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After a man offered his friend a below-market rental in his basement, things turned unexpectedly when his friend discovered he had no mortgage. Despite paying less than market value, his friend felt betrayed for being “taken advantage” of. However, many argue the contrary.
Adam’s Path to Homeownership
The original poster (OP), Adam, recently purchased his first home. Not too long ago, his last remaining grandparents passed away, and his father inherited all their assets, including their house.
Transitioning of Assets
Adam worked hard, intending to save at least 50% of a home’s purchase price to have a lower monthly mortgage payment. A lower mortgage would allow him to travel and do other activities more easily.
Father’s Offer to Sell the Inherited Home
Adam’s father had no plans to move into his newly inherited home any time soon, so he offered to sell it to Adam at below market rate. The only condition was for Adam to allow his father and stepmother to move into the basement apartment in the future.
Adam has a good relationship with his parents and knows they wouldn’t invade his privacy, so he agreed without hesitation. Six months after purchasing the home from his father, Adam considered renting out the finished basement apartment.
Adam’s Rental Offer to Friend’s Brother
The basement has two bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room, and a small kitchen. Recently, Adam discovered Ethan, a friend’s brother, was moving into the city and needed a place to stay.
Ethan is a teacher and doesn’t have a high income, so he was looking for an affordable place. Adam offered for Ethan to rent his basement for less than the market rate at $650 per month, including all utilities.
Confronting the Truth
Without hesitation, Ethan agreed and signed a one-year lease. A few months passed with no issues.
Rent Reality Check
One day, Ethan asked if he could pay the landlord directly instead of paying Adam. Here’s where things headed downhill.
Adam’s Stand on Mortgage Disclosure
Adam, confused, told Ethan that he owned the home. Ethan quickly became upset and yelled at Adam that he’d been lying to him for six months and “taking advantage” of him. Ethan believed he was being charged “too much” for rent.
Adam was taken aback. He’d offered Ethan cheap rent that included utilities. For perspective, a similar apartment elsewhere in the city would’ve cost Ethan at least twice his current rent.
Quest for Insight and Advice
Ethan then demanded to know how much of Adam’s mortgage he covered, but Adam refused to answer. Ethan stormed out and slammed the door to his place.
Debating Fairness and Responsibility in Rent
“The question isn’t the mortgage. It’s fair market rate for what he’s getting. I get the shock he’s feeling, but he’s not entitled to free housing just because you’re friends.”
Generosity, Friendship, and Ownership
“OP isn’t hording [sic] space. OP only owns one property, he lives in it, takes care of it, and is sharing it, charging way less than he could. That is the type of property owner we want more of!”
Understanding Tenant-Landlord Relationships
“He’s paying well below market rate and the amount you’re ‘paying in rent’ shouldn’t impact this as it’s your house. Would he expect to live there for free if you had already paid off the house and had no monthly payment?”
Adam feels bad about the situation and has asked his friends for perspective. Some say Adam is wrong for having Ethan cover his mortgage payments. In contrast, others think Ethan should be grateful for paying cheap rent.
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