I want to move out at the end of the year and I had the idea of moving into my Grandmother’s unoccupied flat (she lives in a home).The only problem is my family. My Mother is my Grandmother’s Administrator so she makes all the big decisions when it comes to my grandmother’s affairs but because she is my mother, she can’t be seen as giving any preference to my because I’m her daughter.
The issue with this is that even if it’s something she’d do for one of my cousins, if she does it for me then it’s favouritism. So she can’t make the decision and it has to be decided by her siblings, all 6 of them, most of which live interstate
So the next person who the majority of the decision falls to is one of my aunts who does not get along with my Mother at all (which makes me sad but that’s a story for another day). She is on the board of directors for the family business (of which the flat is part of the building) and so would be setting the contract, rent etc.
The first thing is that the flat needs some work before it’s habitable long term, the carpets need replacing because they are full of dust and mould, a proper stove needs to be installed and the bathroom may need refitting.
Because this is such a potentially touchy subject, I can’t work out a way of asking whether it’s okay to move in (I am happy to pay for all utilities and rent as long as it’s appropriate) as well as bringing up the subject of renovations.
The other part of the issue is that the kitchen gets used by staff members of the family business for lunches and also that the flat is usually available for visiting family.
I am happy for these things to continue and to vacate if family need to use it but I’m not okay with paying top dollar if this is the case. I don’t feel that it’s fair that I have to cover water and power usage of the staff members either so I would like that to be reflected in what I have to pay as well.
But I don’t know how to say that without causing a huge uproar or offending someone because I can see them taking it as if I am being selfish/cheap and un-family like. Is it right for me to ask these things? I’m not being unreasonable for not accommodating other people just because they’re family, right? I believe that family and business should be kept as separate as possible.
Thanks in advance,
Sick of Family Politics
Dear Sick of Family Politics:
I’m going to be blunt with you: There are other apartments that don’t need major renovation and won’t have staff & family coming in and out of your place on the regular and that won’t make you beholden to your family. My strong suggestion is that you find one of those and bypass this whole thing, which will 99% only lead you to more hassle and moving out in a year anyway.
If you do want to see if it’s even feasible, my suggestion is to email everyone who has a say in the decision – not just your mom, so she’s not in the position of advocating for you – and ask a simple question:
“Hi, what are your plans for Grandma’s flat? Would you be willing to rent it to me starting early next year? What kind of $ and terms would you be looking for?”
Let them do the work of figuring out renovations, staff needs, and what to do about family visits. They’ll either go for the idea and quote you a price, which you can negotiate down (“Okay, I was thinking more along the lines of $____, especially if you’d still like staff and visiting family to have access to it, would that work?”) or decide is out of your budget, or they’ll refuse.
Don’t do their work for them, either in terms of figuring out logistics and what they might need from the space or the work of rejecting your suggestion before they do. Just ask, act like it’s a reasonable request, give them a lot of say in how it happens, and see what they come up with.
And in the meantime, look at other apartment situations. Realize that you will end up paying whatever you save on rent in the currency of constant intrusion and interference, guilt, family friction, total lack of privacy, and permanent expectations of supplication and gratitude. A favor loses its value if it gets brought up every Boxing Day for the rest of your life.