How do I tell my sister it's time to start paying rent
July 26, 2011 3:33 PM Subscribe
Help me tell my sister that she needs to start paying rent. She was going to trade helping around the house for rent, but that's not working out. Details inside.
posted by Bottlecap to human relations (26 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My sister has been living with us rent free since early June. The deal all along has been that she'll trade us one hour of housekeeping/cooking/yard work per day for rent. We (my partner and I) have rented out the room before for $300/month +utilities and the three of us agreed that $10/hour for that sort of thing was fare, which works out to an hour a day. We agreed at the beginning that if the arrangement didn't work out, she could just pay us rent. Since making this agreement, she's gotten a very serious boyfriend and hasn't been keeping up her end of the deal. When she does clean, it's for more like 1/2 an hour and then she leaves it partially finished so she can go hang out with the new BF. They're now planning on getting married in about six months.
We've tried different methods of making the cleaning in exchange for housing work, and it's pretty much at the end of the rope for us. We're calling it quits and need to ask her just to pay rent so she has time to spend every waking moment on the new boy. She does have money in the bank for it, so it's just a matter of phrasing. We come from a pretty fucked up family where everything was used against us, so I really don't want her to feel like we're upset and angry with her. At this point, we're really not. It's just clear that after trying to make this work for a month and a half, we're just stressing everyone out and it would be better for all of us if she paid rent. We're definitely more Guess than Ask, and I don't know how to put this in a way that won't make her feel like a failure. She's not! She's awesome and motivated and we love living with her. We'd just love it a lot more without trying to make the whole chores in exchange for rent thing work. She's a great roommate!
We have a weekly house meeting to check in, which is when my partner and I would like to bring up rent. The meeting is in the morning. Help me figure out how to phrase this in such a way that she won't feel like we're disappointed or whatever. It's just a course correction that was always a possibility. And if we don't make the course correction, we're in danger of it feeling like she's turning into a freeloader. We're not there yet, but we will be in a couple more weeks. After two months, we're pretty certain that this isn't going to resolve itself.
(Slightly more detail: She's taking a year off school and was never going to stay with us beyond that year. It's now been shortened to eight months or so before she gets married.)