Dear Annie: My wife and I are in our mid-60s. For most of our lives, we have done pretty well, but lately we’ve had financial difficulties because our incomes have been significantly decreased while our debt has not. My health is failing, and I don’t know how much longer I can continue to work.
During the good times, we allowed our daughter and her husband to move into the second unit of the duplex we own. We charged minimal rent, which they soon stopped paying altogether. They don’t work and do nothing to help around the house. They help themselves to our food without telling us, so when we go to the refrigerator, it is often empty. They have trashed their living space, and I need to get them out so I can get some rent coming in.
When I tell them about my financial situation, their response is, “It’s not our problem.” When I say they must move out, they tell me what an evil person I am. I don’t know how to end this without totally destroying what little family we have left. Any ideas? – Slowly Drowning in Culver City
Dear Culver City: Your daughter and her husband are freeloaders who are taking advantage of your reluctance to throw them out. Where does your wife stand on this? You two need to present a united front when you inform your daughter that you can no longer afford to allow the unit to be occupied rent-free. If they are willing to pay a reasonable rent, they can stay. Otherwise, give them a deadline to move out. Offer to help them find jobs and another place to live. If you can afford it, you could even donate something toward their expenses until they get settled in elsewhere. They won’t like it, but unless you put your foot down, they will drain you of every last penny. It’s your choice.