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Landlord Refuses To Renew Lease For Parents With Dying Son And Limited Funds To Move

Sick little boy in a hospital bed
ER Productions Limited / Getty Images

Compassion is one of those ineffable qualities that separate people from machines.

What happens though, when someone makes a decision that is legally–though not necessarily morally–right?

That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Unique_Jaguar9688 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.

He asked:

“AITA for selling my house and not renewing the lease of a family with a sick child?”

Op began with the background.

“I (47M) inherited a property from my father 11 years ago.”

“For the past five years, I’ve been renting the house to a nice family with a young child (5M). They’ve been great tenants, and there haven’t been any issues.”

Everything was fine, until…

“A month ago I was approached by a realtor about selling my property.”

“He had a buyer who was interested and was ready to offer $60,000 over the market because of the location.”

“This was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

“My tenants have a lease through mid-March.”

“I’ve always renewed every year around this time.”

“I contacted the husband, Michael, and let him know I would not be renewing this time.”

OP shared horrific news.

“To say that he was upset was an understatement.”

“It turns out that he and his wife are currently in hospice with their son who has a terminal heart condition. The doctors have given him a month or two to live.”

“I knew the boy was sick, but I never knew it was so serious.”

“Michael told me that there is no way right now that they can pack up the house and find a new rental in time.”

“The hospice where they are currently in residence is over three hours away, and he thinks it’s terribly unfair that I expect him to sacrifice any of the time he has left with their son in order to move.”

“He called me a heartless sociopath.”

“I suggested that they have a family member take care of the packing and finding a new place but the only family they have around is the wife’s elderly father.”

“(I’m not sure that I believe this because they are too young to only have one parent between them and I’m sure there are siblings somewhere).”

“I then suggested they hire a moving company to handle the packing and try to find a rental online, or possibly an Airbnb for a while.”

“He claims he can’t afford a moving company because of the son’s medical expenses.”

OP went on to explain his view on the matter.

“I feel bad about the situation and realize I’m making things harder for them, but it’s not my responsibility to take care of them.”

“I’ve given them the legally required notice.”

“My wife thinks that because of the money I’ll be making that I should offer to pay for a moving company and an Airbnb after they leave the hospice.”

“I don’t want to do this because it would cost me a big chunk of the profit from selling the house and again, their situation is not my responsibility.”

“This is the risk people take when they rent. My wife is now giving me the cold shoulder.”

OP was left to wonder,

“So, AITA for selling my house and not renewing the lease of a family with a sick child?”

Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided: YTA

Some pointed out logistic issues.

“Did you send them written notice of the selling of the property and when they needed to be out by? A phone call doesn’t count in most places. It has to be a legal written notice.”

“You have other options here beyond ‘not my problem.’ There is the option your wife gave.”

“There is also contacting the realtor or buyers and asking for a grace period for your tenants given the circumstances.”

“You could set up a fundraiser, ask them what they need to make the transition, etc. Some compassion would go a long way.”

“Also comments about their family or lack thereof are unnecessary.”

“You don’t know their family makeup. They could both be only children, they could have had a lot of loss in their lives early on.”

“YWBTA if you do not at least try some other options.”

“A lot of states have enacted laws making it a legal obligation for the owner of the home to pay for moving expenses if they are selling the home and use it as rental income.”

“Did you look at new state laws and make sure you were in the clear?” ~ sheramom4

Others shared personal stories of loss.

“My parents were young when they had me, and I still lost my mom when I was 26.”

“My bf’s parents are still alive, but he was an oops baby, and they had him later, so his parents are close to 70.”

“I hated that OP said he didn’t believe them that their parents were dead, it made me think I was so unusual and unlucky for losing my mom that early when in reality people experience loss at any age.”

“What a singular and charmed life OP must lead if he doesn’t realize people can have experiences in their life that he hasn’t had.” ~ kpo987

“Exactly. My stepdad was 2 when he went into foster care when both his parents died.” ~ Moonydog55

Responses were very direct.


“Legally fine.”

“Morally f*cking bankrupt. Absolutely horrible thing to do to someone.”

“There are not enough words for how horrible this is.” ~  jennyfromtheeblock

“I completely agree.”

“Just because something is legal doesn’t make it moral.”

“This is a ghastly thing to do to a family that is stretched beyond endurance already.” ~ Golden_Mandala

“It is possible to be well within your rights, and also an a**hole. Not easy, but possible.”

“And you have achieved this. Congratulations, YTA!”

“I wouldn’t have believed that 10k people would see this, let alone upvote it” ~ upset_pachyderm

“Your humanity only costs $60,000. Good to know.” ~ IndependenceEven2702

Commenters had no problem voicing their outrage.

“Caring for a chronically ill child who is ‘responding ‘ to treatment is unbelievably difficult.”

“(One of our children had cancer and recovered; even with that ‘great news,’ I have PTSD and spent the next year barely able to function).”

“I cannot imagine the added stress, horror, and pain of doing all that can be done and learning that your child won’t recover.”

“Then as you’re spending your last days and weeks together, your landlord tells you have to move…”

“And callously suggests that since you’re busy, someone else can just pack up your entire home for you – including your son’s stuff- and find a new place for it!”


“What you’ve done is unconscionable, by far the most sickening AITA post I’ve ever read.” ~ Pink_RubberDucky


“Whoa this one got me.”

“Do you lack all empathy? Do you have children?”

“If not, what if it was your wife on hospice and someone did this to you?”

“Just because ‘it’s not your responsibility’ doesn’t mean you have to be such a heartless AH.”

“This makes me pretty sick tbh.”

“You can always find a buyer. Do the right thing.”

“Will you be able to sleep at night knowing you have added misery and stress to this poor family whose life has been turned upside down?”

“Could you live with yourself knowing you took precious time away from their child so you could force them to uproot so you can have an extra 60 grand in your bank?”

“You suck. So tired of people who put profit over people.” ~ RaeRae_5000


“You aren’t ‘making things harder for them’ you are potentially making them miss time with a child who won’t be here for long.”

“You are well within your right to do so and probably won’t give it another thought once the money hits your bank account.”

“It sounds like your wife is a different kind of person, and good for her.”

“Also, people aren’t taking a ‘risk’ by renting, they probably just haven’t inherited homes from their rich daddies.” ~ GottaLaunderMyKarma2

“That’s something that really frustrates me about this sub sometimes.”

“There are various posts where the comments get way too caught up in the technicality of ‘Is this my responsibility or not?’, which can end up being entirely irrelevant.”

“There are countless things in life that someone can technically not be responsible for, but they’re still an a**hole if they don’t handle/help” ~ shallot_pearl

OP did return with an update.

“The purchase agreement has been signed.”

“I’m not selling to a developer but to a family that needs to move to the area for their son’s schooling.”

“I’ll call the buyer and explain the situation, and then, if they choose, they can contact the tenants and make arrangements.”

Compassion is one of those ineffable qualities that separate people from machines.

Legally, the original poster here is well within his rights to do what he’s doing.

That does not, necessarily, make it the right thing to do.

Be kind and let us know what you think in the comments.

Written by Frank Geier

Frank Geier (pronouns he/him) is a nerd and father of three who recently moved to Alabama. He is an avid roleplayer and storyteller occasionally masquerading as a rational human.