How can I stop an eviction when my mother is the owner?

Dear Benny,

Not wanting the free download, I suggested my mother collect the rent. She looked surprised, and said she’d come back to me on it.

Later, she appeared in a fairly formal outfit, and said that now she is the owner of the house. I have explained the rental price and terms; It was higher than I had planned, but it conveyed such an air of authority that I didn’t argue. Later, when she got back to her normal self, I told her that the rate was too high. She went out and came back as “landlord”, and asked about the problem.

I explained that the price was more than I could bear. She told me I could either pay her or find another place to live. I decided to forget about renting and hope my mom will too. However, I have now received notices of rent delays and evictions.

Not interested in interacting with her alter ego, I didn’t try to talk to my mom about it. She’s usually loving and supportive, but I’m afraid she’ll turn on the “landlord” and kick me out, or maybe sue me about the rent and back fees I already owe.

Should I give my mom a note explaining that I love her but not her alter ego. I would like to tell her that I cannot afford the price she is trying to charge me, and I will have a hard time finding another place to live, and I am sorry to mention the rent. Anything else I should include?

Regret the rent

Dear regret,

Regardless of whether you are having a face-to-face conversation or writing a message, I believe your message is broken.

The problem is that it’s all about you and your needs. (Read what you want to say to your mom: I don’t like my landlady’s alter ego. I can’t afford the rent they charge, but I can’t afford to live anywhere else. I wish I’d never mentioned rent.) This message will not resonate with the landlord. Or a loving and supportive mother. However you choose to communicate, start by expressing gratitude to your mother. You can’t complain about your mother’s alter ego if you live in a rent-free home. What you can say, however, is that you want to talk to her as her child, rather than talking to her as her tenant.

Money would be a good thing to include if you wrote a letter. You probably can’t afford the full amount your mom wants to pay. But giving her some cash to make ends meet will show that you’re serious about carrying your weight.

Not sure if message is the way to go here. If your mother is serious about her role as landlady, she will be more than happy to communicate with you in writing. It creates a useful paper trail. You can go home to find an eviction notice taped to your bedroom door.

So talk to her instead. Say you are serious about wanting to contribute. Tell her that you have some money for her, if not as much as you’d like, and you hope that shows your commitment to help. I think the mother inside would respond positively if she embraced responsibility. Doing so makes you a more attractive tenant if she is determined to keep the landlord’s shitick.

Try to budget that includes a contribution to home expenses, as well as a monthly savings goal so you can eventually get your own place. Since you can’t afford your mom’s rent, think about ways you can make her life easier. For example, you might agree to a lower price if you can take care of making dinner, cleaning or mowing the lawn.

If you are able to get less rent, commit to paying it on the same day each month. Don’t make your mother ask for it. Landlords hate having to chase tenants for rent.

I guess your mom wouldn’t actually fire you. The landlady’s routine sounds like her way of teaching you an adult lesson while having a little fun with it. You may find it annoying, but I hope you learn from it. Ignoring bills will not make them go away. Consider yourself lucky that you learned this lesson from your mother, not from your real estate owner.

Robin Hartell is a certified financial planner and senior writer for The Penny Hoarder. Send your tough financial questions to [email protected].

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