My husband and his brother inherited their family home. When they were able to take over, our son and his family needed a place to live. Brother was quite willing to let them move out and instead of paying him 50% rent, my husband and I would take responsibility for all maintenance, repairs, taxes, etc.
“‘His brother-in-law decided to give up money that would come from a possible rental property for the sake of the family.’ “- The Moneyist
You don’t say how the fire started. Did the stove stay on? Was it caused by faulty wiring? Or did a power line fall on the house during a storm? If it was your responsibility to take care of the property while your child and family lived there, you are responsible for those first two scenarios. Even if it was an act of nature, you are responsible for making sure the home is insured. Of course, the main thing is that no one was injured. Still, as you say, maintenance (and that includes insurance) is your department. You don’t do well on the renewal vs. free rent argument, but you also make a hypothetical argument to back up your case. You should receive more than 50% of the proceeds from the sale of the house because your brother-in-law and husband would have sold the house (maybe, we’ll never know for sure) if your son hadn’t moved. It was worth $ 45,000 back then, and is now valued at $ 100,000, so given your $ 60,000 in repairs and taxes, you should be happy with $ 22,500. OK, I’ll play that game. Let’s remove another layer of wallpaper and say, “If your parents had passed away when they were much younger, they would have sold the house for an even lower price.” Or, “If your parents lived to be 99 1/2, they might be living in the house in 2021, and maybe you would kiss like bandits because you never paid Sam the Contractor and Uncle Sam money.” Let’s peel even more layers: “If no one was born, we wouldn’t have this problem!” If you have to bend the laws of space and time to justify your proposal, it becomes a ridiculous scenario, and splitting the winnings 50/50 doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all. You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to the coronavirus at email@example.com The Moneyist: I married ‘the life of the party’, but he is different at home. He takes away his money problems and calls me a “gold digger.” Hello MarketWatchers. Take a look at Moneyist’s private FB Facebook group, -2.23%, where we search for answers to life’s thorniest money problems. Readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or comment on the latest Moneyist columns. By emailing your questions, you agree to have them posted anonymously on MarketWatch. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of MarketWatch, you understand and agree that we may use your story, or versions of it, on all media and platforms, including third parties.