An act of generosity is always appreciated.
But things become a little more complicated when people expect something in return for their generosity.
Redditor pirosi6663 recently offered to help the cousin of a close friend, which came with a “quid pro quo” of sorts.
While he thought the solution was perfect, and solved the problems of both parties, others felt he was merely taking advantage of this cousin.
Having second thoughts about his arrangement, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), asking fellow Redditors:
“AITA for letting a woman live with me rent-free in exchange of her doing all of my housework?”
The OP revealed that, aside from a very busy schedule, he was fortunate to be given an extremely lucky living situation.
“I (28 M[ale]) am a STEM PhD student and due to this I’m busy working day and night.”
“I have a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment situated in a very nice area which was gifted to me by parents for graduating from college.”
“I use one of the bedrooms as an office and the other one as a guest room.”
Aware of his situation, a friend of the OP’s reached out to him to see if he could help out a family member.
“About 6 months ago, a good university friend reached out to me and said that he has this female cousin (19 F[emale]) who got kicked out by her parents for being caught dating a guy.”
“She was living with my buddy for a couple of months at the time but he had to ask her to leave because his girlfriend was starting to get upset.”
“And even though she was working, they’re renting and her contribution wasn’t enough so they had to pay out of pocket to cover her expenses and they just couldn’t do that anymore.”
“This man knows that I have my very own, pretty big apartment and asked me if I could please take her in for a period of time.”
“I told him that I’d first like to meet the girl and he said okay.”
The OP felt that he came up with a solution which would greatly benefit both the OP and his friend’s cousin.
“She seemed like a nice and respectable person but I couldn’t let a stranger move in with me for free and because I don’t need rent money I asked her if she was down to do all of my housework (cooking, cleaning, walking the dog, ironing my clothes, doing my laundry, going grocery shopping, paying the bills, etc.).”
“Ever since I started my PhD 2 years ago my place has been an absolute mess so this kind of arrangement would’ve been extremely useful.”
“She immediately gladly accepted, I gave her the guest bedroom and that was that.”
“Thanks to the fact that she doesn’t have to pay me a dime she’s able to save quite a bit of money while working which she’s really grateful for.”
“I also enjoy that now I can focus on my studies without having to worry about the state of my home.”
One person who was not a fan of this arrangement, however, was the OP’s sister.
“A few days ago, my older sister somehow found out about my situation, met with me and called me a bunch of names, saying that I’m basically using this vulnerable young girl as a free domestic worker and that she’s probably overworked because of this plus a bunch of other similar things.”
“I don’t agree with her opinions at all because we’re both gaining something out of our agreement.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
While some Redditors were left with questions and/or hesitations regarding the arrangement, generally everyone agreed that the OP seemed to be doing a generous favor for his friend’s cousin, and was therefore not the a**hole.
Many felt that as long as there were clear boundaries set between the OP and the cousin, particularly that he wasn’t overworking her, then there was nothing wrong with their arrangement
“I mean, as long as you don’t lord it over her or abuse the arrangement, then NTA.”
“As long as she has the time and resources to actually put forth to get back on her feet, then it seems reasonable”-Tokyolurv.
“You have an agreement with this woman: domestic labor for rent.”
“Doesn’t sound like she herself thinks she’s being exploited.”
“NTA but I’d recommend making a written agreement.”
“And be sure she gets days off.”-ParsimoniousSalad.
“She agreed to do this instead of paying you the rent, which is totally acceptable.”
“As long as you’re not bossing over her or taking advantage of this situation, it’s alright.”-drunken_munky.
“If you and your guest are happy with the arrangement then NTA.”
“Maybe just double check with her that she’s happy and not feeling over worked if she’s going all the household and going to work.”-samlom131718.
“My feeling is that there’s nothing wrong with this arrangement as long as long as she has reasonable free time and you’re not taking up full time hours or anything.”
“Beggars can’t be choosers and all that, but it would be irresponsible of you to have proposed and continue to support an arrangement that results in a poor overall quality of life for your flatmate.”-scarletteapot.
“Ok so let’s say she’s doing 5h of work a week.”
“Or even 10h.”
“It’s super unlikely a job a uni student would get would allow them to earn enough in 5-10h to pay rent.”
“Or, it’s less convenient.”
“If you aren’t asking for unreasonable domestic duties (ironing undies, vacuuming daily) then it sounds good.”- Zorgas.
“I mean – it depends on your expectation and requirements around those chores.”
“If she spends 8 hours a day cleaning your house every day and cooking gourmet meals from scratch?”
“Seems kind of harsh because that would imply her role is full-time and her labour is worth more than rent.”
“Alternatively if it’s more that you asked her to do this and she does it to a standard of her setting (eg the standard she would maintain if she lived alone) and you’re not creating unreasonable mess and eat the same food she would cook anyway – then it seems like a fair arrangement.”
“Also I presume you pay for your share of said groceries?”
“If so and it’s the latter situation where she lives rent free, keeps the house tidy to a standard she wants to live in and just adds a few more laundry loads and dinner for 2 instead of 1 – that seems entirely fine and a good deal for you both.”- semicoloncait.
“I think from the outside this could look pretty creepy. 28 year old male moves in vulnerable, desperate 19 year old girl as a live-in housemaid, cook and personal assistant….”
“And unkind people are going to assume there’s probably something sexual going on just because of the gender/age.”
“But your sister shouldn’t be assuming you’re an unkind person or a creep, surely your sister should know you and trust you?”
“At the end of the day I would ask how many hours per day does she ‘work’ for you.”
“At a reasonable wage for the work she does, how does this compare to the rent she would pay?”
“If she’s doing $2k worth of work per month and she could rent an apartment for $800 then you’re exploiting her and this turns into a YTA.”
“If she’s getting good value for her work in terms of rental and has enough savings to move out if she wants to, is happy with the situation and you’re not being creepy or making her uncomfortable in any way, then it seems like a favorable arrangement.”-AdrenalineAnxiety.
While others didn’t see anything wrong with their arrangement, finding the OP’s sister completely out of line.
“If you’d told her she could move in for free and then once in place, demanded that she cook clean and do everything else for you and put her in a position of being homeless or cleaning for you, then your sister might have a point.”
“But that’s not what happened.”
“This girl needed something – you needed something.”
“You worked out a mutually beneficial arrangement that works for both of you.”
“She’s happy, saving money and doing what she needs to do for her.”
“She has a safe roof over her head and is probably saving enough money as to where if this becomes something she’s unhappy with down the line, she’ll be able to move out and find something that works better for her.”
“She’s paying rent – but instead of using cash, she’s providing services.”
“Just make sure you treat her like that.”
“She’s not living rent free, she’s just paying a different way.”
“If you’re both happy with the arrangement then your sister needs to but out and mind her own business.”- glitchandgo.
“NTA, you gave her an opportunity that was probably REALLY nice considering how much rent is right now.”-_Sniffin_.
“She agreed to do chores in return for free board before moving in, which is an arrangement which benefits her.”
“Your sister hasn’t spoken to the girl and is making these wild accusations without all the facts.”
“So long as the girl is still comfortable with the arrangement then your sister needs to butt out.”-PFyre.
Indeed, on paper, keeping a home tidy in exchange for no rent would seem to be a highly enviable arrangement.
As long as the OP isn’t overwhelming this young woman with work, this arrangement does seem to benefit everyone.
But one does hope this young woman uses the money she’s saving to eventually get a place of her own.