their mum. If they can't find anywhere it'll mean a trek of about 300 miles for mum to move in with her sister.

TheWinterOne Thu 14-Nov-13 14:19:05

Thanks Petal too, I was typing before your message popped up so I guess we crossed posted smile

theredhen Thu 14-Nov-13 14:20:13

It's also worth noting that you can't claim housing benefit if you're renting from family. (Not sure how family is defined though!).

So if they got into financial difficulty, they possibly couldn't pay their rent or be rehoused.

TheWinterOne Thu 14-Nov-13 14:26:24

And that's why I love this board so much - honest opinions and advice is given and it gives you food for thought on things that you don't think of at the time.

Thank you all for the replies. I think I realise that maybe we can't offer the property as things would get too complicated relationship wise in case anything were to falter.

claraschu Thu 14-Nov-13 14:27:42

I don't see why everyone is imagining a worst case scenario. I think this is really kind of you, and could be a lifesaver for them. If they are not the kind of people to take unfair advantage of you, you could talk over all the possible complications, and it could actually be mutually beneficial.

You would just have to agree that by a certain date, they would move out, or be paying the same rent you usually charge. If they are good at DIY, they could even help with some of the updating/decoration, in return for a reduced rent, if that is something that would be helpful to you.

claraschu Thu 14-Nov-13 14:29:04

I wouldn't think that this would count as renting from family. I certainly don't consider my husband's ex to be family, and neither does he.

OptimisticPessimist Thu 14-Nov-13 14:31:45

You can claim HB to rent from family members (although there are obviously rules around it), but not if the landlord is the parent of a child you're responsible for. So as theredhen said, in these circumstances there's no way they could claim and this could lead to problems in the future.

Given that you say the relationship between you all is amicable and your husband has expressed a desire to help them out I think offering to help with the bond is a much better idea with fewer potential problems - I'd couch it as a loan but with the full understanding between you and your DH that you may never get it back.

I think it's really lovely, btw, that you and your husband are considering helping them out smile

TheWinterOne Thu 14-Nov-13 14:35:04

But wouldn't it count if they found out 2 of the landlords children were living at the address?

Would the offer of part bond for a new place be a better option? The children will always have a home no matter what happens but if mum were to move 300 miles away a lot of other issues would arise. None that couldn't easily be sorted between us all but if it can be avoided - all the better.

TheWinterOne Thu 14-Nov-13 14:38:42

Thanks Optimisic - he's suggested that if mum can manage to pay half the bond then he's willing to pay half too. smile

purpleroses Thu 14-Nov-13 16:38:24

You can't claim HB if you rent from your parents or a sibling (or possibly a child, I think). But you're OK with an ex-partner.

If they've been evicted for not paying rent though, that would worry me.

I've faced similar issues with my own ex and his stable but badly overcrowded housing situation - and a house I rent out that I could have rented to him but only for around half market value (all he could afford). I decided not to in the end - partly because I'd have been effectively subsidising him by a huge amount, and partly because he was really hoping for a council place in the long run, which would be better for him and leave him not dependent on my good will. It's been difficult though watching my DCs suffer from the shortage of space at his, and knowing I had a "spare" house (after I moved in with my DP) that could have solved all their problems. After years of being on the council list though, he's finally been offered one this week smile I couldn't be happier for them smile

What would they do if you don't offer to help? Are they looking for a private rented place, in which case offering to help loan/give a depoist could be a good idea.

Or would they hope to get a council place? If they want to do that, and the council considers that it's not their own fault they've been evicted (eg they lost jobs and couldn't afford the rent) then as long as the children are still officially living with them, the council has to find them somewhere temporary and will usually give them priority for a council house eventually. So if a council house is the best long term option for them, you'd be better off letting them go down that route, and just having the kids with you as much as possible in the meantime.

IAlwaysThought Thu 14-Nov-13 16:54:11

I think it sounds like a great idea that will ultimately benefit your step kids. However, you need to sit down with a paper and pen and work out all the details. Be as buisness like as possible so there are no misunderstandings. I would use a proper rental agreement and would charge a low'ish rent so they can get there act together.

OptimisticPessimist Thu 14-Nov-13 17:19:48

purpleroses, Shelter says that HB cannot be claimed if you live with a close family member but you can if you rent from a family member. It also say that if the landlord is your child's parent, you cannot claim HB.

purpleroses Thu 14-Nov-13 20:34:11

Your child's parent's girlfriend would be ok though surely?

PigOnRollerskates Fri 15-Nov-13 09:16:40

I would do it in the blink of an eye, and I think it's a perfect solution. I also have a great relationship with my ex and his DP and I wouldn't hesitate to do it for them, and I'm sure they'd do it for me.

It depends just exactly how "great" you're talking. If you think they'll be completely honest with you and tell you if they're getting into any difficulties, and deal with them upfront, and move out when you ask, then why not? You could get much more unreliable tenants in the spring, and wish you'd rented it to someone you know and trust.

I would definitely be very upfront with rent, arrangements re future repairs etc, let them know how often you review the rent if you think they might stay a while, so that you don't feel uncomfortable bringing it up in a year, discuss notice periods on both sides, and make sure both of them are comfortable with it too.

TheWinterOne Fri 15-Nov-13 09:44:21

Thanks all - unfortunately after speaking to the pair last night, things are a lot more of a mess than we thought. Ex's partner has lost his job and they're that brass at the moment that last night they couldn't afford any gas and electric. confused. The kids stayed here last night. DH offered last night to wire some money for G&E but mum said there's no point because they're already packing to move out. She's been planning on going 300 miles away. She wants us to take the kids because she's not sure she can cope. There's a lot more to this situation than we initially thought. sad

Btw, it's not a sad because of having the kids - it's a sad because how bad things are.

IAlwaysThought Fri 15-Nov-13 12:17:44

Oh dear that is such a shame for them. Hopefully it will work out. It will be so much better for your step kids to see you being supportive and non judgemental of their mother.

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