Lending money to Husband’s customer

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JuliaMary_2JuliaMary_2 Forumite
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Hi - I feel daft writing this but need to put it in black and white to try and get the emotion out of it.
Husband works in retail; has been dealing with single lady (never married/no children/no siblings/wider family) who’s around 60, recently lost her mother and is vulnerable herself with anxiety and some mental health problems. 
Lovely lady apparently and often brings him in little gifts for our cats (she’s got a cat herself) and seems to really appreciate their chats as doesnt seem to have many others in her life (no mention of friends, just occasional church attendance, odd neighbour but nothing substantive etc).
She’s on some disabled benefits; very anxious  very and doesn’t work. As her mother passed recently she’s selling her mums house for a few hundred thousand. She lives in a small flat herself. However she’s having to pay for conveyancjng; surveys; house insurance; council tax; utilities; clearing house etc etc whilst sale is going through.
Long story short - husband came home tonight and asked if I could lend her some money eg £1000. 
I’ve never met the lady. 
She sounds nice but really… I asked why not bank/loan/credit card etc but apparently she’s exhausted those options and is now ‘feeling suicidal’, crying and suffering with anxiety and depression. 
I don’t want to see anyone suffer - and apparently it is just a cash flow problem before the sale goes through - but I have a number of concerns 
I) I have no guarantee I’ll get my money back;
ii) what if sale drags on or falls through - will I have to give more money with no guarantees 
iii) I don’t know this woman and that’s a big amount of money - I only have a few thousand in savings and am currently trying to help my boys through uni.
I asked why he couldn’t lend his own money but he’s worried it won’t look good with work as she’s a customer. 
Apparently (his suggestion)  I could meet her and loan it as a ‘friend’ (that I just met for first time that day..,)
I obviously don’t want this lady to feel suicidal but surely there are other ways to raise money when selling properties - surely estate agencies etc can account for this when dealing with relatives where money is tight?
I feel a bit emotionally blackmailed into helping a completely unknown quantity with no guarantees and mental health issues. What if it backfires badly? I can’t afford to lose a thousand pounds. He also didn’t seemed phased when I suggested she might need more if sale drags on…
However, rather than just tell him to say no to a weeping lady I wanted to suggest an alternative (if there is one)? I can’t believe that if she’s going to inherit a few hundred thousand from the sale of her late mums house no allowance will be made eg paying costs/ bills from sale etc?
grateful for your thoughts/ advice.


  • edited 30 January at 8:32PM
    sammyjammysammyjammy Forumite
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    edited 30 January at 8:32PM
    It sounds really dodgy/scamlike.   She is a customer and he works in retail and its come to the point that she asks him for money?  Any money owed for the house being sold can be paid post sale, £1000 certainly isn't going to make much difference.  Say no and then say it again.

    If you and your husband keep separate finance tell him to give the £1000 to you to give to her if he wants to take the risk he will never see her again.
    "You've been reading SOS when it's just your clock reading 5:05 "
  • edited 30 January at 8:42PM
    elsienelsien Forumite
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    edited 30 January at 8:42PM
    I believe if it’s a probate property and the house remains empty council tax isn’t payable?

    And if she speaks to the bereavement department for the utilities and explained the bills will be settled when the estate is settled they can put those bills on hold.
    And she doesn’t pay for surveys, the buyer does. It does seem that she is either not understanding or exaggerating the issues.

    It may be that she’s not aware of some of the above so your husband would be helping her more by directing her towards proper advice such as citizens advice.

    If you do lend the money, and I wouldn’t, it must be in the expectation you will not see it back. If that’s okay then lend it, if it’s not then don’t.

    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • diystarter7diystarter7 Forumite
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    Hi OP
    Use your judgment.
    Judging by your post you've answered your own question and posted to get it off your cheat IMO
    Your choice, your money
    Personally, it is a big no

    Take care.

    Before you spend, remember the 
    MSE Money Mantras. Ask yourself, do I need it? Can I afford it? If the answer is NO to any of those questions, DON’T buy it.  (Quote from MSE  15/11/22)

    Politeness & courtesy are some of the few things in life that are free. Please remember that when posting, I may ignore permanently the unpolite, tedious, unconstructive and deliberately obtuse comments. Do endeavour to follow me around the forums. Many thanks.
  • alicefalicef Forumite
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    I would imagine that a lot of the costs of sale could be delayed until the after the property is sold.  It would be better if the seller got some professional advice - free 30 mins from solicitor who could advise?  Perhaps all she needs is a bit of hand holding.

    Seems knee jerk to be requesting a large sum of money.  I wouldn't lend the money.
  • edited 31 January at 1:52PM
    PollycatPollycat Forumite
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    edited 31 January at 1:52PM
    I think your husband has put you in a totally unacceptable situation.
    I just hope he's not mentioned to this lady that he is going to ask you to lend her the money.

    These are the key points (imho):
    JuliaMary_2 said:
    I can’t afford to lose a thousand pounds. 
    I only have a few thousand in savings and am currently trying to help my boys through uni.

    Never, ever lend anyone money that you can't afford to lose.
    The idea of being asked to lend money to someone you've never met is beyond belief.

    You also have other priorities for your savings.
    Your children's educations come way before a stranger's needs.

    I think you have every reason to be suspicious about being asked for more in the future given that she says she needs £1K and reading through the list of things she thinks need paying for.
    I've not bought or sold many houses but the conveyancing costs were paid after the sale when the money was released.
    Elsien has highlighted other things that she would not have to pay for.

    She needs help to understand her situation, especially given she has mental health issues.
    She should try Citizens Advice or maybe Age UK. Age UK say they help 'older people'. I'm not sure if they have a lower age limit but maybe worth checking.
    Both organisations are easily found using Google.

    Perhaps you could help this lady - if you really want to - by attending an appointment with her to ensure she asks the right questions and understands the answers.
    And by asking her where she has got her (mis)information from.
  • DullGreyGuyDullGreyGuy Forumite
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    With family & friends (or other random people) only ever lend what you'd be happy to never see again... if you arent willing to gift it to them then dont lend them it. 

  • The_UnreadyThe_Unready Forumite
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    Another vote for asking your husband to give you the money and for you to then lend it to this random woman (if you still want to - personally I wouldn't lend her my own or my spouse's money)!
  • edited 31 January at 1:12PM
    breaking_freebreaking_free Forumite
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    edited 31 January at 1:12PM
    House selling costs are paid AFTER the house is sold. No need for this lady to dig into her own pockets (or yours) for any money pre-sale.

    She doesn't need to speak to a solicitor for reassurance, she can simply talk to her estate agent who will explain the entire process and the likely costs to her.
    "The problem with Internet quotes is that you can't always depend on their accuracy" - Abraham Lincoln, 1864
  • Jude57Jude57 Forumite
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    OP, if you do decide to loan this stranger money, it must be on the basis that you receive a written undertaking (that's a specific term) from her conveyancing solicitor that you will be repaid in full by them out of the proceeds of sale. Solicitors do this all the time and will, if instructed by the client, write to the local authority and utility providers doing the same. Of course it's possible that she could change the instruction to the solicitor after you've given her the money but you'd have independent proof that it was always a loan and that the intention was to repay it. 

    If she refuses to provide such an undertaking or gives excuses to not do so, you have your answer as to whether she is genuinely in need or is playing on your husband's kindness and your generosity.

    (And for the avoidance of doubt, my advice is; don't loan her a penny.)
  • Debbie9009Debbie9009 Forumite
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    Hi OP

    I think you are right to be concerned, did she ask for the money ? if so I think it might be wise for someone else at his work place to deal with this lady from now on.  If he suggested it, I would be asking why he thinks you should lend a total stranger some money. 

    You have said that you can’t afford to loose this money, and others have given ways that this lady can seek help.  If it’s not possible for someone else to deal with this lady, then I would suggest that he needs to make this a more professional relationship, I know that can be hard to do, but I would be concerned that this lady may keep trying to get your husband to lend her money.
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