Sister-in-law and her family wants to move in!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2006
Sister-in-law and her family wants to move in!!!
Wed, 09-25-2013 - 11:58pm

I have a huge problem. My husband's sister called him today and asked if she and her kids could move in once her home is finally foreclosed on. He agreed saying "I'm not going to let my sister, niece, and nephew get thrown out into the street." So now it's inevitable that they will be moving in soon. I am absolutely devasted by this. We just moved to the state a little over a month ago. We had been living in an apt and were completely fed up with apartment living because of the lack of privacy. When DH was offered a job transfer we decided to go for it and start over fresh. We thought that the cheaper cost of living would give us the opportunity to finally move into a house. Well, that's exactly what we did. We moved into a beautiful 3 bedroom home in a great neighborhood. We loved our new home and everything about it and we especially enjoyed our privacy (we currently don't have any children). 

We had been hearing about his sister and her money issues for years. She and her husband we're always on the brink of foreclosure. Just a combination of not making enough money (she's a part-time medical biller and her husband is on disability). Even though they could barely pay the mortgage or the other household bills they would always seem to find a way to splurge on expensive materialistic things like a projector screen tv, or new shiny rims for their car. For years, they would ask DH for "loans" or ask for gifts for their children.

Fast forward to today and she informs DH that the foreclosure is going through. I think it's such a coincidence that they were able to eke it out all these years but as soon as we happen to move to the same state, now they are getting thrown out. DH said that he heard that they stop paying the mortgage. The only reason someone would do that is if they knew they had a definitely alternative residence. Guess that's where DH and I come in because they knew he wouldn't let them get thrown into the street.

I feel sick, disappointed, used, and depressed. Looking back, I feel like when they came over to visit that they were just scoping out the place. I had spent hours fixing up the "guest" room because my parents were supposed to visit for my birthday in a few weeks. Now that can't happen. They would have to stay at a hotel. I feel like I fixed the room up and decorated it just for the sister-in-law. When she saw the room she marveled over the setup and the decor. 

So basically I went from having a beautiful empty home with just me and DH to having his sister and her two teenage kids moving in. This is complicated by the fact that I never really liked the sister because of her money-leeching ways and by the fact that we don't have kids yets but now we'll be living with 2 teenagers.

Has anyone else experienced anything like this? Any advise on how to make it through without going nuts?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-10-2013

I agree.  Your man NEVER should have done something like that without asking you first!  How would he feel if you did that to him?  Now, take some of the great advice suggested here.  Primarily there has to be ground rules and they have to be enforced by your DH.  Don't let them get too comfortable.  Require her to do like they do at long term drug rehab and make her open an account and put all her paychecks into an account that you can monitor to make sure she IS saving to move out.  I'd make her kids get jobs if they're old enough.  Don't let them take over, and trust me, they will if you aren't very vigilant.  This happened to my parents and my aunt is still there almost 5 years later!  

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2011
Tue, 10-15-2013 - 2:48pm

you must not let that happen!

if it happens then you pretty much know youre marriage is at the beginning to the end

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008

Since she has another year, as a single separated mother with little money, she could qualify for section 8 housing (subsidized low-income housing).  Perhaps you could do some research about the availability of those housing in her area and see if you could get her to aplly for it ahead of time (it takes a while to get in).

Just a thought ...

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 09-26-2013 - 5:58pm

I have to say, I am pretty upset at your DH right now!  That is a decision that never should have happened without discussing it with you first. 

I don't know how helpful this is at this point, but if your DH really wants to help his sister, he needs to help her find other living arrangements.   Really, she can stay in that house until she is kicked out.  Some people are able to squat for up to 2 years.   At a minimum, it takes months for a house to offically foreclose.  UNLESS, she is already to that point and really has been kicked out.  But something to find out.  Honestly, I don't know if she will tell you two the truth though. 

Regardless, this needs to be addressed with your DH immediately.  This is not an emergency situation.  It would be different if there house burned down and even then, insurance would pay for a motel.  KWIM?   Short term "my apartment won't be ready for two weeks" type thing is understandable.  This was not only avoidable, but out right neglegent on your SIL's part.  

Sorry, kind of venting here on your behalf.  Grrr......

Anyways, you are wise to do some homework on emergency type living situations.  Although your SIL should be the one to do that herself, but it is what it is. 

So, my thoughts are since your DH is already put his foot in his mouth, is to make it somewhat uncomfortable for them to be there (if they do move in).  I think it would be worth the cost of a storage unit, and tell her they can only bring necessities.  Some people only offer to let the children stay there when the circumstances are because of neglegect, and not a true hardship of circumstance. 

OR, the other idea might be to help her have a moving sale and state the importance of you only having room for their clothes and toothbrushes.  I don't know, just kind of brainstorming here.  I don't know if any of these ideas would fly with your DH.

Lastly, we could be totally wrong here and maybe she was truly treated badly in the marriage and really does just need a break.  I don't know.  I left an abusive marriage with the clothes on my back and a laundry basket with my two babies and went to a womens shelter.  I found an apartment, stayed with parents for 2 weeks waiting for apartment to be ready (shelters aren't exactly a lot of fun perse).  So I have little patience when I hear stories that you describe.  YES, I needed help.  But I also was willing to help myself

Offer to go with her to the county or state and apply for assistance.  Get on waiting list for housing, etc. 

Enough out of me.  Sorry for rambling.  Good luck and let us know what happens!

Serenity CL making a second marraige work

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2006
Thu, 09-26-2013 - 3:33pm

Hi Elc, I think you're right. For DH to make this decision without consulting me is so disappointing. I plan to talk to him tonight about it. I'm hoping that there's still hope. That they will move somewhere else. I'm hoping we won't even get to the point of creating guidelines and rules. I'm hoping that they just won't move in period. I'm almost tempted to suggest DH help on the mortgage just so they won't move here but who knows how far back they are. Wish me luck. I'm going to scour the web for last minute living facilities.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Thu, 09-26-2013 - 1:17pm

What a bad situation. I suggest sitting down again with your dh, and setting some guidelines. Things like a deadline for when they must move out, how they will contribute to running the household financially and physically, house rules, etc. Dealing with teenagers can be an entire topic. Also talk about how these things will be "enforced".  IMO your dh should be the enforcer since its his relative, and he invited her. If its too comfy for them then there is no incentive to move out. 

I would be livid about dh not talking to you first. Even if he was set on letting her stay with you, as a courtesy he should have told you before agreeing to it. 

It may be jumping the gun, but some sessions with a marriage counselor might be a good idea. This situation could be very stressful on your marriage, especially if your SIL and her kids turn out to be inconsiderate roommates. Your dh may need a professional's help in balancing family loyalty vs marital loyalty, and learning how to set and enforce boundaries with his sister. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2006
Thu, 09-26-2013 - 8:58am

Thank you so much for your quick response. I definitely welcome your words of encouragement. I told DH exactly how I felt in a very calm manner (which was extremely hard because I felt torn up inside). He just said that he understood my concern but he didn't know what else to do but let them stay because they had no other alternative. He said that he didn't know how long they would need to stay but that they shouldn't expect to be there until next October. So I guess they have up until a year according to him. 

My concern is that the sister has no plan to increase her income. She has been working that low-paying part time job for years and they were just barely getting by. So I'm wondering how is she going to get an apartment for her and her kids based on her current salary and terrible credit? It's my understanding that she's leaving her husband due to him having an affair and a child outside the marriage.They aren't legally divorced (they can't afford to) so there will be no child support, alimony, or anything else coming from him.

I just see her moving in as permanent because she doesn't have the means to get an apartment on her own. Besides that, I can see her not contributing to helping with any of our increased bills since she will be "saving to move out". I can't see anything good coming out of this situation. I am so angry I don't know what to do.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2013
Thu, 09-26-2013 - 1:14am

Can imagine how you must be feeling at the moment. I can understand your husband's concern for his sister and her kids, but having another family living with you is not easy. Have you sat across and had a chat with your DH about this? How long are they planning to stay with you? They definitely need to find other accomodation. Your DH needs to see that. I'd say don't have arguments with him about this as that will make him more defiant. Talk to him in a very cool manner and explain how you feel. I am sorry you're in this situation. I know I'm no help but just couldn't help writing in.