Husband Charging Rent

PerdueOctober 13, 2013

Hello Everyone,

So this is a long story, and please bear with me as I tell it.
My DH and I have been married for almost 7 years now. We have been living in an apartment that has afforded us fairly cheap rent during our marriage where we have gone through layoffs, etc.
Lately, my DH has been on a homeownership kick, but this is where our friction has pretty much begun. He is the type that looks at homeownership as a status symbol and not something that is buying a home for the fact that it is a place to live and a long term investment with a lot of responsibilities.
Personally, I love where I have been living since I have lived here for about 12 years. The apartment provides for our needs and we don't have major heating or cooling bills since those are paid for. Also, I have a concern with homeownership in this economy because my husband's company has just gone through a round of layoffs where some of his coworkers were let go, and I work in a government funded non-profit. It hasn't been affected by the shutdown yet, but it still makes me nervous about the future.
My husband has pretty much ignored my pleas that this is not the time for buying a house, but he has become determined and I tried to support him the best I could. I tried to find houses that we could compromise on that would be near the neighborhoods I liked and love. Unfortunately, my husband has this ultimatum that he is getting a house built later than 2000 with 9 foot ceilings everywhere and nothing else.
He found a home which is 1/2 of a duplex in an 'up and coming' neighborhood that costs a lot of money that is brand spanking new with the 9 foot ceilings he has been looking for. In fact, the mortgage payments with taxes and insurance are amounting to 1/2 my DH's salary. This is not including bills which he is grossly underestimating heating and cooling costs for a place with ceilings that high (he is estimating that it is only going to be $110 a month to heat and cool a place like that), and we live in a part of the country that sees it's fair share of snow and cold temperatures.
Once my DH found out about how this place on his own would be 1/2 of his salary, he wants me to basically pay rent to him and share the bills. The rent would amount to the same as if I were to pay for a smaller apartment in the same area which currently live.
We currently have it arranged where we pay each our share of the rent and bills. We have separate bank accounts mostly because my husband wants to keep his money and I don't want my money going towards his very expensive guitar hobby. Unfortunately, my husband made me keep this arrangement of sharing the rent and bills up while I was unemployed for a year last year and I was living off of my savings. I did not get any help with the rent or the bills during this time. I was also a student in college throughout our marriage until I graduated school this past May, and I didn't get any help during that time either.
My name is not on the house at all because I am afraid of something happening with my DH, like being unemployed for an extensive amount of time, that I would be sought after for the mortgage and I cannot afford any of it now in my salary. I have a pretty significant student loan, and I know it is better to make sure I keep making those payments on time.
Also, my husband does not fully understand the responsibilities of homeownership since he grew up in a place where either his dad or hired help would take care of things. He has not done a single chore in our apartment since he has been here because his excuse is," I don't like where I live." It has been exhausting on my part to work, go to school, and do all of the chores, and I hate to think what things will be like if I were to move into that house.
When I talk to people about all of the arrangements, they immediately say that is not a marriage and I should just get out now.
I do love my husband in some respects, but I think this is the last straw for me because I really don't feel like this house will ever be mine in any sense. I would just be contributing to my husband's investment without really getting anything out of it myself other than shelter in a place I don't really want to live. I just feel like I am being taken advantage of to support his dreams of owning a house.
My DH has tried guilt tripping me saying he has compromised living in our apartment that he has hated for 7 years, and now it is my turn. He also tells me things like he would be contributing to chores and all of those things, and that I shouldn't worry about the house. He says things like this is a step up, we need to move forward in our lives, etc. I don't think something like this is a step up when you have to become house poor in order to do it.
He says he wouldn't kick me out if I couldn't pay rent, but I don't know what things would be like if push comes to shove.
I would figure in a normal marriage that we would be in a house that we would both call home, and not just one of us. Also, that we would support each other during times of difficulty and we would make sound financial decisions in case something were to happen.
I am broken hearted over this situation, but I don't feel it's right what he is doing on many levels.
We're at an ultimatum where it is either he goes through buying the house and I end up moving in with him and helping him with the mortgage, or we get a divorce and then he moves out to buy a condo that is more in his price range. I have to decide this really soon because he is supposed to be closing on this place on Wednesday.
I don't know what to do at this point.
Any help or advice is greatly appreciated.


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I'm sorry - I'm having a hard time understanding. But if I'm following, I think you should get out now and forge for yourself.

Forgive me for asking - really. Are you originally from the US or are your from a culture other than the US? It is sounding as though the man is superior and the wife must obey. I'm sorry if you're offended by that.

You should be a partnership - and it doesn't sound as though you are.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 4:40PM
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So, for seven years, in addition to paying for half of all the expenses, even when you were unemployed, you also did _all_ the chores and your (not sounding very loving or supportive) husband didn't suggest trading off chores for expenses? After all, if neither of you had been willing to do chores you would either have had to hire them done or for instance pay more for pre-cooked food and laundry expenses at the very least.
And now he's unilaterally deciding you should commit to an expensive home investment and that you should pay for half of it without even having the benefit of having your name on the deeds? While I can see your point of not wanting to be on the deed in case of financial failure, if you pay "rent" you're still paying for the house and if you couldn't pay, given his track record I'm not sure I would believe he wouldn't kick you out.
I also wouldn't believe he'll turn over a new leaf and start doing chores. I suspect you'll still be the maid in your own home that you're also paying for.
What really do you get out of this relationship? It doesn't sound like a lot...certainly not as suzieque says, an equal partnership, which a marriage should be.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 10:32PM
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I am surprised your husband qualifies for a home loan under the circumstances, because it sounds as if his resources would not be sufficient for all the costs and banks are now very leery of lending to those only marginally qualified.

I am sorry for your dilemma. It must be devastating to realize you're married to someone who is not a true support and partner.

If there were a way to resolve this issue you might be able to work things out, but right now I'm not seeing it. If you move into this house with your husband, you lose what sounds like an excellent apartment for your needs.

Right now for your own financial well-being your focus needs to be on 1) rebuilding emergency funds after your long layoff, 2) paying off student loans, which cannot be discharged in bankruptcy (the worst kind of debt because if you lose your job or become ill, that loan is still there - forever), and 3) saving for retirement.

Keeping a roof over your head is critical; buying a home is pretty far down the list of essentials and we've seen in the last few years how easy it is to get totally in over your head on a home purchase. If, as a result of being over-extended you can't meet other commitments (utilities, student loans, travel expenses, insurance, etc.) you risk finding yourself in a financial hole you can't climb out of. Secondarily, you risk destroying your credit.

Would I commit to this house? Never. And if I had a spouse unwilling to work with a financial counselor on a realistic shared budget and plan, I'm afraid I'd have to put my own survival first and leave the relationship.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 8:11PM
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Aside from the communication and trust issues here, one thing really stuck out to me: "the house is in an up and coming neighborhood". Lord, don't fall for that, that's the oldest real estate trick in the book. The single most important thing in buying a home is...say this 3 times now: LOCATION. Almost anything else can be fixed, but you can't change the neighborhood.

RE people like to tell you that you're getting a real deal for a great price because the location is about to improve drastically. It's on a par with "I'll still respect you in the morning and "your check is in the mail".

Having said that, I think you need a mediator, somebody you both trust but who is not in real estate. Do you live in a community property state?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 3:49AM
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Buy the cheapest house on the block, never the most expensive. All the other more expensive homes will drive up the value of yours.

And yes, I agree location is the key. But it's also about demand.

Best advice based on what's going on in our world right now, buy property, even if it's just land. You will be better off when the Sh** hits the fan. Our country is moving in a direction that is not going to be easy on the general population, most of which you won't hear in the mainstream media. But that's another subject.

Buy property, with or without him.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 10:06PM
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Buy property may be a good idea, but not on the never-never when your finances aren't secure and you have other pressing needs.

That's not buying property, that's taking on debt.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 1:13PM
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What readinglady says is true. You can always buy property later when you are financially stable. We were married for eight years before we bought our home, at a price we could easily afford without being overextended. Twenty years later it is paid off, and due to a change in circumstances we have bought a second property, again one we can afford without being overextended.
Don't fall into a debt hole you can't get out of.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 9:11PM
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So pleased update us on what is happening?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 2:21AM
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Your problems likely extend far beyond this issue.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 8:27PM
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