Brother in law wants to move in

newbie26 Posts: 46 Forumite
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My BIL had an abusive ex, he got out of the relationship and moved to Australia where he lived (rent free) with his aunt/uncle and worked on & off on a tourist work visa thing for a year and a half.

He then went on holiday in Asia and met a girl who lived in Brazil, he followed her back there (to extend the holiday I guess?). Then Covid happened, he was adamant about staying there but the family convinced him to fly to me and my partner who are in the UK (the rest of the family is in Malaysia). He was very resentful about the family "making" him fly to the UK. During his time with us we did make him pay a minimal amount of rent (£300 approx inc food & bills), he got a well paid job (£175 a day) which involved working in London and he would stay sleep in a hotel a couple of nights a week, due to this he decided to reduce his rent. He ended up living with us for a year like this.

He then decided enough was enough, he hated his job (4am starts) and he was going to Brazil, he said he wanted to have a life there, buy property, get a job etc etc. It seemed a shame he couldn't wait an extra month for our wedding as my now wife had none of her family there (due to travel restrictions), which was tough. She didn't tell him to stay, but to do what he felt was best. I personally feel as a brother he should have been there no matter what.

5 months went by and he has now broken up with the Brazilian g/f (right after she splashed out on his birthday), from what I can ascertain he didn't really make an effort to get a job there and it was more like a big holiday as they spent most of the time travelling round Brazil. He is complaining he is depressed and needs therapy due to his past abusive ex. He gave my wife 1-2 weeks notice that he intended to come back to the UK and stay with us.

He has now flown back to our house and his new plan is to get a permanent residency in Australia (a company he worked for has offered him a job and will sort the legal side). The only snag is this will take 5-7 months (again apparently), however this gives him the opportunity to build his funds back up (after using them on holiday). He is looking at going back to his old job in London and getting therepy for his mental health.

My wife obviously feels a duty of care for her younger sibling, and he is ok to live with. However our house is small, we are looking to start a family and I must admit I'm a selfish only child and I like my space. I'm not sure if living with us is really the best thing, he is nearly 30 now so really needs to start standing on his own two feet.

Do we sympathize with his mental issues and let him stay almost free in the house? Do we charge him full rent? Or do we just say go and rent somewhere?



  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,007 Forumite
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    TBagpuss said:
    As you mention most of the family are in Malaysia, are there cultural expectations here? Is you wife expected (either by her family or her brother) to house him / look after him regardless of what you and she want?  
    Almost certainly ... so make sure you work these in your favour, ie making clear your OWN cultural expectations! 

    You and she need to present a united front. That may take quite a bit of talking through: she is likely to have pressure from him, pressure from the family in Malaysia, pressure from herself because she may feel she HAS to do X, Y or Z. But she doesn't: Give her permission to blame you if she would like to: "of course I'd love to have baby brother here, but newbie doesn't understand these things and he is adamant that bb cannot stay with us."

    Presumably if bb wants a free ride, he can always go back to Malaysia while he waits for his Australian visa. He's a grown man, depressed or not, and no-one forced him to leave Brazil either time. 

    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,816 Forumite
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    I'd take the line that if you went off to work in London and could stay in a hotel a couple of nights a week you would still have to pay your mortgage, heating, taxes etc so why shouldn't he?  

    A couple of weeks to get himself sorted and find an convenient flat is fine.  Staying for the better part of a year, no.
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • RAS
    RAS Posts: 32,610 Forumite
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    Definitely discuss and agree this with your wife, before tackling the situation.

    Until recently over 20,000 Australian nationals who were stuck living overseas by Covid for anything up to 21 months. Plus non-nationals with permanent residency. Some of these folks just happened to be overseas when the borders closed at short notice and got stuck. They're supposed to open up to students and high wealth non-residents this month.

    So even now, the idea that BIL is just going to be able to return to Australia when he feels like it is risky, even if he gets a visa. If there's another scare, it is more than possible that the Australian government will either close the international border, or some of the state borders.  And if that happens entry might only be allowed if someone has a booking for mandatory quarantine, which was in very short supply.

    So you could be stuck with him for much longer then he thinks. You need to agree a deadline for him to move out, whatever else you decide.

    Apart from the obvious risk that he might bring Covid home, has your wife spoken to him about his vaccination status? And ensured that he has the required health insurance in case he becomes unwell?

    I agree that cultural expectations may be part of the dynamic here, but by the sounds of things BIL has not lived in Malaysia for about 5 years. So he is going to have to learn to live with the cultural expectations of the countries in which he lives. Except of course that he is choosing countries where he hopes to rely on his expectations of hospitality, from family and his ex-girlfriend.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • newbie26
    newbie26 Posts: 46 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    edited 13 December 2021 at 4:42PM
    Some great advice here that I have taken onboard and has given me some confidence tackling the issue. There are some assumptions id like to clear up/clarify:

    The direct family are mixed (UK/Malaysian) the siblings have lived most of their adult life in the UK, and are UK citizens (apart from the eldest who moved to Malaysia with the parents). As he is a UK citizen it has been next to impossible to get into (and out) of the Malaysia over the last 2 years. The Malaysian Mother is very much for him paying rent!

    When living in Aus, instead of rent they made him put an amount into savings instead.

    As I said he isn't the worst person to live with, and does cook as he is a Chef.

    He's job in London they made them test every morning, so he is actually safer then us.

    I think we will set him timelines for getting diagnosed, getting a job and when he has to start paying his way/ultimately moving out. I'm worried about the Aus thing taking ages.

    I think what has happened is both myself and wife are not very confrontational, she  wants to come across as "our door is always open" and doesn't want to be seen as profiting from family. Now he has starting talking about mental health issues its even trickier for us to deal with. I didn't really take control last time as Covid had made things very difficult for everyone and I wanted to avoid any upset.
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