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Man secretly sells house he has been renting to his brother and his family. AITA?

Man secretly sells house he has been renting to his brother and his family. AITA?


Family and business almost never mix.

One man was upset that his brother was deliquent in payment after he offered to move him and his family into one of his rental properties. The extended family appears to agree that his surprise eviction is an unnecessary escalation but he stands by his decision.

AITA for selling the house my brother and his family live in.


Short and simple I think.

A few years ago my brother needed help. I let him move into one of my rental properties and we did it all legal. Lease agreement and everything.

Because I was renting to him at a breakeven point we agreed that he was responsible for all the maintenance of the house and yard.

Well he has four kids. And the hot water tank isn't enough for his family and he wants a new one. I told him to go ahead. He then proceeded to take the cost of the hot water tank and installation out of that month's rent.

I reminded him of our agreement. He said he wasn't making improvements to my property for free. I said that the old hot water tank was fine and he made the decision to replace it. Big argument and I didn't want to fight so I said that he was not allowed to make any further changes to the house without my explicit agreement.

So he stopped doing maintenance as a protest.

The house itself is not pretty but it is solid. It is old and the wiring in it was not meant for all the modern electronics we have.

He wanted to add a new breaker box and run more outlets. I said no thanks. I cannot afford that since I'm not making any money on the house. He started getting b*tchy about it and the rent started getting paid late.

I tried talking to him but he said that he had to buy some stuff for the house and he was low on cash. So I sold the house.

While the house itself isn't great it is in an older part of the city and the property itself is a quarter of an acre. Every time a house sells in the neighborhood it is snapped up by developers and turned into multi family units. Or one guy built a McMansion on his land.

I know a lot of the developers and I didn't even need to list the house to have it sold in less than a week.

My brother found out when he was served with an eviction notice. He called me to ask WTF. So I told him that the house was causing me headaches and I had an opportunity to make some money and I took it.

He said I should have offered him a chance to buy it. I said that he was having trouble making rent. How was he going to qualify for a mortgage? He said I'm an a**hole and that he has the money he was waiting to make me an offer. I asked him if he had money why he was late on his rent.

He started bad-mouthing me to all our family. A few of them took his side and tried to say I was being an a**hole so I offered all of them a chance to clear his debt to me if they wanted to share their opinion. None of them took me up on the offer.

My parents are on my side and they said I shouldn't have rented to him in the first place. I feel bad for my sister-in-law and the kids but I'm not going to spend the rest of my life subsidizing his.

Here was the verdict laid down by Reddit readers:


NTA. Why should you lose money to help him out? It was good of you tomrent to him at a discount and he crapped on you for your hospitality. You can feel bad for your sister-in-law and niblings but they are not your responsibility.


Your brother learned a valuable lesson, I think. It’s a shame his wife and kids had to learn it too. But that’s what happens when you think you can push people as far as you want and face no consequences for it.


This is complicated. You were very generous with your brother who kept taking from you - the only way the water tank thing makes sense is if he believed that you weren’t doing him a favor - that every landlord rents at break even rates to family and family still gets the full tenant benefits package.

Things escalated, and you wanted out of the deal (and the house). That made sense.

When you made the decision to sell, you should have let him know, both to allow him to purchase it (maybe he could have swung the loan), and to give him the largest window possible for moving. Unless you feel there was a risk he’d damage the property to sabotage the sale, that’s something you should have done.

Now, are you an AH for not doing it?

Your inference that he didn’t have the ability to buy the house is presumptuous, but pretty reasonable. I’ll give you a pass on that - I’d have assumed the same.

So now it’s down to “you were an AH; why didn't you give him more warning?” I can give you a pass before the sale. But after the sale, he should have found out from you. You’re an AH for letting him find out via the new owner’s eviction notice.

I want to be clear - you were very generous, and at all previous times weren’t an AH. But that one choice changed the rating to ESH (meaning your brother is obviously an AH, but you’re a little bit of one too for not telling him you sold the house he’s living in).


ESH. You of course have the legal right to do what you did. Turning your brother's family out on the street with no advance notice is one of those things that makes you TA even if you are legally in the right.

He should have stuck with the agreement or renegotiated a standard agreement with standard improvements and higher rent.


NTA. Your brother is a manipulative jerk. Getting out of any form of monetary dealings with him was the absolute smartest thing you could have done.

Good on you for not giving him first dibs after he decided he was going to be a crappy tenant when you refused to play any more of his dumb games after the hot water heater incident. He all but admitted to trying to whittle down your patience so you'd just offer him the house out of sheer frustration...

Too many folks use 'family' as a blanket excuse for an unspoken expectation of tolerance of crappy behavior indefinitely. So glad to see that wasn't the case here.

This is a great opportunity for your brother to learn that his actions actually do have consequences out in the real world (not holding my breath by any means.. but the opportunity for him to learn is there, minimally), and hopefully you have learned on your side to avoid dealings like this with family/friends in the future.

Sorry you had to go through it, but hopefully you can rest assured in that you handled it as best as a crappy situation like this can be handled (in my opinion).


YTA. Not for selling the house, but for not even giving him a heads up.


NTA because the brother was purposely neglecting to maintain the house (therefore literally costing OP money) and purposely being late and shitty about rent payments. All after already being given a substantial discount on rent.


Actually, brother’s maintenance of the house increases the house’s value, giving OP money. The deal wasn’t as sweet as it sounds—discount on rent for landlord to completely abdicate their usual duties? No thanks.

Do you think this man was unfair to his brother but uprooting his family or do you think he tried to be generous and got burned?

Sources: Reddit
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