What can a relative charge you for while living with them?

UPDATED: Sep 3, 2011

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What can a relative charge you for while living with them?

My fiance moved in with his mother 5 years ago because she needed financial help. I recently moved to be with him and she asked us to stay for 6 months to help her out a bit. Now that we are about to get married, she presented us with a spreadsheet outlining how much her son owes her. It has 3 year of back rent, some miscellaneous expenditures, and $10,000 of credit card debt ($16,000 total). While he has lived with her he has paid all the utilities including cable and internet. Can she make us pay all of this? I don’t believe all of this debt is his.

Asked on September 3, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Nebraska


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Oh my goodness.  This is not going to be an easy situation to deal with as I am sure that you know.  While I can understand her list to include the rent, the credit card debt has me a bit puzzled.  Is it in his name?  If not then it is not his.  Since you sis not list the miscellaneous expenditures I can only give you some guidance on how to deal with the rent issue.  First, you can indeed state that he was a guest and not a tenant.  Or that there was an agreement for him to pay the utilities and cable in exchange for free rent.  Or what you can do is to add up all that he has paid on behalf of the household expenses, figure out how much of that he consumed (1/2, 1/3 depending on who else livesin the house) and deduct it from the "rent" owed.  by the way, how did she arrive at the rental amount?  You may want to do some checking in on how much a room would rent out for in your area.  Good luck to you.

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