How to Speak to Husband & SIL *Updated*

Updated on January 02, 2013
C.B. asks from New York, NY
18 answers

Ok I had to create a new profile as I don't want anyone related to me to know that it is me.

Here it husband & I have a home with a garage apartment that my SIL (52yo) has been living in for 3 years - she is a grad student (former teacher - so it isn't like she doesn't know how to work hard)....she is only paying $250/mo towards the utilities (her 24yo son also lives here aswell). Well her hours have been cut and she will not get another job or push her side business (tutoring) and it is causing alot of financial stress for her & now us. I have to literally pester her about paying us each month and it is getting on my nerves. Keep in mind that for 1 year she did not pay us at all. She also has 2 cats (elderly) that are messing up the apartment and it is getting nasty (per her son - I can't go up there b/c i will get too stressed if I see it nasty). My issue is my FIL & his wife are well off (no debts and very nice retirement accounts - I know their financial situation as I have done their taxes for years) and does give her money each month to make ends meet for her - yet we can't get ends to meet - when we have asked for a small amount it is a loan that they demand we repay (which I have no problem doing) but when she is given money it is told to her to NOT repay. When we first bought this house - we had been living at FIL's old home (he & his wife lived in their condo) which had no mortgage & we (husband & I) paid all electric/cable/phone/taxes on the house while we lived there with SIL (who was supposed to pay the water - but we have now learned that FIL & his wife paid it and told her not to tell us). Anyway - when we moved her my husband (with my blessing) had said she could stay with us while she finished her PhD (I thought it would just be a year - but she has gone past that and gotten an extention to complete it as she has been at it for over 5yrs. I didn't learn until later that my FIL & his wife had offered to pay for her to rent an apartment near her school until she graduated - when I learned that I told my husband that they should be giving us that money - hubby said i was being rude and that was wrong.

Anyway, My husband works his butt off us to buy this house and for me to stay home. He is the type that wants to take care of everyone and I think has a guilt issue b/c she cared for their mom when she was very ill and put her life on hold. I am trying to find a non-agressive/confrontational way to tell my husband that

1) we need to get his sister to pay atleast $300/mo (especially since the utilities have gone up & I need to start putting $ aside to repair the apartment when she moves out)

2) we need to tell SIL & Nephew that they need to move out this year - I would like them out July 1st but will deal with Dec 31st

3) we need to get the rent payment ontime and if there is an issue it isn't our problem anymore and she can go to her Dad to cover it.

I am just over it and I want her out - I see her taking advantage of my husband and she is just never going to graduate or get a job to support herself. I want the apartment for a man cave/guest area but with her there I can't

Someone please help.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

I appreciate all the responses - my only issue with the fact that FIL pays for her stuff is that if he is willing to pay rent +utilities to a stranger then he could pay us (his own son) the minimal rent for our area - not even the utilities. Believe me when I say we live in an amazing community with wonderful features/etc... that she gets to use at no charge. If they want to give her all their money that is fine, I just don't think that we need to be the ones suffering financially supporting her and are going to have to fix the apartment once she does leave.

Honestly once she moves if FIL wants to continue to support her and never give us a dime - that is fine with me and I have no problem. My issue is the deceptive way that it is all handled.

I have decided to talk to my husband this weekend as he has a very stressful week at work. I am also going to provide a list of the rentals in our area and the area around her school and the area near her son's work and show him that they are getting a "free" ride essentially. I am also going to point out to him that the deal was supposed to be a year but it is now 3 and one reason we got this property was so when our kids graduate HS if they couldn't live on campus or go away to school they would have a place to stay - a kinda transition apartment.

As for her son joining the military - that is not an option for him for medical reasons.

Thanks again everyone

Lee H. - I am usually the one saying to help out family but there is a different between helping and enabling and the second is what my husband & I have done by allowing them to be here for so long paying nearly nothing. She has no incentive to get her act in gear and graduate and become independent. THe whole family has helped her out - granted she helped care for their mother before her death & put her life on hold for many years - but it has been 10.5 years since she passed and it is time for this GROWN ADULT WOMAN to live on her own!!! Honestly if it was my sister, mother, brother, etc... I would have been stronger with the rent and them keeping the apartment up. The issue is no one in my husband's family has ever made her stand on her own two feet (she has never lived on her own/paying rent until she lived here)
She does have a job - granted it is as a Grad Student/Asst - but she also has enough time to get another job and finish her degree - LIKE THOUSANDS OF OTHER PEOPLE DO!!!!
I was her friend for a long time until I realized that she is a passive/aggressive mooch who needs to learn to live on her own.
As for the repairs - We are going to need to pull out ALL the carpet, replaster/paint all the walls, get the A/C vents treated (again) all because of how she has treated the apartment and because we will have to fix all the Cat damage, as well as probably replace the appliances (they are really nasty and she hasn't maintained them at all). We are probably going to have to eat the repair costs but this is completely unfair.

THe more I think about the anger just builds.

***Hubby is going to talk to his Dad and explain we can no longer afford to support her & her son, while I am going to tell her & her son that the rent will now be $500/mo beginning Feb 1st - I know they will be saying they can't afford it and I will just tell them that we can't afford to support them and they will need to figure out how it is paid but we need to have it no later than the 1st of the month. If they want FIL to pay it - fine I don't care but they will be paying it or moving out.

Featured Answers



answers from New York on

My only advice is just be honest and direct. I really
Don't understand how she could not feel uncomfortable
Being in the situation she is in. Some people just
Like to take the easy way out. Don't let people take
Advantage of you

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Washington DC on

I would check local listings for equivalent apartments in your area. After you compile a few comps, sit down with hubby and show him what other apartments are actually renting for in your area. Also go over all of your bills and current income. Show him in black and white how much your family could be socking away towards your own retirement if you actually rented the apartment for what it is worth. The reason your in-laws are in the financial position they are in is because they made their retirement investments their priority while they were young.

Frankly, the smartest thing the two of you could do is to have her accept her father's offer and move to an apartment of her own while they cover her expenses. Clearly they choose not to extend those same financial courtesies to your husband. He needs to do what is best financially for his immediate family because they are only looking out for themselves. Your husband is not responsible for taking care of his sister and nephew. They are grown ups and should be taking care of themselves.

Rent that apartment out at the going rate (plus utilities) for the next few years and apply the rent directly to your mortgage. I'm assuming it's a 2 bedroom apt since both are living there. I'm not sure what rent is in your area but around here 2 bedroom apts rent for $750-$1000 per month depending on if utilities are included or paid separately. That's an additional $9000 to $12000 applied directly to your mortgage principal each year. If you pay your mortgage biweekly you knock 5 years off the life of your loan on average. Can you image what you would be able to knock off by also applying an additional $750 to the principal each month? I'm betting you could at minimum cut a 30 year down to a 15 year or less.

Your husband needs to really think about what is best for his wife and children. You are in the unique position of making your house work for you and pay for itself. Utilize that advantage to the fullest. Your SIL will be fine in her new apt and apparently she is quite comfortable allowing her daddy to support her so let him.

Peace and Blessings,
T. B

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

So your SIL should... go and live in an apartment near her school, and with her son, move there. As your FIL and MIL, had offered to do for her.
Then that will get her out of your home.
And your in-laws will be paying for your SIL's bills and rent anyway, so she won't be stuck. They will pay everything for her.

Or, your SIL can move out of your home, and move in with your FIL and MIL. Along with her grown up son.

Your Husband, can easily do that. Your SIL DOES HAVE other living arrangements at her beck and call. ie: your MIL and FIL WILL pay for all her expenses somewhere else. So your Husband does not have to worry about her. At all.
But, he chooses to be the Martyr.
But meanwhile, he is not thinking of the stress and hardship it is all causing upon you. His Wife. And upon his and your, home itself.

Your Husband has to decide what the priorities are.
He cannot continue... to do this.
And besides, his own Mom and Dad and sister.... are ALL taking advantage of your Husband and you.
AND they ALL do not.... really care nor appreciate... all the hardship your Husband is going through now, having his Sister and her son, there.

The only thing is for your SIL and her son, to move out and live in another place that your In-Laws will pay for, and which they already do pay for everything anyway for your SIL.
So they can EASILY, move out. Right?
SIL is being completely subsidized by her Mom and Dad.

Your Husband is being used by his own family. And they even lie to him... telling his sister not to tell him that they are paying her bills etc.
His family are the ones that are being "rude and wrong."
Not you.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I'm with you on all counts except having her dad pay for her. Your FIL and his finances have nothing to do with this and shouldn't be part of the equation. That said, a 52 year old woman (and a 24 year old adult) ought to be financially responsible enough to take care of her basic needs. Shelter is one of the most basic needs, and your SIL has a very sweet deal. Tell your hubby that he needs to raise the rent, set a date for this living situation to end and communicate it to his sister.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

This is what I would do. I would hire an electrician to come and put a meter on the garage apartment. I would tell them that you are planning on renting it out when they move out for added income since you can't make ends meet. Then tell them they'll need to arrange for the utilities to be put in their name as soon as possible because it's going to be out of your name on February 1st. That way they can make plans and gather resources to make the deposits and 1st months payment.

They need a reason to want to move out and into that apartment by campus, this would be a great reason. No more free utilities.

Then if that didn't work and they did start taking care of that bill on their own I would have hubby do all the rest of the work towards getting money out of them. It's your property too but he made an agreement with them to let them live there, he let them live there without paying rent for a period of time without evicting them, he has basically said this is their agreement.

In Oklahoma when a property is rented out, allowing someone to live there with or without money changing hands really doesn't make much difference, they are living an a building that is separate from your residence. It doesn't matter whether they are living on your property or off. They are tenants. You and hubby allow them to have their residence in that place, it is their legal mailing address, it is "theirs" while they live there. Just like any other tenant they have legal rights. They have a right to live like they want, they have the right to privacy from you going in their home when they are home or not, you can't just go in their rooms without a valid reason such as smoke, fire, gas smell, or some other form of emergency that would require you to enter the apartment. They are technically tenants and not relatives living with you. They have their own residence.

In a normal renter situation you'd have a security deposit to charge cleaning and repairs to for the animal issues. Since you don't have that until she moves out you can't know the apartment is going to require very many repairs or even a deep cleaning. I have always gotten my entire deposit's back each and every time I have moved out except once.

My landlord and I did a final walk through of my apartment and he told me I was going to have to pay for new carpet due to huge stains on the carpet. Plus painting and other cleaning. I showed him the original walk through we had done when I took the apartment. I showed him where I had drawn a diagram of the carpet stains and had written a note asking if they could re-clean it because it looked like brown varnish. I drew a picture! and he was still trying to say I did that and would have to pay for new carpet.

As for the other stuff, one by one I showed him where I had mentioned each issue and asked them to fix them before I moved in because they were not acceptable to me.

I refused and told him to take me to court because I had it in writing that every issue he said was a charge to me was listed in the original walk through by me. He ended up keeping about half of my deposit due to wear and tear on the apartment. I should have been able to get my entire deposit back but oh well, I was tired of arguing with him by this point.

So you are between a rock and a hard place. I imagine it sucks.

That's what I mean when I say they have no reason to move, they have it easy with you, they have no bills, no utilities, I imagine they even show up at meal time often.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hoo boy, you poor thing. From the sound of this, I dont think t his is going to work at all unless you talk to hubby first and get his support with this. I fear that otherwise, things will go badly, feelings will be bad, you'll get the rap as the "bad guy", and your inlaws are clearly favoring her at everyone's expense. Not your problem, (well, it is, but you can't do a thing about it) It is going to have to be a joint talk, or even better, he should do it.
Gosh, good luck. Be sure he's on board with everythign before you or he talk to her.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Nephew can join the Army or Navy.
At 24 he's an adult and should be making his own way in the world.
Or he can go live with his Dad if he'll have him.
Your SIL needs to make other arrangements.
The sooner she is given notice, the sooner she can get her act together.
They are not pulling their weight and no one gets a free ride.
Your Hubby needs to be on board with this and should give her the news.
Give her a dead line (get your legal ducks in a row for an eviction notice), and then don't back down no matter what happens.
I'd give her 90 days (3 months) but extend to 180 day (6 months).
Moving is just easier in the spring or summer.
You want to be able to clean/paint it and have it set up for your holidays next year.
If she refused to leave (decides to be a squatter), you might have to have a sheriff move her out and off your property.
Change all the locks after she's gone.
If you ever rent again, have a rental agreement in writing and specify when it will end (1 year is typical but you can choose any time period).

When my uncle had rental properties and people refused to pay rent and refused to leave, he would come in the middle of winter and remove all the windows (so they could be upgraded/replaced), but then tell them the order was messed up and the new windows would not be in for a few weeks.
When you've got 20 degree weather and no windows - you move out pretty darn quick.
Probably not legal, but it solved the problem for him.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

You won't be able to evict her without your husband being all right with it, and I'm guessing he's not. It's his sister. But if he's all right with it, then you're going to have to get a lawyer and go through the eviction process legally. It sounds like a complicated situation and so you have to make sure that you do it correctly per the laws in your state AND your city or else she could sue you with her daddy's backing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

These folks are mooches and your MIL/FIL are foolish for covering their expenses at all. How they spend their money is none of your business, however. I am not a fan of borrowing or loaning money and would not take money from my in-laws or parents for anything, but that's just me. Your husband needs to step up and establish more firm boundaries and rules or they need to leave and be supported however, that's not your problem. This woman and her son are comfortable having others support their adult asses. They are taking advantage of you and your husband. I would ask them to pay up on time or get out. They are losers.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would lay out the bills with your DH and say that while you understand that he may feel some guilt because she cared for their mother, but if she has not paid for a year, and your household can no longer absorb her burden on your home, then it's dollars and cents. If your FIL and his wife are so generous, then it's not that SIL will be out without resources. She can go to them. I do not expect it to go well, but I would try to bring him around to your thinking or you will simply be resented by everyone.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

The only way to resolve this easily is if your husband is on the same page. If this is causing you a lot of stress (and it sounds like it is) it might be helpful to have a special sit down planning session with your husband. Start by asking him a lot of questions:

How long do you feel it is appropriate for your sister to continue renting from us?
Are her contributions at an appropriate level?
How should we handle the late payments?
I feel stressed by the situation, what are some ways that we can make this work better?

Use his answers as the jumping off point. People are usually much more cooperative to make change happen when they feel like they are coming up with the solutions. Gently steer the conversation and if the solutions start to stall out, then ask him to give it some thought over the next week and the 2 of you can meet again to discuss some more.

In regards to the uneven financial treatment, that is just the way it will always be. It is FIL/MIL's money and they get to distribute it as unequally as they want. It is the same with my inlaws. MIL gave money to one of my SIL all the time. She had many failed business ideas, bums for boyfriends, and no kids to support. But she happened to be the favorite. My husband had to just get past it. It never bothered me, but then again my family has always treated everyone equally when it comes to money.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Sounds like your H thinks he is like his parents that have endless resources to give to his sis. You need to dispell this illusion. He did not take her to raise. Money and relatives just don't mix.

Apparently since your inlaws run her show, it's them you need to talk to. Unless you give your H an ultimatum he is not likely to want to talk to them. Let him know it is a top priority for your mental health this year. It's effecting your marriage and if the situation doesn't change it's going to sour your relationships with his family and you don't want that.

Good luck

Just saw Theresa's post and I think it is logical with solid facts and a great place to start the conversation!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

You need to sit down with your husband and tell him how you feel and that it has to be a set time for them to move out. It's not good at all living with all the help from MIL and FIL and secrets about who pays what when, etc. It is so much better to be 'free' of family living with you if there is a choice and it appears there is with help from her family. I hope your husband will understand and support this.



answers from San Francisco on

If your husband doesn't agree with you, then I don't know what you can do. Approach him very delicately with this topic, so he doesn't get on the defensive about it.

If he's in agreement, just tell her nicely, "SIL, we love you, but we need you to start paying $300 a month, and we need it on time, because we have bills to pay. Also, you will need to find another place to live by July 1st."

She's a big girl, she needs to start learning how to live her life responsibly. No one is helping her by allowing her to be a leech.

Just do it. But make sure hubby is on board, or it won't go well at all.

As far as what your in-laws do with their money -- that is their business, and if they treat people "unequally," that's their prerogative. Everyone doesn't need to be treated equally.



answers from Columbus on

Cut your losses, and get her out asap. I agree with the other posters that the only way to make this appear not to be "your fault" is for you waive the rental fee, but give her a set date that she has to leave.

Your in-laws have already shown their true colors (though they have tried to hide them). Don't get into a situation where you compare what the in-laws give you/do for you vs. what they do for the SIL---you will always lose that, because none of the players in this drama (probably also including your husband) will see this in a rational/non-emotional way, and you can't have a logical discussion when people are emotional.

So, cut your losses. Get SIL out now (or as soon as feasibly possible), and be the "good guy" by telling your in-laws and your SIl that you are waiving the rental fee for the next 3 months,so that she can save money to get a new place. Three months is very generous and plenty of time to find another apartment. Keep the deadline hard and fast, though, with no wiggle room. If you want to be extra nice, offer to help her move. Yes, your in-laws and SIL will likely "ding" you that you are "kicking her out", but use some valid reason to do so ("we need more space as a family" or whatever). But don't get into an argument. Just smile and hold the line. If on the day of end of the lease, if she is not ready to go, go in and start bagging up her stuff and get it out of the house and into a storage unit in her name. If you think that will not work, change the locks and then do that.

And, though it will stress you out, you might want to assess the apartment now, before she moves out. That way, you can at least know how bad it is, and start with a plan of action for after she leaves. And if she leaves sooner, then that is more time to work on fixing up the mess she is bound to leave.

And if you do decide to rent in the future, get an agreement in writing about what each party is responsible for.

And because this is a sort of sticky situation, legally, you might want to consult with a lawyer about it.



answers from New York on

I'm from a different generation, so I have a much different view than everyone else here. When I was growing up, we were taught that a blood relative is you relative no matter what...that includes taking care of them. When you get married, you marry your spouse's family as well whether you like them or not. Your SIL and FIL are your husband's sister and father. He has to respect his father, even if his father doesn't seem fair. Parents often appear to favor one child over another, but in reality it's probably because siblings are different. Some sibliings are independentt and can take care of themselves, while other's are more dependent on others and never seem to learn. All is not fair in love and war, so why make war. Yes, relatives can be very stressful. There are times when my MIL can be a real pain in the .....You get the idea. There are days, when I wish she'd move out; however, my MIL is my husband's mother, so I have to look at her as if she were my mother too. Then I realize that I am over reacting. What if your SIL was your sister? What would you do?

You're saying that FIL is willing to pay for an appartment for SIL closer to her college and that she is a grad student, then encourage it. Talk really sweet and explain how much more time she'd have and how much easier it would be if she were closer to her college. Paint a pretty picture. Become her friend, rather than her enemy. If she doesn't have a job, then she doesn't have much money so any money FIL is giving her is going for study supplies, books, and food for her and her cats. FIL probably looks at his son and thinks, well he has a job so he doesn't need anything. It's kind of like the story of the prodical son.

Once she moves out. Sure there will be a lot of cleaning. Repairs??? Are they normal or above and beyond? You just have to look at it not only as a loss, but your better to convince her to move out in a positive manner to keep peace with the family as well as lowing stress on yourself, than to continue the way you are now. Just find economical ways to clean it up.



answers from Miami on

There is NOT a non-aggressive/non-confrontational way to deal with her on this. She doesn't want to hear anything you say. She is sponging off of you and she knows it.

Tell her that you know she gets help from the inlaws and $300 of that needs to come to you DIRECT from your inlaws instead of to her to spend on everything else except her rent. If this is done, THEN she can stay until next Dec. If she doesn't, she needs to find another place to live NOW, that you are evicting her.

I'll bet that she treats you guys like dirt over this, but if you don't back down, she will direct the inlaws to pay you. You will need every penny of this money to clean and fix the disaster she leaves in that apartment.

Good luck,



answers from New York on

Get her out of your apartment and DO NOT expect anything financially. Be glad she's out and be done with it. Clearly there were secrets kept from you regarding money. The complacent attitude on your SIL & FIL behalf clearly tells you what you are dealing with and you will be fighting a futile fight if you think you'll get any money. Let it go....get her out ASAP!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions