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Man demands family pay him to stay in his home after $8.7K kitchen fire. AITA?

Man demands family pay him to stay in his home after $8.7K kitchen fire. AITA?


"AITA for telling all of my friends and family why my vacation home is off limits now unless they rent it?"


I rent out my house through a service that includes insurance when it is in use. The insurance does not cover when I lend my house out to friends and family since they are not paying. I have regular homeowners insurance for that.

My brother was using my house with his family just after New Year's. It's a slow time and I wasn't going to lose out on much income. My nephew stayed up late one night and didn't go out for breakfast with his family. So he decided to make himself some food.

He started a kitchen fire. And he freaked out and called 911 instead of using the fire extinguisher in the kitchen. He is 14, so I can't blame him too much. The smoke damage will cost about $8,700 to fix.

I told my brother he could take his time paying me back. He said he wasn't going to pay for an innocent mistake. I needed the house in order so I just fixed everything. I didn't go through insurance since I do not want my rates going up.

I was obviously upset so I posted about the fire and how pissed I was at my brother. Pretty much all my friends and family took the side of the innocent angel. They said it was unfair for me to expect that much money from him when he could have rented a hotel for 1/4 the price.

So I agreed. I said that from now on my house was off limits unless they rented it out or I was there and they came as my guests. Since I only use the house with my family that means they can rent it all or use the only empty bedroom. It has a twin bed and a crib.

Now the howling started that I'm being unfair to them for something that wasn't their fault. I offered to take up a collection from them to cover the repairs or the increased insurance premiums and most of them shut up.

I directed them all to my brother. He got quite angry at me for blaming him for the situation. I said I wasn't about to send a mob after my nephew. I bought the house after I got a settlement from a worksite accident. I use the income to supplement the difference in what I used to earn at my old job and what I do now.

So I guess my question is am I the ahole for telling everyone who has a problem with me charging rent or stuffing a family into a room meant for two small children to talk to my brother about it?

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


NTA. Your brother deserves to be the one dealing with the flack. If I were him I would have at least offered to pay the increased insurance premiums. Or that amount monthly until the repairs were paid off of you didn't go through insurance. He is the one who wrecked it for everyone. And anyone who took his side I would not trust in my house.


NTA- this is a perfect example of no good deed goes unpunished. Your brother absolutely is responsible for paying for the repairs. It’s no different than if you went over to his house and caused damage. So now if they’re not willing to take responsibility for it, they can pay to stay with you or in a hotel that includes the insurance.


NTA - they aren’t on the hook for something that wasn’t their fault but you are? They are mad their free cookies got taken away and are bitching about having to pay for cookies instead of being grateful for the free ones they got. And the parents chose to leave a minor who they are responsible for behind.

They are liable for that child’s actions according the laws of most places. If you wanted to you could sue them for the damages and they would have to pay (depending on where you are) and also, insurance in most places would not have counted this against you to have your rates go up if this was the only claim - I hoped you talked to your agent before you decided to take an $8k+ hickey.

As far as charging the rest of the family, if you are in the US there is a federal law about tax write offs for the rental business for personal use excess of 14 days per year anyway. And that $8k could be seen as a business expense.

I’d be pissed if I was out of pocket $8k for a fire someone started while staying there for free and they didn’t even bother to pay for ANY of it. They are asinine and jealous and think what is yours should be theirs.


NTA. If the kid can't be blamed for starting a fire them the dad has to be blamed for leaving the kid unsupervised, because obviously he isn't ready to handle emergencies. The family is angry that their free ride is over. Tell them that you can't afford the risk involved in giving away rental time for free.


Just want to point out here that insurance is there for a reason. If you’re never going to use it because you don’t want your rates to go up then what’s the point in paying premiums in the first place? Just don’t have it.

Contrary to popular belief your premiums do not skyrocket if you make a claim. It’s only if you make 3 claims per calendar year and then they have to be pretty big claims.

Also, let’s for arguments sake say that they did increase your payments by say $20 a month, it would take 400 months to add up to $8000 of damages. $20 a month isn’t that life changing but paying $8000 in one lump sum is hard.

It was an accident, again, that’s what insurance is there for. You should have used the insurance and if your rates went up, ask your brother to just cover the monthly cost of that. This is all very unnecessary.

So, do you think the OP reacted too harshly? Does he owe his family anything?

Sources: Reddit
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