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My Exit Strategy - Page 3

post #41 of 108

Keep in mind that you will probably need to get a 2 bedroom place, since there are 4 of you, and that (if you don't have housing assistance), your income may need to be 3 times as much as the rent.

post #42 of 108

 Sell the little car. Illegal apartment aside, mil has been 'saved' from addressing the mold issues immediately because she is taking advantage of your familial relationship - granted so are you and dh w/ not paying your rent.  

 

I think this is the crux of the ethical issue here.

 

You and your dh chose this situation, and agreed to pay rent.  You remained living there even though you don't like the situation, and continued to build up rent owed.  Everybody is participating in the unhealthy situation, not just MIL.  Whether it's for self serving reasons or not, she's letting you live  there and has not tossed you out even though you have not paid 6 months worth of what you agreed to.  If you can't immediately find a new place, she is doing you a favor.  Motives aside.  If you can immediately find and afford another place, then you should have been out of there ages ago.  So it's not as simple as her being awful and you being completely faultless and helpless.  Everybody has made poor choices.  Not paying what you agreed to pay would be another poor choice.

 

Clearly you do need to get out, and soon.  But your plan needs to be one that is reasonable (according to your finances) and ethical, or it will simply be yet another poor choice contributing to stress, tensions, and financial difficulties in the long term. 

 

If your income is so low that you felt her basement was your only option, you should qualify for housing assistance, food stamps (at the very least WIC), possibly even cash assistance.  Do you have your finances in order?  Do you know where every penny is going?  Have you done the legwork needed to get all the assistance that you qualify for?  This is a great moment in your life to decide to make the grown-up, thought-out, responsible decision, rather than the not-so-great one that will give you immediate temporary relief but not actually solve the root problem.  And...there is a great community here at MDC full of people who have btdt, have great ideas and possibly even some locals who might point you in a helpful direction with regards to housing and financial aid.

 

You can do it.  You really can. nod.gif

post #43 of 108

You really need to stop worrying about the apt being "illegal," and letting that keep you from seeking social assistance.  The only people that care that it is an illegal apt are the zoning commission and the city planning people.  The public assistance people aren't goingto give you slack about it and you need help.  You will probably qualify for things like WIC, and you need advice from some body about how to fill out you taxes better and such.  On monday, look for a nearby office that helps people with these kinds of things.  Something like ACORN.

post #44 of 108
Thread Starter 

eepster- my DHS caseworker wouldn't give me any kind of assistance without a notarized letter from MIL signed by both of us stating that I live in a legal apartment and I rent from her paying x amount and that I have a front door and a back door.

 

I ended up lying to her and telling her that the basement is just part of MILs house (like another floor, so same living space).  She was OK with that and I got medicaid- but I can't get food stamps because she says MIL is head of household and she needs to apply for all of use because as far as food stamps go, it's the same case.  Medicaid is different.  I was thrilled when I had my caseworker transferred... but when I changed my name from my maiden name to my married name, I got this lady back again.  She's not very kind.  She gives the impression that she's mad at the world.  We went to the office two separate times in the past to get DH medicaid and she never put the requests thru.  I'm waiting on an appeal because she gave me the wrong medical card back in April that didn't cover my postpartum aftercare (apparently it only covered birth control).  They won't let me change caseworkers.

 

My family members that get WIC (and some friends too) all say that they came to their homes for a visit.  I'm already freaked out about another inspector for the lead coming (they will, I'm waiting on a letter in the mail).

 

Anyways- getting public assistance doesn't help the fact that I'm living in an unsafe living environment.  My 3yo DD has to use an inhaler when she gets sick.  This started when we got the mold.  That really opened up my eyes.  I've got flu-like symptoms right now and my lungs hurt like heck.  In the past, I was never this bad when I got sick.  We need to get out- it's a health issue. 

 

My DH is off of work tomorrow so we're going to sit down and have a long talk and plan things out as best we can.  This is so stressful and I think I may be overthinking a little.

post #45 of 108

Ok, you need to move.  Find a decent studio somewhere nearby, that will cut down moving costs considerably.  Out of state moves can't be done smoothly without LOTS of planning, so move locally first.  Baby steps, like a pp said.

 

You are right, you NEED to move.  You do not need to move out of state, you need a safe apartment - 2 completely different things.  I understand that its a high COL area, but you can still find apartments that you can afford.  Find a different basement apartment (lots of high COL areas have lots of basement apartments) or move into one floor of a house.  There are lots of situations that you could look for - different neighborhoods (ones that are less desirable are cheaper, but not necessarily terrible - do your research and don't believe everything you're told), suburbs, neighboring cities - look at all the options.  Talk to a real estate agent (one who does rental properties) to get an idea of how much you'll need to move into a place. 

 

You do need to move, but there are honest ways of doing it, and dishonest ways.  Unless you want to forever cut off contact with your dh's family, you need to do it the honest way b/c you will make the relationship very difficult to repair if you are dishonest about it.  If you move into a legal apartment, your problems with the social welfare office might start working with you based on your last post.  If you stay where you are, your family will suffer, and so will your relationships with them - not just your in-laws, but your husband as well, and your children's health is at risk.

 

It's time to just DO something and stop thinking about it.

 

ETA - your caseworker is 100% right about the food stamps - its done per household not per family.  Medicaid is a different matter, and your whole family should be on it. 

post #46 of 108


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post

eepster- my DHS caseworker wouldn't give me any kind of assistance without a notarized letter from MIL signed by both of us stating that I live in a legal apartment and I rent from her paying x amount and that I have a front door and a back door.

 

I ended up lying to her and telling her that the basement is just part of MILs house (like another floor, so same living space).  She was OK with that and I got medicaid- but I can't get food stamps because she says MIL is head of household and she needs to apply for all of use because as far as food stamps go, it's the same case.  Medicaid is different.  I was thrilled when I had my caseworker transferred... but when I changed my name from my maiden name to my married name, I got this lady back again.  She's not very kind.  She gives the impression that she's mad at the world.  We went to the office two separate times in the past to get DH medicaid and she never put the requests thru.  I'm waiting on an appeal because she gave me the wrong medical card back in April that didn't cover my postpartum aftercare (apparently it only covered birth control).  They won't let me change caseworkers.

 

My family members that get WIC (and some friends too) all say that they came to their homes for a visit.  I'm already freaked out about another inspector for the lead coming (they will, I'm waiting on a letter in the mail).

 

Anyways- getting public assistance doesn't help the fact that I'm living in an unsafe living environment.  My 3yo DD has to use an inhaler when she gets sick.  This started when we got the mold.  That really opened up my eyes.  I've got flu-like symptoms right now and my lungs hurt like heck.  In the past, I was never this bad when I got sick.  We need to get out- it's a health issue. 

 

My DH is off of work tomorrow so we're going to sit down and have a long talk and plan things out as best we can.  This is so stressful and I think I may be overthinking a little.

 

WIC does NOT do home visits. 
 

post #47 of 108

like everyone has said... if you want to make a clean break from the inlaws, you have to pay off what you owe them.

 

pay THIS debt FIRST. you can pay the institutional credit cards later. the money you owe FAMILY comes first. (if you don't pay the family debt first... it will continue to NAG you and hurt you for years to come. you will never truly get away from it, and the debt will grow with the interest you owe it over time.) if you don't believe this, read Suzy Orman's books. check them out from the library.

post #48 of 108

I hope this doesn't sound terrible.... But maybe you need to get a night job so you can boost your income enough to get your family into a safe situation. Where you are now isn't safe, and that's not JUST your MIL's fault. You guys are the ones still there, and you haven't even paid rent in six months. Something needs to change so you can afford to live someplace that won't harm your family. 

post #49 of 108

I would move first and then send MIL payments for the rent owed Or give half now and the rest in payments once in a new place..Really,most mothers would let it go just to see their kids move out and better themselves,but some will nickle and dime.

 

There is plenty of sears by us in NE Ohio,and the houses can be soooooo cheap.I have been trying to get my dh to buy another house so I can rent it out to a needy friend.Can't beat a good house for 20k or less!

post #50 of 108

I would do whatever it took to get my children in to a safer living situation.  So I would move out ASAP.  Can your husband get a better job, can he get a second job, can you get a job working nights.  There has got to be a way to protect your child's health.  I would be moving within the month, if I were you.  It would be that important.  You can do this, you just have to make a plan.  You can feel free to PM me if you need a shoulder or just someone to encourage you.  hug2.gif

post #51 of 108

To summarize ideas that I think are good:

 

  • Immediately stop prepaying your debt for now, make the minimum payments until you are back on your feet. I feel paying off debt is very important, so that's not a flip "aww, everybody has debt" kind of statement. The debt can wait, your family's health cannot.
  • Decide where you can move the quickest. I see the point of people who say just stay in the Chicago area for now. I also see the point that you might be better off just plain moving to your low COL destination. If your DH can get a transfer to another Sears in a location that works for you, that might be just as quick and easy as finding a place in Chicago. It won't solve everything, though - a lower COL location will probably mean fewer sales and commissions for him. I think if it were me, I'd plan on transferring and immediately looking for a second job (for you or DH or both). I'd go ahead and pick your area, check out apartments for rent via Internet, and have DH ask for the transfer.
  • Talk to MIL and ask for a reduction in back rent based on the mold and lead issues. Plan on paying her whatever is agreed to, though you might have to give her a partial lump sum with your return and then make monthly payments. Hold up your end of the deal no matter what. I promise you, if you stiff her, this will hang over your head for the rest of your life. You can justify stiffing her all you want but this is a situation you agreed to and it will be a big deal if you don't come through on your end. Of course that's not to say you can't renegotiate. Make this debt your first priority, over the other debt. This debt is a way of MIL owning you. The interest you pay on the other debt is smaller than on this one.
  • If I've got your MIL right, she will not gladly reduce your rent or fork over the car for free. Primarily because she will be looking for a hold on you, a way for you to stay under her thumb. In her head it will sound like this: "They are kids and they have no idea what they are doing, they need me to take care of them and make sure they don't do anything too stupid. Look, they are already trying to do something stupid, moving away when they can't afford it." Be prepared for this. Anything she gives you is just pure roses. Crunch your numbers assuming she doesn't agree to a dime off in rent and won't give you the car (but quotes you $2k for it).
  • If she indeed doesn't throw you a single bone, how soon can you save up deposit, first and last, plus maybe $250 for a moving truck? Assuming you stop prepaying any debt immediately. Probably a while, right? Really, you guys need to prioritize getting some extra income. It could be you, it could be DH, it coudl be both. I feel the same as you do, and I'd be looking at ways to juggle childcare so kids are always with a parent, yet can you do any housecleaning, can DH shovel driveways, can either of you deliver newspapers or pizzas, can you walk dogs, pet sit, babysit, do room painting or wallpapering, anything? Every $10 goes toward your freedom and HEALTH. See it as temporary. Yes, it will be stressful, but if your 3 year old is using an inhaler and you think it's the mold, that's a big, permenant deal. Figure out how you can be ready in 2 months by cutting every corner and earning every extra dime you can.
  • When you get the return, send $1500 or $2000 to MIL, then send her $150 or $100 a month to pay off in 10 months. If she gives you a break, so much the better.
  • Get WIC, foodstamps, whatever at your new location.
  • Find a second job (you or DH) at the new location. It's going to be busy for a while. Don't think of it as a bad thing for your family, it's a good thing. That extra effort, those hours away from the kids - that's their health.
  • Do it, do it, do it, do it.

 

Oh, and I am thinking that you share as little as possible with your MIL because she may actually try to thwart your plans. Talk to her about rent reduction before you breathe a hint that you are looking to move. She may feel cheated and like you were dishonest with her later. But it's not dishonest. If her reduction was contingent upon you staying under her thumb and exposing your children to mold for the rest of her life, well, that's on her.

 

Story time, maybe it will be interesting and maybe even helpful. DH's mother was a big control freak. I think she even had some good intentions, who knows. Money was a big problem. She was paying for his college, which was fine and wonderful. But, boy, did she have strings. DH was not ok with them and he took action to get out from under her. He applied for loans and increased his hours at his job. One of the papers for a loan he applied for was sent to MIL's home (since DH was just a student and didn't have a home of his own). Though addressed to him, she opened it and saw what he was doing. She has seen it as the ultimate betrayal. Even a decade later, it came up in a fight. DH and I literally cannot see her point of view - not merely that we don't agree with it, but we don't get it. He did not steal anything from her, he didn't break any promises. He took over the burden of paying for his college and became independent. Isn't that the goal? But she was (probably still is) so angry that he dared be independent from her. Oh, there was the car, too. She gave him her old beater and that was great. But apparently her rule was that the car could not be used for any circumstance except to drive to visit her. He couldn't drive to a coffee shop. He couldn't drive to WalMart. So the sole point of the car was so that she didn't have to drive to campus to visit him (she never did except for the first day when he moved in, before he dared to become independent), but he was supposed to be otherwise car-less in a relatively rural campus that has no public transportation. Well, on that one, he did end up keeping the car and I don't recall her complaining about it. She apparently missed her move because the title was in his name because she didn't want to be liable for the insurance. So he was paying insurance on a car that was in his name but wasn't "allowed" to use, heh. Your MIL has one over my MIL because the car is still in her name.

 

Anyway, good luck to you.

post #52 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post

I agree that stiffing her on the rent wouldn't be the best thing.. but I had to ask.  But how is it ethical to expect someone to pay rent for an unsafe apartment?  Maybe we should talk to her about that aspect of it.  You can take your landlord to court for not fixing such things in a legal apartment, but all we have been able to do is beg and plead with MIL to have these things fixed.  Nothing at all has been done on her part. 

 

 


Well, I would never allow someone to live in my mold and lead infested basement and especially not my grandchildren, I'd take them into my home ( you know the real house that has a kitchen and heat. I'm personally appalled that she has done nothing to clean up the place to make it safe. As far as I'm concerned she has taken advantage of you all. Really, she wants 500 bucks a month for her basement with no running water, no heat and lead and mold infestation and she allows her grandchildren to live there. What kind of grandmother does that? 

 

It's all well and good to honor your commitments but the health and safety of my children come first above all else and there is no way I'd stay there a day longer than I had to even if that means she has to wait to be repaid. 

post #53 of 108

 

"I'm already freaked out about another inspector for the lead coming (they will, I'm waiting on a letter in the mail)."

 

That might just be the best day of your life, if it turns out to be the thing that shakes this situation loose and gets you free. But hopefully you guys will already be gone by then.

 

I take a different view from most of the rest of the people in this thread - you should start with a long-distance move to follow a new position for DH. Transfer within Sears or whatever, it doesn't matter, as long as there is a paycheck waiting for him at the end of a long car trip! Whether MIL decides to keep the big car or lets you drive away in the Escort is ultimately unimportant, so long as you are leaving. 

 

Once you are established someplace else, have thrown away your mold-infested belongings and replaced them with new stuff, are financially stable, and have achieved some kind of objectivity, THEN you two can sit down together and discuss whether or not you wish to repay the back rent. It's just not a crucial issue right now. I also don't think you can decide today whether or not you wish to continue the relationship with MIL. Those are issues to debate later, once you're safe. 

 

Get out of the house first. All else follows. 

post #54 of 108

ITA with this!
 

I would say repay her after you have secured a safe and healthy living situation elsewhere.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post

I agree that stiffing her on the rent wouldn't be the best thing.. but I had to ask.  But how is it ethical to expect someone to pay rent for an unsafe apartment?  Maybe we should talk to her about that aspect of it.  You can take your landlord to court for not fixing such things in a legal apartment, but all we have been able to do is beg and plead with MIL to have these things fixed.  Nothing at all has been done on her part. 

 

 


Well, I would never allow someone to live in my mold and lead infested basement and especially not my grandchildren, I'd take them into my home ( you know the real house that has a kitchen and heat. I'm personally appalled that she has done nothing to clean up the place to make it safe. As far as I'm concerned she has taken advantage of you all. Really, she wants 500 bucks a month for her basement with no running water, no heat and lead and mold infestation and she allows her grandchildren to live there. What kind of grandmother does that? 

 

It's all well and good to honor your commitments but the health and safety of my children come first above all else and there is no way I'd stay there a day longer than I had to even if that means she has to wait to be repaid. 

post #55 of 108

I agree with Laohaire's points. I would pay particular attention to the salary/commission/number of sales thing. Lower costs of living generally mean lower salaries as well, even though the balance may tilt slightly towards the lower cost end of things. Also, be sure he really can transfer that easily. Auto stuff is probably pretty solid, but it is tough times in the economy and many shops may not be looking to split commissions etc. any further than they already do, so they won't be bringing on new people. If it is that easy I think I might start looking for work at Sears. smile.gif

 

Run the numbers. It is clear you need to make a change in your living situation. Although I really do believe you owe that money to your MIL and you will need to pay it back, I agree with the idea of giving her a partial payment and then making payments from where you land, even if they're $25/mo...but I also believe you need to get the income together to do that. That's your piece in this situation.

 

I also wanted to add without judgment ("when you know better, you do better") that I presume you have known about the mould for a while, and I know the lead just came up in the last couple of months but it wasn't yesterday. As your kids' parent, it is your job to address these things regardless of your landlord. It sounds like an unhealthy dynamic where you are blaming your MIL for not making changes, but not making changes yourself. I think this is really common with family situations, but you can't keep doing that. Whether you stiff her or not, you had the responsibility the first month you saw there was a problem to fix it...I am not saying it would have been easy or anything. I'm just saying that going forward, you need to take that with you so that your family doesn't end up in another substandard apartment with rat poo or whatever.

post #56 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post

I agree that stiffing her on the rent wouldn't be the best thing.. but I had to ask.  But how is it ethical to expect someone to pay rent for an unsafe apartment?  Maybe we should talk to her about that aspect of it.  You can take your landlord to court for not fixing such things in a legal apartment, but all we have been able to do is beg and plead with MIL to have these things fixed.  Nothing at all has been done on her part. 

 

 


Well, I would never allow someone to live in my mold and lead infested basement and especially not my grandchildren, I'd take them into my home ( you know the real house that has a kitchen and heat. I'm personally appalled that she has done nothing to clean up the place to make it safe. As far as I'm concerned she has taken advantage of you all. Really, she wants 500 bucks a month for her basement with no running water, no heat and lead and mold infestation and she allows her grandchildren to live there. What kind of grandmother does that? 

 

It's all well and good to honor your commitments but the health and safety of my children come first above all else and there is no way I'd stay there a day longer than I had to even if that means she has to wait to be repaid. 



I agree. You need to take that money and get your family safe. Pay her asap, but your kids are #1.

post #57 of 108
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post

I also wanted to add without judgment ("when you know better, you do better") that I presume you have known about the mould for a while, and I know the lead just came up in the last couple of months but it wasn't yesterday. As your kids' parent, it is your job to address these things regardless of your landlord. It sounds like an unhealthy dynamic where you are blaming your MIL for not making changes, but not making changes yourself. I think this is really common with family situations, but you can't keep doing that. Whether you stiff her or not, you had the responsibility the first month you saw there was a problem to fix it...I am not saying it would have been easy or anything. I'm just saying that going forward, you need to take that with you so that your family doesn't end up in another substandard apartment with rat poo or whatever.



Thanks- I have done what I could.  There are underlying problems.  The shower is leaky, causing the mold in one spot.  I myself (and my DH) several times took the initiative to seal up the shower with silicone.  There's supposed to be a rubber membrane under the shower floor but FIL cut corners and didn't put it in.  I've cleaned up that mold numerous times to only have it come back even stronger.  We now have YELLOW mold- according to my google searches, it's "The house eating fungus".  The other mold is coming from the ceiling in the bathroom, because there's an air duct right next to the drywall, and the condensation caused it.  When brought to the attention of MIL and FIL, they shrugged and said "nothing we can do".  DHs uncle says get a dehumidifier.  We can't do that because the only moisture is in the areas where there's mold because there's actually water on them.  My kids have dry skin issues and hubby does too- I can't keep the air bone dry.  So I have to periodically clean up the mold.  I do agree that we should have been out of this place a long time ago. 

 

I really like the idea of giving MIL a chunk of the money and then the rest in payments.    I also do like the idea of getting on our own feet first and into a safe environment.

 

I also wanted to add that no studio will take us.  I literally called about every studio apartment in Chicago in October... no one was willing to take two adults and two small children in a studio.  I think it's a liability issue.  There were a few 1brs that would take us though, but all over $750+electric and in not so nice neighborhoods.

 

post #58 of 108

It's not as difficult to move out of state as you think.  It's just scary because it's outside your realm of experience.  You can do it.  Once you are in your OWN household, a lot of the public assistance issues that are worrying you and/or not coming through (WIC or foodstamps or Medicaid) are going to resolve. 

 

Do some research of states - look at unemployment rates, the types of work available (whether they match your dh's skills and your own), look at whether you have friends or relatives who are reliable in the area (if there aren't, don't allow that to trump a really good opportunity, you can use "Finding Your Tribe" here on MDC to find some moms with similar parenting styles to ours, etc.).  It sounds like your dh might want to go back to school -- so once you've found a state or two that you think you might want to move to, look for where the community colleges are and see whether you can find a "sweet spot" which combines all or most of your goals.  Among your goals should be a good public transportation system.

 

http://data.bls.gov/map/servlet/map.servlet.MapToolServlet?survey=la (map of unemployment rates by state) - ND is the lowest unemployment right now and has been for a long time.

 

City data site: http://www.city-data.com/

 

http://www.payscale.com/cost-of-living-calculator

 

http://www.grist.org/article/2009-06-12-best-u.s.-transit-systems/P1 (top ten US cities for transport - does not include the 'biggies' like NY, SF which are a given)

 

If I were you, I would talk to MIL about the fact that dh would like to buy 'her' vehicle from her.  Have dh do the talking.  Once you have that vehicle in YOUR family's name, then she can't renege on that.  Once you've got that vehicle officially yours, then see if dh's friend really wants to buy his car.  If he does, sell it to him.  Save the money to afford a lease on a new apartment --- and have dh at the same time talk with his boss about transferring.  It might be easier for him to bring in a list of the top 3 communities you'd like to move to, to maximize the possibility that he can move into an opening as it comes up.  Pay the minimum payments you need to pay on your debts while you're building up the nest egg which will allow you to afford to move out of state (with moving truck, etc.).  Hopefully, the opening elsewhere will coincide with you having sufficient funds to move.  If you are able to talk MIL into selling her vehicle to dh for not a lot of money (after all, she paid $1 for it) - and are able to get $2,000 for his car - that might be enough right there to finance the moving truck and your new apartment lease (enough for the contract, and 1-3 months rent depending on COL where you move). 

 

Don't worry about having your MIL paid up when you move out.  Ideally, you'll be able to give her $1000 and promise to give her more as money comes in.  But your focus should be to get out to a clean, habitable apartment - to move, and be done with moving, to a stable place economically for you which will allow you to get back on your feet.  You might spend the first 6 months/year paying down what you owe your MIL and just making minimum or slightly above minimum payments on your debts -- but you need to move.  And you can start focusing on paying debts down fiercely once you've got MIL paid off and yourselves well established.  Tell MIL dh was offered this great opportunity to move within the company, and that you'll pay her down as quickly as you can (heck, even write up an agreement with her!).  She doesn't need to know WHY he was offered this opportunity to transfer (that he asked for it wink1.gif ).

 

If there's any way you can take on a part time job now, and when you've moved, that would be really good.  It would help build up the money you need to be able to get back on your feet.  Things are going to be rough financially for awhile, but you can do this.  And you and your kids deserve a safer place to live!  I know this is scary and overwhelming, but it's also a fresh start and the beginning of good things. 

 

Don't forget the forum on finances here at MDC - if you're not posting there already, you'll find a lot of information and support there. 

 

If any of this debt is student loan debt -- you can get a deferment.  It takes awhile to be processed, but definitely apply for a deferment if some of this is for student loans.  The loan paperwork has information on it about how to file (each bill usually has the information on it). 

 

ETA:  Actually, don't talk about the vehicle with MIL for a bit - do a little research first.  It's possible that you could move to a city with good transportation system and low COL and not need the vehicle, and unless MIL is willing to sell it to you for a couple hundred dollars, the cost of vehicle ownership/maintenance/insurance can suck a LOT of money out of your budget when you're trying to pare your budget to the bone and save up to pay down debts and finance a move. 

post #59 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post

I also wanted to add without judgment ("when you know better, you do better") that I presume you have known about the mould for a while, and I know the lead just came up in the last couple of months but it wasn't yesterday. As your kids' parent, it is your job to address these things regardless of your landlord. It sounds like an unhealthy dynamic where you are blaming your MIL for not making changes, but not making changes yourself. I think this is really common with family situations, but you can't keep doing that. Whether you stiff her or not, you had the responsibility the first month you saw there was a problem to fix it...I am not saying it would have been easy or anything. I'm just saying that going forward, you need to take that with you so that your family doesn't end up in another substandard apartment with rat poo or whatever.



Thanks- I have done what I could.  There are underlying problems.  The shower is leaky, causing the mold in one spot.  I myself (and my DH) several times took the initiative to seal up the shower with silicone.  There's supposed to be a rubber membrane under the shower floor but FIL cut corners and didn't put it in.  I've cleaned up that mold numerous times to only have it come back even stronger.  We now have YELLOW mold- according to my google searches, it's "The house eating fungus".  The other mold is coming from the ceiling in the bathroom, because there's an air duct right next to the drywall, and the condensation caused it.  When brought to the attention of MIL and FIL, they shrugged and said "nothing we can do".  DHs uncle says get a dehumidifier.  We can't do that because the only moisture is in the areas where there's mold because there's actually water on them.  My kids have dry skin issues and hubby does too- I can't keep the air bone dry.  So I have to periodically clean up the mold.  I do agree that we should have been out of this place a long time ago. 

 

I really like the idea of giving MIL a chunk of the money and then the rest in payments.    I also do like the idea of getting on our own feet first and into a safe environment.

 

I also wanted to add that no studio will take us.  I literally called about every studio apartment in Chicago in October... no one was willing to take two adults and two small children in a studio.  I think it's a liability issue.  There were a few 1brs that would take us though, but all over $750+electric and in not so nice neighborhoods.

 

 

750 plus utilities is completely reasonable for a 1br, even in a not so nice neighborhood.  Have you looked at them?  It may be that they are barely inhabitable, but they might also be pretty nice.  If there is good public transit near them you wouldn't need a car, and that would be doable.  Not so nice neighborhoods aren't always terrible, gang ridden, dangerous places.  They aren't the most expensive neighborhoods, but it doesn't mean they are horrible places to live - I would check out the apartments and then find a way to make them work (so long as the apartment itself was not a health hazard).
 

post #60 of 108

 

I don't see how a "not so nice" neighborhood could be *worse* than an unheated, mold infested, lead encrusted, illegal living space with no kitchen. Worse than a place that is making your child physically ill?

I think it is time that you and your husband sit down and talk about priorites. You are choosing to live where you live and choosing all the living conditions that come with it. Paying off debt while noble is nit worth the jeopardy you are putting your family in.
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