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My mother, her partner & our house

Posted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:32 pm
by MrsH
Hi all,

I have an issue that no one seems to be able to resolve successfully. I have been married for nearly 3 years now and my husband and I have recently bought a house. It is a renovation project and my Mum offered me £15,000; initially this was an early inheritance but now it has turned into a gift. This would be wonderful however it is now seems to be wielded as a form of power. The money paid for the builder and nothing more. My Mum and her partner (her partner who has not provided any financial assistance and lives in my Mums house rent free) have been up for around a fortnight in total (we bought the property in October 2014) to help out with the house ie cleaning after builders, painting, re-layng carpets etc. They have worked really hard for the days they have been up and paid to put themselves in a B&B opposite our new property (they refused to stay with us in our rented property about 45 mins away). The problem is that now they have had themselves a key cut without asking us if this was okay, they have been up to the house and discussed things with our builders/plumbers/roofer/electrician without our knowledge and made decisions without speaking to us, they have started to tell us what needs doing in our own house and criticising our decisions. I have made attempts to discuss the situation without upsetting anyone such as - can we please have the key and making an excuse for needing it but I have been told that as they had it cut it belongs to them, I've made a light hearted joke that they cannot own a key to someone else's home, I've pointed out that I don't have a key to their home but all to no avail. We've now resorted to changing the locks to stop them going up and interfering in decisions we make, but this has not gone down well. I've said numerous times that the house doesn't belong to them and therefore all decisions will be made by my husband and I but I just get comments about how ungrateful we are for their help, which are hurtful as we are very grateful for their help but not their interference. We have showm our gratitude on numerous occasions prior to any issues but it now seems to have turned into a competition on who can do the most and therefore who has the most right. As neither of them work and we both work fulltime they win this competition hands down!

I know they love the house as my Mum's partner when we first bought the property said how he would have bought it himself as he loves it and my Mum concurred with this, but I think this may be part of the problem. I'm not sure if it's the money that's the problem, it seems to be more the amount of time they have spent helping out with the renovations especially with her partner who seems to have a need for control. What we would like is some advice as to how people would resolve this problem in the best way; we don't want to fall out with them, we don't really want to upset them, all that we want is for them to accept that this is not their property and they have no right to make decisions.

Thanks in advance...

Re: My mother, her partner & our house

Posted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:34 pm
by Tucco
Hi there,
very tricky this one and a lot depends on the personalities involved, I think you were right to change the locks you had no other option .
If I am correct they are still turning up and instructing tradesmen, this is solved by letting the builders know that you and your husband are the only people who are making the decisions and no one else.

Finally do you have any siblings or anyone else who can tackle this on your behalf? Hearing from a neutral may help. The last resort would be a loan and pay the money back.
Families can be very difficult to deal with, I hope it works out ok.
Good luck.

Re: My mother, her partner & our house

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 9:57 am
by MrsH
Thanks for this. We have spoken to the workmen, but it has put them in a very awkward situation; one in which they shouldn't have been placed, but my Mum and her partner don't seem to recognise this at all. I don't have anyone else sadly that could speak to them. My in laws have tried but have been shot down and told that perhaps they should put in as much effort as they have been doing before they can make comment! We move in next week and I really am on the verge of losing my temper, which wouldn't be beneficial to anyone. I wouldn't mind so much if I hadn't been living independently for over 15 years (I'm mid 30's) as last night they told me all about the best way to manage my heating/electricity bills...I pointed out that I hadn't been living in a tent all of these years and have been managing successfully all of this time so perhaps they needed to recognise this - apparently I was yet again being ungrateful for their assistance!?

Re: My mother, her partner & our house

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:48 pm
by Bel Bel
I think a well worded letter is the first step.

I think you need to thank them for their gift as this has really helped you get to the point you are already at.
Also say thank you soooo much for the time and effort they have spent helping you as this has obviously meant you can move in earlier than you would have otherwise.
Tell them that you are extremely grateful but you would like to make some rules moving forward as once you move in it will really start to be your home.
Point out that having a key could cause an embarrassing situation if you and your husband were getting intimate for instance. Say something like we are still at the age where we don't necessarily use the bed :wink:
Tell them you really appreciate their input but you feel it has to be your stamp on the house no one else's. Also state that you want to learn from your own mistakes. Say something like "obviously we don't all have the same ideas about style and layout but we are going to have to live in the house on a day to day so we need it to meet our expectations even though your ideas are all perfectly acceptable just not what we really want."
The go on to say "you have done a great job bringing me up to be independent and i am soo grateful for that but that means i like to do things my own way sometimes and i really hope that doesn't offend you"

The last sentence is praising her but turning on her - not sure how she could argue with that.

Good luck.

Re: My mother, her partner & our house

Posted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:59 pm
by MrsH
Ooh, I like your style - never thought about approaching it from that direction - flatter Mums ego -that will suit her personality type perfectly! I shall be out first thing tomorrow to order a card and flowers saying lots of nice things that finalise their assistance and ignite thoughts of my husband and I making this our own home and not one to share! Thanks :D

Re: My mother, her partner & our house

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:11 am
by Akidma
I guess you have moved in now and perhaps your problem is now resolved.
Whatever happens do not let any of your parents have a key. If an occasion ever rears up whereby you wish them to be there when you are not, then ''loan'' a key to them for that one off occasion and take back the key later. Parents feel it is hard to give up control of their children; a key is an invasion of your privacy, and once they have one it makes it so hard to ask for it back and can only offend them so do not let it happen ever. Just keep it as a 'temporary' arrangement always.
As for the money, be that a loan or even a gift, this does not give them the right to poke noses in where they and not needed or wanted. They should not have tried to influence your builders and when they did, or if ever they do again, you must politely but firmly tell them that such decisions are yours as a couple, and not for anyone outside of your relationship.
I was once married to a lady who's Mother had a key to our house. The in-laws helped us financially, with our first mortgage and hence felt that they had some power of entry into our house. I arrived home one evening, from work, to find my Mother in Law and Sister in Law poking around our letters etc; to say I was offended would be an understatement! I am afraid I could not hide my disapproval even though I, like you, didn't really wish to fall out. They were told they could retain they key but only for permitted entry. This would be channelled through my wife.
They did take offence and probably never forgave me for the decision but I would make the same decision again today. The marriage ended after nine years, and they were the most twisted family anyone could be involved with.