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To set boundaries now? Homeless relative moving in today.

70 replies

AlltheGinJoints · 06/07/2017 06:53

First post after a long time lurking so please be kind.

My DB will be arriving later today with all his worldly goods after losing his rented home due to the LL wanting to sell up. DB has had four months notice of this and the builders are arriving at the weekend to rip out the bathroom and kitchen so he has no choice really but to finally leave.

He has made some attempts to get a council house and a private rental but they've come to nothing, council house because as a single male he's not exactly at the top of a waiting list and private rental because he hasn't got a deposit.

I'm happy obviously to help him out and I'm looking forward to seeing him but I've heard so many stories of how situations like this can start off lovely and then go horribly wrong.

For background DB has a bit of a rep for being on the tight/thoughtless side of things, e.g. If we've popped out to the local for meal he'll happily sit there and not offer to pay his share, leaving me or DH to pick up the whole bill.

I need direction from you wise mumsnetters please. I'm going to have to broach the subject of his contribution to the food shop etc but more importantly he can be on the irritating end of the scale and I want to gently give him some house rules now before I get cross. I also need to ask him the 'how long' question.....

AIBU by thinking about boundaries now or do I need to woman up?

OP posts:
KoalaDownUnder · 06/07/2017 06:57

No, God no, YANBU to think about boundaries now!

Why don't you draw up a list of non-negotiables and required ££ contribution, and discuss with your DH. You need to get this out on the table with your DB before he moves in!

aaaaargghhhhelpme · 06/07/2017 06:59

Sorry I'm confused. If he's just left a let how come he doesn't have the deposit back from that place?

I don't have much advice on this one but I would suggest having 'the conversation' as soon as. And if he does have the reputation of being as tight as you say I would be giving him a deadline - not asking him how long he wants. Suggest something reasonable for him to get a deposit together and then stick to it.

I take it he is also contributing to household funds? (But at less than market rate so he can save up a deposit)

kalinkafoxtrot45 · 06/07/2017 07:00

Set a time limit on his stay and have something lined up (renovations, another guest coming) that means you absolutely have to stick to it.

acornsandnuts · 06/07/2017 07:00

I think you need to set the time for his stay.

Does he have a plan to save for a deposit? You need to ask him and work that into your time limit.

What ever your comfortable with but he needs an end date from you or by the sounds of him you could be back on here in months to come with your relationship breaking down.

TakeMe2Insanity · 06/07/2017 07:03


Definitely set a time limit
Set out expectations eg every saturday hoover whole house
Set out £n to be paid for food/keep
Also be ckear about deal breakers

MavisFlumpTheFairy · 06/07/2017 07:03

I would have had these discussions weeks ago, including his contribution money-wise. If he's as non-proactive as you say then you definitely need to lay things out very clearly including a time limit for his stay.
He's had 4 months notice for goodness sake to find somewhere else and I suspect he's in no hurry to do anything about it once he's moved in with you!
Good luck!

MrKaplan · 06/07/2017 07:11

Our first day staying with relatives for 3 months they sat us down and gave us a glass of wine.
They said this bottle is free. The rest of the time you'll pay your way. Told us rubbish days, how to work the washing machine, asked if we wanted to share grocery bill or just cook our own food etc.
it was actually perfect as arriving to stay in someone else's house can be a bit nerve racking and we knew where all the boundaries were straight away.

thunderyclouds · 06/07/2017 07:16

I think you need to set a clear end date before he moves in. I speak as someone who offered a relative somewhere to live for 6 months to help them out, and they are still there 2 and a half years later.

Where is his deposit from his last rental property? He must have paid one. In 4 months he could have easily found somewhere even if it was just a temporary house share. I'd be very cautious if I were you.

Zarah123 · 06/07/2017 07:19

Zero sympathy for someone who has had 4 months to plan for this. I think you need to start by giving a deadline by which he needs to leave!

How much rent was he paying? He should pay you something similar especially if he will be eating your food.

If he's going to use a lack of a deposit as an excuse for moving out, I would take extra from him to 'save' the deposit for him.

And stop paying for his meals!!

Nikephorus · 06/07/2017 07:23

Get a typed up list ready, hand it to him at the front door and don't let him in until he's signed it.

BonnesVacances · 06/07/2017 07:25

You are obviously not a family that plans! Your DB has had 4 months to find another house and not found one. You've had an unspecified amount of time to set boundaries and are only now doing it on the day he moves in.

Is he expecting to make a contribution or does he think he's on a free ticket? I would think the latter tbh if you haven't mentioned anything before now. Likewise with timescales. You really should have had this discussion when making the offer for him to move in tbh so he knows the terms he's doing it under.

Whocansay · 06/07/2017 07:27

Have a candid talk with him when he arrives and set out your house rules. Do not let him get too comfy. No free meals. He either contributes in full to the weekly shop or buys his own food. Charge proper rent and make it clear that this is a short term arrangement - set a date.

You do know this could turn out to be an utter nightmare? Why has he done nothing in 4 months? I suspect he plans to freeload off you for some time. And why did he get no deposit back? Did he trash the place? Refuse to leave at the end of his notice (you say he is only leaving as work is beginning on his old place).

drinkingtea · 06/07/2017 07:41

Talk to him before he unpacks.

In all honesty I'd ask him to sign a contract. You could set a very low rent purely to cover the cost (gas, electricity, water if metered, loss of single occupancy council tax if relevant) of having him there - £25 a week or so. Setting an end date is critical so that you can evict him after 3 or 6 months if he digs in, or if he takes the piss and breaks the contract.

Cleanermaidcook · 06/07/2017 07:44

You really should have sorted this out before his arrival so he was clear on expectations and could have gone somewhere else if he didn't like it but when he arrives I would sit him down with a brew and say something like £... is your weekly share of household bills (gas/electric etc) would you like me to add on x amount for food or will you be buying your own? Payday will be every friday (or whenever) Here is the washing machine, this is how you use it, you will need to wash your own clothes, towels and bedding. if you could be responsible for hoovering the stairs and putting out the bins that would be great, I will do the rest of the housework.
I'd be happy to know where i stand from the start.

2014newme · 06/07/2017 07:46

He will get deposit back from last place. Find out when he'll get it.
Tell him he can stay till then plus 2 weeks to find somewhere

drinkingtea · 06/07/2017 07:46
AlltheGinJoints · 06/07/2017 07:47

Crikey, I'm clearly a soft touch aren't I?

Thank you for replies so far, just to clear a couple of things up I'd not explained fully, he only called me last week to tell me a rental he had organised had fallen through, not with an agent but 'card in newsagents window' sort of thing. I said come here then as he had nowhere else.

I hadn't clicked on that he should have a deposit coming back to him, I'm going to ask him about that...

MrKaplan I like how your friends handled things.

Off on school run now, I'll be back for more wiseness soon and to reply properly.

OP posts:
Bluerose27 · 06/07/2017 07:51

Definitely set boundaries!! My sil came to stay for a while (I think just 2 weeks in the end) and we didn't set boundaries as we assumed she would know how to live with people. Cue showers at midnight, her going to bed at 5am , making noise and waking me up. Her stuff all over the place, food left out attracting an ant apocalypse that I had been battling all month previously.

Anyway, I could go on but your relationship with your brother will benefit from boundaries and an end date. And as others have suggested, a share in housework. I'd suggest a rather large share as you want him to feel it would be better to have his own place, you don't want to be providing him with a hotel experience!

Ilikecheeriosyum · 06/07/2017 07:52

I had my brother come live with us for a bit, when he didn't have any where to live,

I kept it quite straight forward and tried to ignore the whole (you're my brother and you share everything I have) as he is a freeloader so I have him a room and a cupboard and said you full this with your food and its yours alone.

He paid rent on the room.

We Sat down on his first day and drew up house rules,
No smoking indoors - garden only, clean anything you mess up (dishes/toilet ect) and rent on the 1st every month. Downstairs is communal, rooms are private (obviously make this clear if living rooms are off limits at certain times as that's where you relax or whatever)

Dh struggled with the feeling of we didn't have the house to ourselves, but it wasn't too bad.

In the end rent stopped being paid as brother went travelling and made no arrangements and we bagged up his things after 2 months and stored then and cleared the room. (Which was filthy and disgusting and i was so upset) but hey! Not his house.

So I wouldn't have done it differently but be prepared to stand your ground and say leave if rules are broken.

CrikeyPeg · 06/07/2017 07:53

Don't bother too much with the gently gently approach. Just tell him what you expect, esp when it comes to $$$ and pulling his weight around the place. Is he working?

Tinseleverywhere · 06/07/2017 08:07

I agree with the contract idea. I think you can do it in a friendly way by saying you have heard so many stories about people falling out when they move in together and you don't want that to happen with you guys.
It sounds like your brother may be someone who has few problems and to be honest he could be the sort to be there for years. I think it might be worth you helping him find a place. I mean working out how to finance it and helping him with the search and so on. Some people get overwhelmed by that sort of thing. I know it's not really your job to do this but it might help get him out of your house sooner so it's worth your while.
If you decide to do that and he agrees then rather than setting a time limit you can say he has to move out once you have found a suitable place for him.

aaaaargghhhhelpme · 06/07/2017 08:08

Oh and remember you're doing him a massive favour. You don't owe it to him.

I hate it when nice polite people feel obliged to bend over backwards for 'takers'

Remember it's your house! Your rules!

HotelEuphoria · 06/07/2017 08:13

Yes to written list of rules, shared communal space and out of bounds space and list of designated jobs he is responsible for such as all floors or cleaning bathroom etc. One cupboard for food and pans and one shelf in the fridge. You need to separate his responsibilities and space otherwise they will end up being covered by you. So he uses his own pans do if they are not washed they are his to clean.

Treat it like a room in a shared house, expect of him what you would a lodger you have never met.

Lay out all the rules when he arrives.

With a bit of luck he will realise living with you is going to be a massive PiA and will look for somewhere quick.

Tinseleverywhere · 06/07/2017 08:28

I think you need to think about what you will do if he doesn't stick to your rules. Having them all clearly set out is a good start and as a pp said it would be very helpful to someone who wants to pull their weight but isn't quite sure what you want them to do. But if he is not following the rules you will need to act quickly. You don't want to get in a position where you have to kick him out because he isn't following the rules. If you think that could happen rethink what you are willing to do for him right now. Maybe you won't ask much of him but it will be a much shorter stay.

specialsubject · 06/07/2017 09:08

If he didnt surrender the tenancy he has actually been illegally evicted, taking out the bathroom and kitchen breaks all sorts of rules .

He needs to get clued up.

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