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Ask Rene: Help! I Need This Freeloader Out Of My House!


Ask Rene:
Help! I Need This Freeloader Out Of My House!


Hey Rene:

My husband and I agreed to let his 24-year-old nephew stay with us for a couple of weeks until his job transfer came through and he could enroll in college and get his own apartment. That was six months ago. The job transfer didn’t happen, but he did start school.

He only has class two days each week. The other time he spends playing video games. During the day, he sleeps like a log and at night he is on the game system nonstop. He barely cleans the guest bedroom; make the bed, or bathes without one of us telling him to do so. He doesn’t help around the house, pay rent, or have any friends. In fact, he never leaves the house except to go to class or to pick up fast food. He smokes and drinks, and I’m pretty sure he does drugs, although I haven’t found any evidence of this.

A couple of months ago we told him that he needed to get a job so he could start paying rent to us. I even set up an interview for him with my company, but he didn’t want to do the work. Plus, his mother told him that he didn’t have to…so he didn’t follow-through.

My husband says he doesn’t want to ruin his relationship with his brother who knows how sorry his child is .The kid’s mom has always babied her son and allowed his behavior to cause tension in her own family. Even his grandparents and uncle recognize how undesirable the situation has become. But naturally, none of them is willing to do anything about the situation, and my husband doesn’t want to just kick him out.

But I say he has to go! Last week I found a porno DVD out in plain sight in our guest bedroom, and other evidence of undesirable behavior. His first rent payment is due February 15, and I know he won’t have the money unless his parents give it to him. We decided to charge him rent in the hopes that it would motivate him to find a job so he could eventually afford to move out. But of course, he hasn’t made any progress towards that and honestly, at this point, all I want is him gone.

Rene, how do I get this freeloader out of my house without upsetting my husband (we’re 60% on the same page) and straining the relationship with my brother and sister-in-law?


Fed Up and Frustrated


Dear F and F:

You sound like such a nice lady and therein lies the problem. You and your husband were very magnanimous in allowing your nephew to come live with you. But he’s no fool, he thinks he’s living in the Hotel California and until something drastic happens, he will never leave!

It might help if you look at this like a business relationship. You and your husband agreed to give your nephew something (lodging) in exchange for something (him going to school). He did not, and shows no signs that he plans to follow through on his end of the bargain so he has basically voided the contract. If you were his employer you would be justified, legally and otherwise, in firing him. The same applies here but is complicated by the fact that he’s family. He knows that, as do your brother and sister-in-law. Without question something needs to be done so here’s what I suggest:


1. Lay Down The Law

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This is something that should have been done at the start but we are lulled into thinking, “Oh they’re family. Official agreements are for strangers.” If this case illustrates anything it is that we need to be clear in ALL relationships. Now this is probably going to shock your nephew but it’s exactly what he needs. In order for him to live in your home he must:

a) Take a full course load in school: That’s 12 hours a semester.

b) Get a part-time job: I don’t care if it’s scooping poop in the neighborhood, he MUST contribute something other than waste matter to your home.

c) Keep his room clean: That room cannot be a pigsty and yes you have a right to demand that as it’s part of YOUR house.

Do some chores around the house: yeah, I’m a hard ass but he’s a part of your family, therefore he needs to pull his weight. He can cook, mow the grass, clean toilets but he must do something.


  1. LindaBird

    November 24, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    Hi – I think you are harming this boy (and yourselves) by over-helping him. He needs an eye-to-eye chat with a Marlboro Man – perhaps someone from your church or a neighbor? Not someone in the family. This person can explain to him that he’s ruining his self-respect, deliver the 30 day eviction notice, and perhaps explain that if he’s still around in 30 days the police will be called on suspicion of drug activities. Oh yes, he IS on drugs. Also, I bet he’s a part time student so that he can collect $4k/semester in financial aid – and that’s how he buys drugs. Offer to help him find a job, and get treatment (don’t pay for it though). Don’t let him apply at your work!! He’ll ruin your reputation. If this doesn’t appeal, put all utilities on vacation hold and take off, or pack up his stuff and drop him at his mother’s, or sell your house, or re-do your flooring and all 3 of you move in with someone else while it happens. Don’t get into a rental agreement with him – just get him out. You don’t want to be stuck with a lousy renter. By the way, my dad’s cousin tent-camped in a park all winter in Iowa (in the snow) until he got an apartment – and his entire huge family lived right there, but he never expected anyone to take him into one of the houses for a single night – not a grown, able bodied man. Ridiculous.

  2. LindaBird

    November 25, 2015 at 12:11 am

    I just had another idea…get him a ticket to a Hawaiian vacation, fly him out, and don’t buy a return ticket (or cancel the return ticket). While he’s gone, move his stuff into his mom’s place. Alaska would be good too.

    You could also do a sit-in. This is where everyone he knows confronts him together. You need to meet ahead of time to hash out your main points and a beneficial objective. (Usually, sit-ins are recommended for addicts.). Even if he’s not on drugs, he has a gaming addiction and lacks social norms. Not good in the long run.

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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