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The Moneyist: My girlfriend lives with me and makes use of her condominium as a storage room for $750 a month. She needs to formally transfer in and pay me $117 a month

My girlfriend and I have been together for over a year. After her roommate left, she got her own apartment, although she essentially lived with me in a house I bought in mid-2018.

This was about eight months into our relationship, and she wasn't ready to fully move in, but she did bring furniture and other items and basically used her new apartment as a $750-month closet, which is a 25-minute drive away was a way. She slept there one night in five months.

""When my girlfriend finally decided to move in, she told me that since I own a single-tenant duplex apartment, she only wanted to pay me half of the remaining portion of the mortgage payment — $117.50."

I agreed. She needed to be on her own timeline, having previously had a negative experience with a partner. Although we lived together, she just paid rent somewhere else and I took care of our shared apartment for 10 months.

In October we had a conversation about either moving in or renting out one of my guest rooms as there are a lot of traveling nurses in our area. I said I'd rather let her move in. However, I felt that if I were to be able to save enough for our summer travel plans, I would need to increase my income.

It still wasn't ready, so I rented the room. We agreed that she would contribute $150 a month towards expenses, bringing her total housing expenses to $900. We split groceries and other incidentals 50/50.

Mortgage income vs. investment income

In the meantime we have had several conversations about her moving in. I indicated that even $500 a month would help. She said she would contribute 50/50 – $750 since my mortgage is $1,500 a month.

My renter only has access to their unit, not the garden, storage area, or backyard. When my friend finally decided to move in, she told me that since I own a single-tenant duplex apartment, she only wanted to pay me half of the remaining portion of the mortgage payment—$117.50.

""A landlord doesn't lower the rent on one unit because the others are full, and the landlord doesn't pay less on his mortgage because he's renting rooms."

Also, since I have now rented one of my 2 spare rooms for $600, she feels this should be taken into account.

The difference in our thinking is that I see the rent I get for my vacant space as income from an investment, while she sees it as something that cancels out my mortgage as if I were a tenant here too.

She agrees that if I made that money from a different investment, she would see it differently. I also feel like I'm not in the situation of a typical renter. As an owner, my costs don't go down because I have roommates/tenants. My mortgage stays the same. We discussed this with our families, and as predicted, we all found support for our views. In the end we settled on $650.

We both have friends that stay with us occasionally and she has access to a 3 acre property, garden and storage room. Considering my roommate decided to pay $700 — $100 more than asked — with no garden or storage access, I feel like she's taking advantage of me.

A landlord doesn't lower the rent on one unit because the others are full, and the landlord doesn't pay less on his mortgage because he's renting rooms. She also wants to become a travel nurse herself from April and not pay any more rent during her 3-month absence. Does that seem fair? I think she should contribute at least $200 a month.

In my opinion, a lot depends on the idea of ​​a common future and how much we want to work towards that goal.

We both know $100 is nothing to argue about, but I feel like I'm right and want to hear from someone unrelated to the situation either way. Thanks for any thoughts or opinions.

Confused in Oregon

dear confused,

This impasse affects a lot more than $100. The notion that your girlfriend should move from a $750 apartment to $117.50 a month because you have renters is a move somewhere between opportunistic and unrealistic.

Settling for $650 a month seems reasonable. However, I urge you not to do what your friend did. Don't make a decision and add another complication to push them into a new agreement. You agreed to $650. Keep doing.

Resist the weed about how much access your girlfriend has in your house compared to a renter. Don't defend your territory based on every last square inch of space. Your friend should pay a little less than the market price. End of the story.

Unfortunately, she's pushed the goal posts – or pulled up the proverbial carpet – at every opportunity that arose. She's moving in, but she won't pay you rent for five months. She moves in, but pays the equivalent of a monthly mobile phone bill.

"Your friend has pushed the goal posts – or pulled up the proverbial carpet – at every opportunity.

She is moving in but will be moving out for three months while she becomes a traveling nurse. First your own apartment was used as a storeroom, now your apartment is used as a storeroom. Her offer of $200 a month was more than generous.

You've been locked in a cat-and-mouse game for five months about how much your girlfriend doesn't have to pay to share your house. when will it end Prepare for the last five months to be a template for the next five years.

You've only been together a year. It's a big step to share a household, and it's even more presumptuous for your friend to argue that because you have tenants, she should only be paying $117.50 a month. That seems like a sharp exercise to me.

The last question is the most important: Do you want to build a future with her? Their cover-up and changed terms – and, lest we forget, their changed plans – bode ill for the future. That's a lot to claim for a 12 month relationship.

Your home is not a storage room. And it's not a place for them to stay for as little money as possible, for a whole host of reasons. This should be an easy process. The more agreements you make, the more those agreements become unraveled.

The only constant in your life circumstances is the rate at which they are constantly changing. Here's the good news: If your friend isn't happy with the $650 payment, she didn't sign a lease and she's free to leave.

she You can email The Moneyist with financial and ethical questions related to the coronavirus at qfottrell@marketwatch.com and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

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More from Quentin Fottrell:

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