Long-term guest - I want him gone, wife doesn't!

16 Replies

I've been a wannabe investor for several years, and have enjoyed reading BiggerPockets. Sadly, the topic that finally motivated me to create an account and jump in is not a happy one:

We have an adult, non-family-member guest living in his own RV in our yard (within the Austin city limits). Here's the wrinkle - I want him gone; my wife doesn't. She and I are both listed on the mortgage. We live in Austin, TX.

We let the guy park there to "help him out for a while" (which I'm sure you folks have heard a lot). He's been using our utilities, shower, food, etc since. After the first month, we grumbled about the increased grocery bill, so he sent me $300 via PayPal with a note saying 'January rent'. He's sent nothing since (2 months). We have no written or verbal agreement in place with him.

Dazzlingly, when I pressed on my discomfort about what I saw as a growing connection between my wife and our guest, she asked ME to leave. I've been living remotely for two weeks, leaving the two of them at our place while I service the mortgage, pay the utilities and so forth. I'll spare you what I think of this development.

Really hoping my wife and I can come to joint accord on this via counseling, but I'm trying to understand what could be done legally, should I need to press the issue.

Thoughts welcome. Thanks in advance --

@Scott White

You need legal counsel, not advice from an investor.  The issues you're facing are not just real estate related, they're relationship related and no one here is qualified to solve the mounting issues you're facing. 

Please Scott, seek proper legal counsel and not someone's opinion who may be ill equipped to comment on such a serious matter.

Like the above poster said, this isn't an investment issue. You need a divorce lawyer asap. 99% chance your wife is cheating on you if this truly happened

I understand - there's many layers of the situation, and I'm not looking at booting this guy as the magic bullet that fixes all our problems.

But the real estate part of this is: If husband/wife are jointly listed on a mortgage, but disagree on whether a tenant should stay ... can one party press the eviction process without the other's consent?

Not a lawyer, so no legal advice, but if he is not breaking any city rules or regulations by having the RV there so long, then I believe this is just a blatant sign of a major marital issue between you and your wife.  If you have any recourse through code violations or neighbor complaints (I know if my neighbor had an RV parked out front for months, I'd be calling the city complaining, so there may be complaints already on file), then do all you can to get him removed whether or not she agrees and deal with the residual marital issues after he is gone.   As far as the marital issue, counseling or not, really listen to your wife about why she feels it is important to help this person, then see if you can come up with a compromise, like have him move but agree to volunteer with her at a homeless shelter nearby or something else that fulfills both her need to help with your need for privacy.  That, or contact a good attorney who can make sure you are protected as it doesn't sound like she is actually concerned with your side of things in this situation.  While I understand an obligation to help others less fortunate is a noble thing, it is not if it divides a family, especially if there is a viable alternative that works for all.     

Thank you, Lynn. We're working with a good counselor on the marital issues, and again I hope to get to the bottom of the core stuff soon. Best case would be we agree TOGETHER that we just don't need the complexity of this guy being around anymore, and we let him know he needs to go, and enforce an eviction timeline together.

But to cover bases, I'm looking at a scenario some weeks out, where if we're not making progress, and I just need to get the guy gone so I can return to my house without this dude being there ... what can be done?

Put another way, I hate to hang a 30-day notice on his door only to learn it has no teeth if she doesn't agree. She is co-owner on the mortgage after all.

The code angle is interesting. In fact, the reason he was bumped from his old RV park is because his RV was too ugly to stay there!

@Scott White

1.  If you're inside the city limits, I'm more than certain the RV situation is in violation of one or more city ordinances. You can always call the city to confirm. If it does, they will be glad to send a letter to your home stating you (or your wife) has a certain number of days to rectify the violation or face penalties. 

2.  If both you and your wife are on title (or if this is your homestead) but disagree on how to resolve the matter, you will likely end up hiring an attorney anyway. Both parties on title have a right to determine who stays on or in the property. This is a unique situation and again, I would say seek a real estate attorney to provide proper counsel on this matter.

Thanks all. I've got calls to a couple attorneys on my docket for tomorrow. And I'll look into whether it's a code violation.

You may think I'm kidding, and I am a bit, but I like to fight fire with fire. Therefore, I would move another RV on site with a woman in it. What's good for the goose....

Man up, and throw this guy out of your home he is sharing with your wife.

No disrespect, just reading your post made my blood boil for a minute on your behalf.

I hope things work out for the best.

Dude, she is cuckolding you. Get a lawyer

I'm sorry bro but you're in denial about this deal, she moved on and you haven't.  Keep your chin up.  I might be wrong and I hope I am.

Sounds like your wife personally knows the guy very well, and theres a very high chance shes cheating on you. Get a good divorce lawyer ASAP

Gang, appreciate the thoughts ... but please keep in mind I'm it's a complex situation with kids involved, and a partner who's simply not playing by the rules. So, I must tread carefully, keeping the long-view in mind, regardless of how painful it is to me day-to-day. 

The question posed here is part of a larger strategy of options. A consultation with a lawyer is another one of these. Thanks again --

I agree you should move back in, first of all.  Tell her if she wants to live separately, then she can move and take the buddy with her.

Legally, from my understanding of marriage and co-owners of a property, it would be like any other business partnership where the partners are equal.  One can make decisions without the other.  Basically, you'd have to dissolve the partnership or sue your partner.  If I remember my partnership law course correctly.

But, I say move back in.  I was advised to do this when I was divorcing my husband, so that I did not lose rights regarding ownership of the home, as I'd "left the family home" or some such.  That was back in 1979 in CA, and it did hurt me in the divorce.

So, I agree you should move back in and let wife and buddy know you are calling the health and building inspectors, and your wife and you will just have to split the bills that causes.  Then offer to get counseling if she wants to save the marriage, but buddy has to go.

I know that's easier said than done.  I didn't want to live in a house with a man I didn't want to be around while we went through a divorce, and he refused to leave.  That worked for him.  Maybe you can make it work for you?

Whatever you do, don't kiss her

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