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In an attempt to help his brother in a time of need, he allows him to rent out one of his properties. However, the brother-in-need eventually neglected house maintenance and delayed paying rent. Seeing no other option, this man sells the house without notifying his brother, creating tension between this family.
Understanding Rental Agreements
The original poster (OP), Sam, shared his recent troubles with his brother.
Sam allowed his brother to rent his old property when he was financially unstable. In return, Sam’s brother agreed to pay for the house and yard maintenance since Sam was not profiting from the rent.
Additional House Upgrades
Later, Sam’s brother wanted a new hot water tank since he had four kids. The problem began when Sam’s brother wanted to deduct the cost of the hot water tank from the current month’s rent.
“I reminded him of our agreement. He said he wasn’t making improvements to my property for free. I said that the old hot water tank was fine and he made the decision to replace it.”
Argument Escalates Quickly
This interaction resulted in a nasty argument, and Sam forbade his brother from making any further changes to the house without his approval.
What happens next is truly infuriating.
“He stopped doing maintenance as a protest.”
One would think it would stop here, but it did not.
Balancing Responsibility and Accountability
As if matters were not getting worse for Sam, his brother came up with another argument about adding a new breaker box to run more electronic devices in the house.
Sam informed him that they could not afford it, and in further retaliation, his brother started delaying his rent payments.
“I tried talking to him but he said that he had to buy some stuff for the house and he was low on cash.”
Smart Financial Move?
The rent was already a breakeven; cutting from it and delaying payments brought nothing but financial losses for Sam.
So this comment was the final trigger for Sam before he did what he did, as his brother turned away from the rental agreements they had legally set together.
When Property Maintenance Becomes a Source of Conflict
What Sam did next has now become a big moral dilemma for him.
He sold the house without informing his brother.
What People Think About Helping Family
“He said I should have offered him a chance to buy it. I said that he was having trouble making rent. How was he going to qualify for a mortgage[?]”
Sibling Rivalry Over Rent Payment
His brother fought back, saying he had the money to buy it, but Sam thought he was only making excuses. If he had the money, why had he stopped paying the rent?
But what burdens Sam’s conscience now is having done this to his sister-in-law and the kids.
More Truth From the Public
“My parents are on my side and they said I shouldn’t have rented to him in the first place. I feel bad for my sister-in-law and the kids but I’m not going to spend the rest of my life subsidizing his.”
For mental catharsis, Sam finally decided to speak about it online and see what most people would have done in a similar situation.
How Rent and Maintenance Costs Can Affect Family Relationships
A user asked, “Why should you lose money to help him out? It was good of you to rent to him at a discount and he crapped on you for your hospitality. You can feel bad for your sister-in-law and niblings but they are not your responsibility.”
When Money Comes in Between
In this story, rent and finances came between two brothers.
When you rent from a close family member, there is always a chance that finances will strain your personal relationship as soon as you start taking the other person for granted.
Sam Should Have Notified Brother?
“When you made the decision to sell, you should have let him know, both to allow him to purchase it (maybe he could have swung the loan), and to give him the largest window possible for moving. Unless you feel there was a risk he’d damage the property to sabotage the sale, that’s something you should have done,” another user commented.
When Being Right Doesn’t Feel Good
Seemingly, the case would have been strongly in Sam’s favor if he had informed his brother before trying to sell the house.
This approach would have either allowed Sam’s brother to set things straight or given Sam a final excuse to proceed with his decision and keep his conscience clean.
Dealing With the Consequences of Selling a Family Member’s Home
Even if it belongs to you, selling property while renting to one of your family members can seriously affect the house’s tenants.
As in the case of Sam, he has to deal with the guilt of letting his sister-in-law and her kids down, even though they are not his responsibility.
What People Are Saying
Another observer commented, “You of course have the legal right to do what you did. Turning your brother’s family out on the street with no advance notice is one of those things that makes you bad even if you are legally in the right. He should have stuck with the agreement or renegotiated a standard agreement with standard improvements and higher rent.”
It looks like there is no clear answer for Sam. While he was not legally wrong to sell the house, it still landed him in an ethical dilemma because his close family stayed there.
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