(Closed) How long is TOO long to "host" a jobless family member?

posted 5 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
4439 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall

@codysgirl16:  Yikes, I don’t envy your position!  But it sounds like you’re being level headed about the situation and something DOES need to change.


I would personally host someone until their attitude changed from job-seeking to sitting on their ass all day and letting you be their maid.  At that point they need a shock to the system and a boot out the door.


Is your Future Brother-In-Law aware that this job isn’t going to call or is he in denial?  Talk to him about lowering the price on the car or moving it to a more popular location –if he still wants to do that?  


Beyond that can you start circling help-wanted ads and leaving them out for him?  Maybe he’ll get the message.  I would suggest having another discussion with your Fiance, he’s not understanding your feelings on the situation and he needs to be the one to talk to his brother when it comes down to that IMO.

Post # 4
9139 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@codysgirl16:  We gave my ex husband’s brother 6 months to find a job and pay rent or he had to move back home which was in another state.  Well he lazed about for 3 months and then tried to help out my ex with his company but ultimately he hit the 6 months with no job and no way to pay rent.  Thankfully, my ex was able to talk to his brother and send him on his way.

Sound like family meeting time so you can sit down the brother to discuss what is going on.  I would give him 30 days to figure out what he doing or pack up and be on his way.

Post # 5
4495 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I think 6 months is fair, as long as the person is actually trying to find employment. I wouldn’t be too accepting of someone just laying around the house all day, not contributing and not looking for work.

My stepsis is a single mother and was really struggling so she moved in with my other stepsister, her husband and their son. She already had a job, but its low paying and her credit sucks so she has a hard time ever getting anywhere – she couldn’t rent an apartment, can’t buy a house, etc.

This arrangement was only supposed to last for 6 months so that she could save enough money to get her own place. Well now its been 2.5 years and its causing so much trouble in my other stepsister’s relationship with her husband. I understand a person wanting to help her sister, but at what expense? Now my other stepsis and her husband are thinking of separating due to the problems the move-in has caused in their lives.

I would help a family member, but I would have a crystal clear timeline and conditions

Post # 6
777 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Ugh, I feel terrible for you. I think you’ve been more than gracious already!

I think you and your Fiance need to present a united front and sit down with his brother and agree to a move-out date. Three more weeks should be ample for him to either find someone else to host him for a while or locate an inexpensive apartment and a stopgap job. I don’t care if he’s making minimum wage at a Subway, he shouldn’t sponge off you forever. If this call doesn’t ever come, he needs a backup plan in place. And I would say that after two months, a “guest” has become a freeloader.*

In the meantime, give him a list of things to do around the house. Leave him cash and a grocery list; ask him to mow the lawn; tell him he’s responsible for cooking dinner two nights a week from now on. You’re right, he absolutely should be contributing, and honestly your Fiance is not doing him any favors in the long run by enabling this behavior. I understand that he wants to help his brother and that you don’t want to appear ungenerous or create tension, but this arrangement is unfair to you and is going to take a toll on your relationship. The sooner you can establish boundaries everyone can agree on, the better.

*Three weeks is obviously just a suggestion–you might want to start the conversation by asking your Fiance how much longer he thinks is reasonable. You could also compromise by promising some financial assistance for a certain number of months–for example, he moves out and you give him, say, the first month’s rent plus $600 for month 1, $450 month 2, $300 month 3, $150 month 4 (adjusted to reflect cost of living and your financial situation). The idea is that it’s not nearly enough to live on, but it’ll help him get back on his feet and build up a small cushion of emergency funds so that a parking ticket or unexpected bill doesn’t derail him completely. Don’t treat it as a loan because I doubt you’d get it back, and don’t give him any more money after that. He’ll find a way, and if he doesn’t then he was never going to. But it sounds like he’s in no hurry to improve his circumstances while you’re making things so comfortable for him.

Post # 8
295 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I was in a similar situation last year, only our “guest” was FI’s friend from college.  Ever since quitting a decent full-time job a few years ago, this guy has held short-term low-paying jobs and couch-surfed.  He came down to our area because his mother had kicked him out and he wanted to make a fresh start in an area with more job prospects.  He stayed in the living room in our 1-bedroom apartment.

About the only thing nice I can say about that guy was that he was quiet.  He was gung-ho about job-searching when he arrived, then became complacent after he got a part-time job, even after it became clear that he would not be able to hold that job for long.  He never helped around the house, he ate our food, and he did little to endear himself to me, who had spent only a few hours with him before he moved in with us.  Part of the issue is that I think he has undiagnosed depression and possibly other mental health issues.  After about a month or a month and a half, I told Fiance that this guy had to leave at the 2 month mark.  The guy managed to find a room to rent, but he eventually lost his job, ran out of money, and had to go back home.  I was worried that my Fiance would not kick him out, and I was prepared to tell him that I was going to stay somewhere else until this guy was out of our apartment.

If I could go back in time, I would do what I’m advising you to do.  Have a talk with your Fiance about what you think his brother should do to contribute to the household.  He’s not a guest anymore; he’s a roommate.  Until he can contribute an equal financial share to the household, he needs to bust his butt helping out around the house.  Even if he were able to contribute financially, he should still do an equal share of the chores.  You and your Fiance should discuss and agree on a timeline for the brother to move out.  And if your Fiance continues to think that his brother should be treated as a guest and allowed to stay indefinitely, then I think you need to develop a plan to move out and tell your Fiance that you are not contributing to household expenses once you are out the door.  I think that it’s important to support your family, but you shouldn’t have to suffer so that family members get to coast.

Post # 9
7385 posts
Busy Beekeeper

For close family, I think six months is ideal and more than generous. This how I break it down. 

  • First month – they are getting adjusted I wouldn’t necessarily expect them to contribute financially.  But they should definitely offer to do things around the house. They can’t just sit around not looking for work. That’s unacceptable. 
  • By the end of the second month some kind of job should have secured. I don’t care if they have to work PT at Starbucks, pet sitting whatever…A job is job. It may not be their ideal position but it’s time to start contributing some income into the household.  
  • By month three, they should be working consistently. I wouldn’t ask for a lot in terms of rent, that way they can bank their money so that they can get ready to move out. 
  • Months three thru five they should start making preparations to leave by the end of the sixth month. 

Ofcourse this isn’t written in stone and they are always exceptions but you can’t have anyone (family or not) come into your home without a detailed conversation on your expectations and their plans of becoming self sufficient and eventually leaving. I’ve seen too many of my friends and family allow themselves to be taken advantage of by people they were “just helping out”. It rarely ends well. 

Post # 10
3461 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

how long is simply too long to play host to a family member who is unemployed?

When one of the hosts is seeking a change.

Simply put, it varies from situation to situation.  You may feel differently about a 17 yo kid than a 50 year old man…or a 75 yo retiree.

In general, I think it’s important to set up rules in advance.  Barring that, you get on the same page asap with Darling Husband and communicate the rule to guest.  My basic rules:

  1. You diligently look for a job.  If you’re not looking, you can’t stay.
  2. You contribute to the household.  If you are not contributing money, you contribute more sweat equity.  I’d set up a chore chart.  (I wouldn’t ask him to do everything, but he should do more than you.)
  3. You have an end date.  The “employer may call” seems to uncertain to me at this point.
  4. You can revisit this agreement if this isn’t working out.

Post # 12
1893 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

IMO they becnew unwelcome when they are not actively looking for a job, not helping out at all, and just plain ol’ taking advantage of you. 


If I were you Fiance and I would of had a sit down with brother futures is future plans…

Post # 14
5956 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2018

@codysgirl16:  How long is too long…?

Let’s see, around the time I start to fantasize about killing them and not getting caught, my “guest” has reached their expiration date.

Regardless of relation or ilk, there comes a point when I want MY house back, because having even the most discreet and considerate of guests around for a long period of time grates on my nerves, I wanna walk around naked, I wanna have sex in the kitchen and I’m tired of looking at their face already!

I would tell Mr. 99 that he leaves or I do…because last time I checked, I wasn’t a charity for wayward, unemployed men with no prospects and I am certain that if this was some relative of mine, they’d already be out on their ass….family is family, but he’s got other family and you’ve certainly done your part for this man, time for him to pay freight himself for a while

Post # 16
2874 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

i say 3months.

they need to be actively looking for a job and helping as much as they can in the meantime including (but not limited to) helping cook, clean up, wash dishes etc. i dont consider anyone after a month a ‘guest’ and they need to be contributing in some way or leaving

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