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July 13, 2017 7:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm renting a house from a retired couple who are living out of state until the fall. They are back for a couple of weeks to paint the house and it's stressing me out. I need solitude and space where I live and having them around the house is putting me on edge, big time. I feel like I can't relax or be myself and am avoiding all common areas and just keeping to my room. Any suggestions on what I can do to alleviate this feeling? More below the fold.

I tend to be a pretty laid-back easy-going person and I can't really be that person when they're here. I've lived with many roommates in the past with no issues because they were people closer to my age with similar dispositions and whom I felt comfortable around. I tend to be kind of goofy and crack jokes when I'm alone or with people I know well. Feeling like I have to put on an act in the one place where I enjoy not having to is causing me a lot of stress. To make matters worse, their daughter and her two teenagers will be staying in the house for a week of this. I'm trying to not even think about how this will affect me.

Where I live is like a sanctuary for me. I like having that place I can go to and not perform for anyone. I'm looking for suggestions for how I can feel comfortable in this situation. Even when I'm alone in my room I'm on edge. Right now my plans are to go on bike rides, play golf, be active, and work as much as possible to keep me away from the house. Has anyone else gone through anything like this? What kept you sane?
posted by holmesian to Human Relations (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Hell's bells, this would be so unacceptable for me. I mean... staying for a fortnight in space that you are paying to have to yourself? HECK NO. PAINT IT LATER. I AM RENTING IT. IT IS SPACE THAT IS MINE.

Calming down for a moment, was this in the arrangement when they let the space to you? If not, could you negotiate them paying for you to stay in a hotel/B&B while they are there?
posted by greenish at 7:28 AM on July 13, 2017 [25 favorites]

This would capital letters UPSET ME were I in your shoes. I put an extremely high value on my solitude.

The only thing that would make this tolerable for me, the ONLY thing, would be a significant rent reduction for the weeks I'm being invaded. I pay a premium to live in a space with no one else. Houseguests, even if they're the landlords, fuck that up.

I can rationalize taking the money I'd save on rent to spend on something nice for myself to look forward to and enjoy when they gtfo in a few weeks, or maybe to put toward a vacation where I don't have to talk to or see anyone if I don't want to. Anything else would be an undue burden on my personal ability to compromise on this particular issue, and would be unacceptable.

Ask for a rent credit on your next month. A significant one.
posted by phunniemee at 7:31 AM on July 13, 2017 [6 favorites]

Wait are they painting the inside or the outside of the house? Are they staying there or are they staying elsewhere? I feel like I need more info before I can make a determination of how to proceed with this.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 7:33 AM on July 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Sorry! They're painting the outside of the house and are staying in the house. I knew they were coming to paint the house, but wasn't thinking about the toll it would take on me, which is dumb, because I know how I am. Blergh.
posted by holmesian at 7:35 AM on July 13, 2017

Wow, if they're staying in the house that you are renting then yes they need to give you a MAJOR rent break. If they were just staying elsewhere and doing the outside of the house that would be pretty normal and OK but WTF they can't just move in with you and expect you to pay the full rent when you do not have full use of the place.

Did they ask you first? Was there any conversation about the fact that they would be staying in the house?

You need to talk to them about this right now. They might own the place but they have NO RIGHT to stay there while it's rented, sheesh.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 7:44 AM on July 13, 2017 [21 favorites]

Wait, you're renting the whole house but they've moved in while they're painting and next week they're moving their daughter and granddaughters in? This is all kinds of not OK and not at all normal.

What discussions were there leading up to this? Why did you agree to it? If they're already there and its already been agreed I'm not sure you can really ask for anything or do anything to change it. For your sanity, can you afford to stay in a hotel for a week? I know its not ideal but suddenly having 5 extra people in my house would be intolerable (also how big is this house?!)
posted by missmagenta at 7:47 AM on July 13, 2017 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Sorry, not to threadsit, but I knew that they were coming, but I naively thought they'd be busy with the painting and wouldn't really be in the house much. The daughter and co. was a surprise to me, but, to my detriment, I'm quite non-confrontational. I appreciate the outrage, but let's assume that I would feel really awkward asking for a rent decrease and would feel awkward asking if they/their family could stay elsewhere. Unfortunately, I can't afford to stay anywhere else right now. My stress levels are off the charts. I'd love some ideas for how to cope with the situation and how to find some semblance of normalcy in the chaos.
posted by holmesian at 7:54 AM on July 13, 2017

Best answer: The daughter and her two kids may be your ticket out. Can you volunteer to vacate "so the family is more comfortable and all three generations can spend time together" if they pay for your hotel or AirBnb?
posted by carmicha at 8:22 AM on July 13, 2017 [12 favorites]

Hey, OP - are you renting the whole house or just a room?
posted by msamye at 8:52 AM on July 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: So wait, can we get some clarity on what's going on here?

Did they tell you about their plans to spend two weeks living in the house before you signed the rental agreement?

Did they tell you about their daughter and grandkids spending a week living in the house before you signed the rental agreement?

Were these things a condition of the rental?

If the answers to the above are yes, then you've painted yourself into a corner and are going to have to either suck it up or find a way to stay somewhere else for at least the week when the kids/grandkids are there.

If any of this was sprung on you after you signed the rental agreement, then you can and should say no. Even if you have previously said yes, you have the right to change your mind. I get that bringing it up with them would be awkward, but if you have rented this space and now they are taking it back without compensation, that's not okay at all.

I think the best way to approach it is to say that you've realized that that sharing the house for those two weeks is not really going to be tenable. Add that you recognize that it would be very convenient for them and their family to spend that time in the house, so you're willing to do them the favour of moving into a hotel room for the two weeks, so long as they foot the bill.

It doesn't have to be awkward because you're not asking them for anything, you're offering to do them a favour. The alternative is that they stay in a hotel, since it's your house.
posted by 256 at 8:58 AM on July 13, 2017 [19 favorites]

It's one thing to be non-confrontational, it's another to let yourself be taken advantage of. When you rented the house, you also rented the right to have the house to yourself (unless they added the right to stay there to your lease agreement, as 256 says). Do you have a rental contract? What does it say?

The main issue I see with you letting them do whatever they want and never saying anything is that they may just keep on taking advantage. Are you prepared for the possibility that they may not finish painting in time and they may try to overstay the period allotted for the work? Would you just let them keep living there while they still charge you the full rent? What if the daughter and her kids don't leave when they're supposed to? What if they're super loud? What if they break or steal your stuff? You already don't want them there. While the owners likely have the right to paint the house, neither they nor their family members have the right to live there while you're occupying it.

You should ask for a rent reduction, ask them to stay somewhere else or offer to stay somewhere else (but ONLY if they pay for it). In any case, secure your valuables to make sure nothing gets lost, stolen or damaged and make sure that they stay out of your private areas.
posted by i feel possessed at 9:15 AM on July 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: If it was me, I would stay in my room; it's inconvenient but you get to completely avoid them. It sounds like that's not easing your anxiety, though; what is uncomfortable about that? Is it the limited space you have, or do you worry they're going to interrupt you, or what?

You will probably have to be assertive in some way, even if it's just about guarding your private time. But I do agree with others; "I'm sorry, but I did not realize when we made the agreement that I'd be sharing the house with X number of people for this long. Can we find some arrangement that works for everyone?"
posted by gideonfrog at 9:39 AM on July 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm quite non-confrontational. I appreciate the outrage, but let's assume that I would feel really awkward asking for a rent decrease and would feel awkward asking if they/their family could stay elsewhere.
Not for nothing, but if you're unwilling to even address the cause of the situation, I'm not sure what help could be forthcoming here.

They're fucking up your living space, for which you pay. A rent decrease is absolutely a reasonable thing to request - in fact, I'd demand it. You're being taken advantage of, and that's not okay -- but it also won't stop unless you make it stop.
posted by uberchet at 9:43 AM on July 13, 2017 [13 favorites]

It needs to be clarified whether this was a condition of your lease or not before people can comment.

For example, I rented a room in a house during grad school. I had full use of all common areas and my room was private. The landlady was an older woman who lived two towns over but had business in our town 2-3 times a month and kept a room there. It was absolutely understood before I moved in that she would stay over whenever she pleased.
posted by ficbot at 10:14 AM on July 13, 2017

Response by poster: Sorry for all of the confusion. It was agreed upon that the couple would be back for a couple of weeks to paint. I was aware of that. I'm not contesting that. I'm renting the whole house. The rest of the family was not agreed upon. I'm really just looking for strategies for coping with a lot of people in (what has been) my space. How to find some peace amidst the chaos. I appreciate all of the replies! I underestimated how much their presence would affect me which is why I was looking for strategies for dealing with it. I do plan on talking with them about their family not staying in the house.
posted by holmesian at 11:05 AM on July 13, 2017

Best answer: I would hate this if I were in your shoes. Since the daughter and her children weren't part of the original agreement, you're well within your rights to ask them to put you up locally. I like the idea above that you frame it as you doing them a favour, because it will feel less confrontational to you.

They really *should* not be charging you full rent for this month anyway, even if it were just the couple staying there, but since you already agreed to it before you moved in, well. But springing extra people into the living space you're paying full rent for? Hell no!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:48 PM on July 13, 2017 [6 favorites]

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