‘It’s a touchy subject’: My in-laws live in our basement.
Last year, my husband and I approached my in-laws to see if they wanted to live with us. We had learned that my father-in-law had terminal cancer but could still live five to seven years in remission, and we felt that when the time came and my father-in-law passed, the adjustment would be easier on my mother-in-law, as she is quite dependent on him.
They agreed to this arrangement, and we each sold our homes for a profit; my in-laws already owned their home outright. We agreed that my in-laws would give us the 20% down payment we needed to buy the new home, and we would make the monthly mortgage payments. This 20% down payment is my husband’s inheritance.
We bought a three-story house and converted the basement into an in-law suite, which amounts to more than 20% of the total living space in the house. But we’re not sure who is responsible for the ongoing costs of running this house, and it’s causing friction. My in-laws pay the property taxes, and we pay monthly utilities and home insurance. They do not pay rent. Is this fair?
Who should be responsible for major upgrades or renovations to the house? For example, the central air conditioner will soon need to be replaced. Who should pay for this? Should it be my husband and I, as the homeowners? Should we ask his parents to pay 20% of the total cost? What about renovations such as railings that need to be installed to help keep them safe?
It’s a touchy subject. The way my husband and I approach money is very different from the way my in-laws do. What do you suggest?