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What is the appropriate amount of time to ask family to leave our house after they had a fire?

 
 
itinere
 
Reply Wed 4 May, 2022 09:54 am
About a week ago my sister and her family had a big fire that made their place uninhabitable. What’s worse is that they hadn’t paid for renters insurance because they apparently didn’t know it was a thing. They thought their landlords homeowners insurance would cover their personal items, but it does not.

This means that they don't have insurance to replace their computer equipment which was completely destroyed in the fire. Her husband made their income working from home with his home business. Without his computer equipment he cannot work. Its not the standard stuff and very expensive. They cannot afford to rebuy this equipment right now as they had very little savings (that as of now has already been spent on necessities) and have had to cancel work with their clients.

Because of the way his business was set up he cannot collect unemployment either, so that have no income right now. Her husband is going to start working at a grocery store in town next week, but it doesn’t pay much. He’s looking for a better job on his field too, but they are apparently very competitive. That’s why he had his own business as he found it easier to find clients than to find someone to work for.

They have looked into shelters and other public housing options in our area. However the ones that exist here that have available space right now are sketchy to say the least, so they immediately made it clear thats not an option.

When they first called me about the fire and asked to stay it was late at night so I said of course and didn’t think about it much. I know it sounds bad but now I am regretting it because everything is so chaotic. My wife and I like to live in a very peaceful environment. With five other people living in our modest sized house (three of them being under the age of 9) it’s gotten crazy. My sister has been a housewife since her oldest was born and she homeschools the kids so they are pretty much here all day long.

My wife and I feel very uncomfortable in our home. It’s seems like there’s always one kid crying or screaming or running into and breaking things. The bathrooms are always occupied. Everything is always I mess. Neither of us are great with kids and honestly don’t enjoy being around them.

My wife and I often just leave to go walk around the neighborhood for hours. Obviously it’s not anywhere as bad a situation as my sisters family is going through. My wife is really being a trooper, but I can tell it’s really getting to her. She spends most of her time at home locked in our bedroom now. She's very much an introvert and needs her alone time. That also gets intruded on a lot since one of the bathrooms in there and one of the kids will need to use it if the other one is occupied. Overall this whole situation feel very unfair for my wife to deal with long term considering its not her family.

So, I can’t help but wonder now when would be an appropriate time for them to leave and for me to ask them to leave. I feel like I would be a dick if I asked them about it right now, when they are literally still sifting through the ashes of their old life. But when is it okay for me to broach the subject of them leaving? Furthermore how much notice should we give them. This isn’t exactly a situation I have had to deal with before.
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Type: Question • Score: 7 • Views: 742 • Replies: 19
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Mame
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2022 10:40 am
@itinere,
Communication is key. I suggest the two of you sit down with the two of them and discuss your concerns and propose a date when they will move out. Once you have a deadline, it should be easier to tolerate.

Can they go on assistance? I mean whatever you call Welfare where you live. Surely they will be accepted given their circumstances.
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2022 10:53 am
@itinere,
If you've got enough discretionary income, see if you can put them up in a lower budget hotel or long-term temp rental (vet it first of course, maybe with your sister) for a while. I recognize there are parts of the US where "cheap" means $150+ per night (I live in one of them).

But some long-term temporary housing providers might offer a monthly rate or the like. I just Googled long term temporary housing and got some hits, including this site, which seems to have good info: https://www.extraspace.com/blog/moving/moving-guides-tips/best-websites-finding-short-term-housing/

If there is a college or university nearby, they may also have month to month rental space for grad students. If they need to fill a slot, and if they take kids (they might not), that could be another place to look.

Make it excruciatingly clear to your sister and her husband that this is a loan and not a gift. You expect to be paid back within 6 months of them finding their own place. And you also won't pay for this past a year. Once the 12 months are up, they are on their own.

But quietly and in private (that is, don't tell them), write it off. You're highly unlikely to get any of it back. The idea behind the loan vs. gift speech is to get them to act quickly. Part of their acting quickly should include your sister looking for at least temporary employment and inexpensive daycare. Her being a full-time SAHM is a luxury that she and her family just plain can't afford right now.

And, not for nothin', but they are guests in your home. If their kids are breaking your stuff, then your sister needs to get her act in gear and get them to call the hell down. That is her job right now and she needs to be doing it.

Will this be expensive? You better believe it.

Will it get them out of your hair? Yes.

Will it keep them from a sketchy shelter? For a year, yes.

Will it get them to move faster to get themselves situated? Probably.

Will it absolve you of guilt or bad feeling? I would say so.

Telling them to take a hike less than a month after they've lost everything is just plain cruel, no matter how godawfully annoying they are. But you don't have to be their port in a storm forever.

Oh, and another thing. Depending on their credit rating, they may be able to take out a loan to cover replacing the husband's specialty computer equipment (act quickly, as the Fed is about to raise rates). Or they can try crowdfunding. And if he can get his computer rig back, the husband might want to work with his long-term clients to see if he can get an advance on some payments, or take on some smaller jobs that he can finish quickly so they can have some cash on hand.

There may also be some loans or grants available through your local government or even organizations like the Kiwanis club. No one will ever know unless they investigate this and ask. Your sister is at home so she can do a lot of this legwork. And, in fact, she should be doing this. Not just investigating grants, but also hunting for housing solutions.

Your sister and your BIL should make moving out of your home Job 1.

And they should buy some damned renters insurance. Maybe buy them a first month's premium as a housewarming gift (I'm not being snarky here; well, no more than usual--this is something they actually need).
itinere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2022 11:50 am
@jespah,
Unfortunately helping them out with paying for even cheap housing like that is not in our budget.

Finding other childcare has always been an issue for them. The main reason being that two of her children have autism. The cost of daycares or babysitters willing to look after them tend to be very expensive. Its also the main reason she homeschools them as the public schools near us didn't exactly handle them well.

I do genuinely think my sister is looking into these things though. It seems though that a lot of these government assistance things take time. Like she has already applied for food stamps, but was told it would take a month or so. I'll make sure to pass on your suggestions of other things for them to look into. Thank you.
0 Replies
 
itinere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2022 11:53 am
@Mame,
I was planning on sitting down with them. I just have no idea what sort of timeframe to propose.

My sister is looking into various government programs and has put applications in, everything is very slow though.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2022 12:35 pm
@itinere,
The timeframe is the problem. It could take a few months which is why I suggested talking over your concerns - maybe they could all go out more often, giving you two some alone time and peace and quiet... and Jes' comments about the children is a valid one with the noise, energy and breakage...also, who's doing the cooking and cleaning and purchasing of groceries? There must be a way to make this workable for all of you and speaking out now and getting resolutions is much better than biting your tongue and resenting them. For example, if you two are paying for everything, they need to commit to some cleaning and other chores. Make a shower schedule. No going to the bathroom in your bedroom if the door is closed (and your wife is having a retreat). Simple rules - these will make you both feel better and the family won't feel like leeches.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2022 03:51 pm
@itinere,
There are agencies out there specifically to help in these sorts of situations - have you tried:

The American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other voluntary organizations - they usually help if there is a fire that displaces people. Usually you hear about it more when it is say a big apartment building or a larger natural disaster - I'd reach out to them or like jespah or mame suggested your state if you are in the US - each state should have a government agency that could be in a position to help.

This has unfortunately happened to people before who either like your family did not buy renters insurance or else could not afford it.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2022 04:01 pm
@Linkat,
Also is there any other family around? I don't think the burden should all be on you.

And in thinking this through - I'd suggest sitting down with your wife and talking through if they had to stay here several more months what can we put in place to make this bearable for us. I think you mentioned something about how one kid would be in one bathroom and one in another. Maybe have some rules where the kids can only use one of the bathrooms; and some other rules about the kids so that you have some peace. I know depending on the kids' ages there may be only so much you can do to keep them quieter or out of your hair.

Personally under the circumstances, the wife should be working not staying at home - but when dad is home as you should not be burdened even further. And to me they should be going to school again under these circumstances so the mom and dad can work and the kids are not in your home all day.

They need to compromise a bit and lower their expectations now as it is invading into your lives.
itinere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2022 05:28 pm
@Linkat,
I’m not exactly sure if she’s looked into those yet. I’ll let her know though.
0 Replies
 
itinere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2022 05:53 pm
@Linkat,
We have another sister that lives nearby, but they don’t get along.

We did talk a little today about making the master suite and bathroom completely off limits and maybe putting a lock on the door, so you need a code to enter.

I agree that it probably would help things along faster if my sister got a job too. The issue is that the last time her eldest was in school he got bullied really badly because of his autism and she said the school wouldn’t do anything about it. So I think it’s going to be pretty hard to get her to send them back.
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2022 03:10 pm
@itinere,
That's a very difficult situation and having only 1 income, 3 children where 2 of them are special needs is very tough. Even if they got an apartment, they need to get everything from scratch. The kids lost all their toys too, it's not easy on them either.
www.DisasterAssistance.gov could help them and perhaps the Red Cross - When an emergency strikes, the Red Cross will deliver help to whomever needs it. As part of its humanitarian mission, the American Red Cross will feed, shelter, provide emotional support and other assistance without regard to race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or citizenship status.

In the meantime you should talk to your other sister and have her help out
at least every other week or weekend with taking them in and feeding them.
"not getting along" is a luxury your sister no longer can excuse herself with.
Perhaps your other sister could take the kids on the weekend while their mom is getting a job on the weekend. The possibilities are there, but it seems your sister, BIL and kids are still traumatized from losing their possessions, they don't know where to start. Help them make a plan and get some house rules established while you're at it.

Asking them to leave now wouldn't be an option in my book. It's too soon, they can't have enough money for anything saved up yet. I am so sorry for your circumstances, but having no peace and quiet for a while vs. losing the shirt off their back is a small trade off.

Good luck!
itinere
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2022 06:28 pm
@CalamityJane,
I did tell her about looking into the Red Cross.

My other sister is not willing to be involved with the one living with me.

I sort of figured I couldn’t ask them to leave right away. Really just curious on what other people think would be a good timeframe to expect.
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2022 10:13 pm
@itinere,
That's utterly sad - 2 sisters and one is in dire need of help and the other couldn't care less. One has to be pretty rotten to not help a sibling who is in distress.

Red Cross, Salvation Army, your local disaster relief center all help with clothes, food and a place to stay. It's something where you can help and call these agencies and see how much help they can get.

How did the fire start? Was it your sister's fault or the landlord? Usually, landlords need to have sprinklers installed in rental units. Was there negligence that can be proven. If indeed there was and the fire started as a result of it, then consult an attorney. The resources are there, even free childcare, you just have to call and ask for help.
itinere
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 May, 2022 08:46 am
@CalamityJane,
I understand you might not get it, but my other sister has her reasons for not getting involved. They are reasonable and I do respect them. She’s not rotten.

It was my sisters fault. Point of origin was in her bedroom and she admitted she may have left the house with her candles lit. I’ve never seen fire sprinklers inside a house before. Are you sure it’s not just an apartment thing? I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in a house before.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 May, 2022 09:55 am
@itinere,
itinere wrote:

I’ve never seen fire sprinklers inside a house before. Are you sure it’s not just an apartment thing? I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in a house before.



It is likely dependent on the state what is required - sometimes it has to do with age of the home (as in some may be exempt) or it may be dependent on number of units or it may be any rental property.

0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 May, 2022 01:31 pm
@CalamityJane,
CalamityJane wrote:

That's utterly sad - 2 sisters and one is in dire need of help and the other couldn't care less. One has to be pretty rotten to not help a sibling who is in distress.



I have to disagree with this. We have no idea what happened between the sisters.
I have a sister who has cancer and everyone thinks I should give her money. The problem is that she has been a liar, cheat and a thief her whole life. Once she went on welfare - told them she was a single mother - when she owned a home and a carpet company with her husband who was in on it. And that's just one thing. 12 months' paid stress leave three times after working less than a year. Liar, thief and cheat. Con artist.

My mother has been giving her money for her medications and she goes out and parties with it.

I just have zero respect or time for her and as far as I'm concerned, we're not related.

So... I can see where one family member can feel that way Smile Nice to see you here, CJ.
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 May, 2022 06:05 pm
@Mame,
Okay, I believe you all....I do not have a sister, only 1 brother and he's a sweetheart. Mea culpa!

Thank you, Mame, nice to "see" you too! Smile
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 May, 2022 06:13 pm
@itinere,
Sorry itinere, we live in southern California and rental units need to have fire sprinklers, I assumed that's automatically required everywhere. It should actually as your sister's home would have benefited from it. A fire detector wasn't probably part of it either.
itinere
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 May, 2022 07:22 pm
@CalamityJane,
Her house had smoke detectors.
0 Replies
 
reyreyes1963
 
  0  
Reply Tue 10 May, 2022 11:51 pm
@itinere,
overall communication is the key with this..
0 Replies
 
 

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