Author Topic: Extended Family Problems - Get your stuff off my yard!  (Read 872 times)

Accidental Miser

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Extended Family Problems - Get your stuff off my yard!
« on: July 21, 2018, 11:11:14 AM »
So, I have a sticky situation that I'd like some advice on.  I own my MIL's house.  We've owned it for 18 years and my MIL lives there rent free.  We pay the taxes and insurance on it and do basic maintenance on the house. 

Unfortunately, my wife's family is using the home as a kennel and storage unit.  We live 700 miles away and cannot be there all the time to make sure my sisters-in-law and their children aren't junking up the property and keeping animals in the home.

We've had a strained relationship with the entire side of the family for a decade and haven't been in regular contact for a long time.  My MIL recently had surgery and my son went last week to render some assistance to her.  The sisters ran him off but he took lots of pictures and we now realize the house conditions are unacceptable.

Any advice on getting them to get their crap out without resorting to threats and creating a difficult emotional situation for my MIL.  She is very passive and sensitive and the rest of them are a brood of vipers. 

Thanks!

waltworks

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Re: Extended Family Problems - Get your stuff off my yard!
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2018, 11:15:30 AM »
Sell house, use proceeds to rent MIL an apartment.

I mean, you don't live there or anywhere nearby. Your MIL is apparently unable/willing to lay down the law. You have no realistic options here to take away their access to the property so long as she lives there.

-W

tralfamadorian

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Re: Extended Family Problems - Get your stuff off my yard!
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2018, 11:52:11 AM »
Or hire someone to do the strong-arming for you? Frame it to the family as someone to help your MIL keep up the property since she's had her surgery. Frame the job to the person performing it that they will subtly be in charge of getting the freeloaders out and keeping them out. It will be more work and more expensive than @waltworks 's idea but if your MIL is determined to age in place, it could be an option.

Accidental Miser

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Re: Extended Family Problems - Get your stuff off my yard!
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2018, 08:49:28 PM »
Thanks.  I agree Walt, that would fix the problem.  I am considering doing that.  MIL has lived in the house since 1970 and, although it's a piece of crap, she's going to be reluctant to leave it, I think.

I also didn't mention that there are tons of steps in the house (split level) and she just had knee replacement so I might be able to convince her on that basis.

I do appreciate your feedback!

Villanelle

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Re: Extended Family Problems - Get your stuff off my yard!
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2018, 08:53:38 PM »
Thanks.  I agree Walt, that would fix the problem.  I am considering doing that.  MIL has lived in the house since 1970 and, although it's a piece of crap, she's going to be reluctant to leave it, I think.

I also didn't mention that there are tons of steps in the house (split level) and she just had knee replacement so I might be able to convince her on that basis.

I do appreciate your feedback!

Her reluctance to leave a property that she has lived in for free for 18 years and yet refuses to properly care for would not carry very much weight in my decision making. 

If she doesn't like the apartment you offer her for free to replace the house you've given her for free for decades, she is welcome to find something else, or buy the current home from you.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Extended Family Problems - Get your stuff off my yard!
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2018, 12:57:10 AM »
You're asking for relationship-management advice more than financial advice, but I'll give you some things to think about regarding the situation. 

If you were a close friend I'd have several questions to ask before saying more, among them:
1.  Why have you been subsidizing MIL this way for 18 years?  How did that come about?
2.  Why is the "brood of vipers," i.e., her other immediate family, not subsidizing her or sharing the cost - at least some of it? 
3.  Have you had conversations with her before about the condition of the home? 
4.  How was your son run out of a property that *you* own? 
5.  Why have you been fully paying your MIL's living expenses for 18 years, *especially* if you, your wife, and your kids aren't already 100% taken care of (e.g., are you financially independent)?  I assume you're taking care of them, but there would be a lot of things I might do and alternatives I might explore well before paying all of a relative's housing expenses. 

Your situation may be more complicated; you didn't give us those details, and it's impossible to really answer your question without answers to those questions and probably others.  You may have answers to the questions above that I wouldn't expect. 

This book may be well worth a read (you can pick it up at a local library) to evaluate how you're doing with this relationship with your mother-in-law.

Sometimes, humans need emotionally difficult situations to teach us things.  So difficult isn't always bad.  I do not *enjoy* difficult converstions about finances with close family who are struggling, and I may not like difficult conversations about behavior of family members that needs to be addressed.  But I do it when needed, because I would much rather take initiative now rather than be passive and watch others get hurt and then realize it was my responsibility to do something about it. 

(Implicit in that is a question: what is your role in this situation?  What is your role in the support of your MIL, and why are you supporting her?) 

Short truth: There's probably no easy way to unwind this without emotional pain.  Period.  You've allowed MIL to treat a whole house like a gift, basically, for years now.  She may view it as you taking from her when you now insist on conditions or attempt to remove that gift from her. 

It's easy to create dependency by floating someone cash or expenses over a long period of time.  Situations like that are harder to unwind than they were to create. 

There's another book on things like this - when charity hurts those it intends to help called, appropriately enough, When Helping Hurts.  It addresses things from a religious background, and includes spiritual needs (along with physical, emotional, and so on), but I recommend it regardless of your religion.  In short: you can often hurt people (when you think you're helping them) by simply sending cash/resources rather than addressing the underlying needs. 

And a corollary: it's actually harder to help people than it seems, and more relationship-driven than it seems, since you have to know someone in order to truly help them in many ways. 

Tip: I wouldn't promise MIL enticements to get her out of the situation only then to bail on her or eliminate the support.  That might be easier, but it's relationship-ruining.  Be honest with her.  Realize that it'll probably be difficult family-wise and emotionally, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.  It sounds like there may be more than one hard conversation that needs to take place. 

And own what you can: admit if you've been too slow to address problems/create boundaries/take action, for instance, and apologize for it.  This situation didn't develop overnight, from what you have said, so you can own the fact that you didn't address the problems sooner and more proactively. 

One more tip: if you're funding the adventure, you get to set some boundaries, such as how the house is to be treated.  You have to communicate those and make it clear, but this is your house, after all, so it should go without saying that *you* get to set some of the ground rules, such as how to avoid damaging the house.

That should be obvious, and if it's not, then I doubly recommend the book above. 

But, again, without knowing a lot more, it's hard to say anything specific as to your situation.

Fishindude

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Re: Extended Family Problems - Get your stuff off my yard!
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2018, 08:00:42 AM »
Sell house, use proceeds to rent MIL an apartment.

I mean, you don't live there or anywhere nearby. Your MIL is apparently unable/willing to lay down the law. You have no realistic options here to take away their access to the property so long as she lives there.

-W

Good advice here, however it will be real interesting getting them kicked out and getting MIL moved so you can have the place cleaned up suitably to sell.




Car Jack

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Re: Extended Family Problems - Get your stuff off my yard!
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2018, 08:56:13 AM »
Sell house, use proceeds to rent MIL an apartment.

I mean, you don't live there or anywhere nearby. Your MIL is apparently unable/willing to lay down the law. You have no realistic options here to take away their access to the property so long as she lives there.

-W

Good advice here, however it will be real interesting getting them kicked out and getting MIL moved so you can have the place cleaned up suitably to sell.

Sheriff - police will move them out and lock the place up.  The new owners can sell whatever is left there to help pay for cleanup.

Lmoot

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Re: Extended Family Problems - Get your stuff off my yard!
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2018, 10:25:06 AM »
Get your mil a 1 bedroom apartment. That way others canít live there comfortably. And it will be easier and cheaper to maintain.