Freeloading Sister

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-27-2003
Freeloading Sister
7
Wed, 02-20-2013 - 9:29am

My half-sister, is almost 50 years old and has been in and out of rehab and jail more times than I can count. There are many, many things that she has done in the past to make my other half-sister and I not trust her, but the rest of the family believes in her and keeps giving her chances to turn her life around. 

Three years ago, my grandmother became an invalid and couldn't stay by herself. My parents live next door, but needed help with her. My trouble-maker sister volunteered to move in with her and take care of her even though she wasn't related to her.  She lived there rent-free and my mother cooked three meals a day for her, her husband, and Grandma. She did feed Grandma and keep her relatively clean, but had a tendency to disappear for days at a time, leaving Grandma alone until my parents happened to come by to visit and discover that she needed help. Not good at all! After Grandma passed away last year, my parents told her she could continue living in Grandma's house until August when they wanted to clean out the house and sell it- 8 months.  She claimed she didn't have the money to move. My parents gave her until October. She still didn't have the money to move.  They have given her three more deadlines now and there have been excuses upon excuses.  Finally, she agreed to move this past week. My parents were paying for the move and she supposedly had a place lined up to move to.  At the last minute, she claimed that the new house has mold and she can't move in.  On top of all of this, my sister claims to have cancer, something wrong with her esophogus and something to do with gallstones (even though her gall bladder was removed several years ago). She has no doctor's paperwork to prove it and the stories are all overlapping, so I don't believe a word of it.  At this point, if she told me her name, I wouldn't believe it.  Meanwhile, my parents are broke and buying groceries on credit cards and going further and further into debt because she won't move out of Grandma's house so that they can sell it.  She has said many times that she believes my father should give Grandma's house to her because she took care of her.  (My parents took care of her for over 16 years before she moved in, but I guess that doesn't mean anything). 

I keep telling my parents that they need to make a firm deadline for her to get out and if she's not out by that date, have everything turned off and change the locks.  She has never paid rent and the utilities and cable are still in my parents' name.  They are sick, elderly and don't want to fight with her. They think she will leave peacefully, but she's not. It shouldn't take her this long to move a few boxes and get out.  While she and her husband are staying there, they have let a bunch of dirty stray cats in the house to use as a giant litter box, ruined Grandma's antique furniture, and broken several things. I guess their plan is to ruin the house so that my parents won't be able to sell it and it will go to her by default. 

Does anyone have any advice on what I can do to help my parents through this? How can they get this criminal lying freeloader out of the house?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Mon, 03-11-2013 - 5:33am

If your sister is 50, then your parents must be in their 70's, and if they haven't figured it out yet, they are first class enablers.  They aren't going to change any more than your sister is.  They can't have a pizza delivered because someone would think your mother can't cook?  Your parents have their own problems obviously!  People don't worry about the neighbors anymore.....because the neighbors don't CARE what other people do.  I agree with the other poster.  Have them sell the house as is, no matter what the condition......and if someone buys it, then the problem is theirs.  But your parents will continue to enable her no matter where she lives.  Tell them you're tired of being upset by the situation, so you don't want to hear about it anymore.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-27-2003
Wed, 02-27-2013 - 3:11pm
Update: My parents told me that my sister has a friend that has agreed to let her and her husband stay with her while her husband his deployed and is planning on moving by the end of this week. I'm crossing my fingers that it will work out so that my parents will be off the hook and can move on with their lives. Thanks, everyone, for letting me vent and giving me options. We're not completely out of the woods, so your advice may still come in handy!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2009
Tue, 02-26-2013 - 10:22am

Your parents are enablers, and they have to be the ones to kick her out.  You can get information for them but they have to legally remove her.  Turning of the utilities and changing the locks is illegal, and the police will let her back in.  They have to give at least 30 days written notice, whether she is paying rent or not.  Talk to a lawyer.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Thu, 02-21-2013 - 3:07pm

One thing you need to tell your parents is to stop complaining to you about wanting her out of the house.  It helps no one to keep talking about the issue but taking no action to make a change.  You could, on your own, speak to a lawyer about the situation and what can be done about it.  This is a difficult situation, and until your parents want to actually make a change, there is nothing you can do, but you don't have to listen to them complain about the situation. 

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Thu, 02-21-2013 - 11:26am

A couple ideas, they are all somewhat of a longshot, but I thought I would just throw them out.

1.  Sell the house as-is, with your sister still living there.  While it would fetch a lower price than if it were all fixed- up, the longer your sister live there, the worse the house would get (and thus costs more to fix it up).  While your parents would not get the full value for the house, at least they are not digging themselves deeper into debt.  Let the buyer evict your sister.

2.  Take out a reverse mortgage on the house so your parents will have some income.  Eventually the house will have zero value, and the bank will come get it.  In this case, the bank will evict your sister.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-27-2003
Thu, 02-21-2013 - 11:17am
Thanks for the reply. I don't think my parents would ever agree to speak with a lawyer. They are too embarrassed to have a pizza delivered to their house for fear that the neighbors would think something is wrong with my mother's cooking, so they definitely wouldn't want an outsider to know anything about their personal problems (That's how they would see it anyway). They complain to me constantly about how they want my sister out of the house, but when she comes over to their house, it's like they're the co-presidents of her fan club. They are afraid of confrontation and drama. As my father's only child, I kind of feel like I should step in and protect him from what's going on, but I'm also the "baby" of the family and no one really respects my opinion or tells me the whole story about things that are going on (I live 4 hours away, so I'm not a witness to the day-to-day soap opera going on around there). My husband has a pre-paid legal benefit through his job. I wonder if it might be a good idea to ask a lawyer for advice on our own...?
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 02-20-2013 - 4:23pm

Unfortunately your parents are enablers, your sister know it, so she is taking advantage of them.  If they really want to get her out, at this point they should consult a lawyer because her continued stay in the house might mean that they have to go through the court to evict her legally--maybe you could offer them money to pay a lawyer, but other than that I don't know what you can do other than try to convince them that sis is taking advantage of them.

Kind of reminds me of my friend's mother--she's the only girl & she has 4 brothers. Two of them are fine but one has mental problems & is on disability and the other one was a drug addict for years.  those 2 brothers sponged off the mother for years, lived with her rent free, etc.  It really wasn't until the mother was really elderly & couldn't take care of herself any more that my friend and the "good" brother took charge, sold her house & got her an apt--well guess who is the one taking the mom to doctor's appts. and buying her groceries, etc.--not the useless brothers.  Now the mom is in a nursing home and there is no money going out to anyone so those brothers are really on their own.  What you really have to watch out for is make sure your sister isn't manipulating your mother/parents to change their will to leave her the house.