How much compassion for renters?


Hi everyone! I’ve lurked here for quite a while but have never posted before. Thank you in advance for any advice.

Two years ago i inherited my Grandmother’s house and rather than let it sit empty I rented to a family my husband knows.

We rented to them at a significantly lower price than any other house in this neighborhood because they have two children with serious health problems and had lost their own house. Out of compassion we have not said anything about late rent and unpaid deposits and such.

Even though i maintain their yard, we recently had a terrible storm and some of their property was damaged. I do have a liability clause in the lease and their was no negligence.

i won’t get into the details but he asked my husband to commit insurance fraud. Since he’s asked to commit a crime that would negatively effect us i don’t know how much compassion i should continue to show and if i should renew his lease next year.



It’s great that you have been patient, kind and generous to these people…but, you don’t have to renew their lease if you don’t feel comfortable. Just make sure you give them ample notice that you’re not renewing the lease. I think I’d be leary of having people rent from me, who asked me to commit a crime, frankly. I mean, never know if they could cause you to be liable for something that do on purpose, or something. Just my opinion–good luck to you!


When you say “negatively affect us”, do you mean by raising your insurance premiums or the possibility of legal/criminal action against you or something else?

I hate to judge someone based upon one action. I have to wonder about the renter’s motives to make such a request. Are they hard up for money and thinking that insurance fraud is a “victimless crime”? How stressed are they?

But you have to protect yourself as well. If the renter was willing to cheat a business, would he do the same to you? I can understand your unease with a situation which might go wrong in surprising ways.


This was my thought about it.


I am concerned about premiums and legal action as well as the lengths they may go to for money like doing something purposely.

Financially, they are hurting badly because of the childrens medical bills and the foreclosure on their house.

I know if i have this many doubts about the situation i should end it as soon as possible but i feel so horribly guilty about it and even lose sleep. I just cant stand the thought of how this will impact their children.

because of their money problems i know they cant afford anywhere else and their family is in another state.

I feel like im throwing sick toddlers out on the street.


They may very well be truly good people. The old saying goes; desperate times call for desperate measures. This may be the situation they feel they are in.

How many people could honestly say they’d let their children go without much needed medical care, food, shelter, or whatever, before they would make a desperate attempt to make or simply retain their money. You didn’t really say if the fraud would just repair something, or they would get cash. Does this repair need to be done?

I’ll tell you right now, I’d do anything for my children. If it were the difference between needed medical care for my children, and committing a crime, I’m gonna commit the crime every time.

I’m not talking about not being able to buy KFC every week. I’m talking true poverty. True lack of nourishment. Serious medical concerns that simply could not be left unattended.

How about you go and sit down with them and talk? Find out how serious their situation is. Might be if they see you as an ally, and not a potential threat to their well being, they might open up to you and you’ll have a much better idea if they are truly desperate, or selfish. Perhaps they qualify for government assistance and don’t know it. You could work together to get section 8 housing qualified. Then you could charge fair market value, guaranteed on time, and they will probably pay less. Some places won’t let you put current tenants ahead of others on a list, but some will if they are living in a newly qualified home.

Good luck.


“You didn’t really say if the fraud would just repair something, or they would get cash. Does this repair need to be done?”

The repairs do not need to be done as i’ve never seen them use these items. The damages are not even that serious as to warrant a claim. He wants us to file an exaggerated claim for the repairs and give him the cash instead of fixing his property.

I completely understand that anyone would do what they have to for their children which is why im so hesitant to do anything about the situation.

If they dont already know im their ally, they haven’t been paying much attention considering the leeway we’ve given them-late rent, not accessing them fees for lateness or bounced cheques per the lease and not paying their deposit.


Without having had any contact with these people, it’s hard to get a feel for their intentions.

You, however, have had a great deal of contact with them. I sense from your posts that you’ve already made up your mind of what you want to do, but are struggling with it emotionally. So you came here looking for validation.

Well, I’ll give it to you. Seriously. If you feel in your heart that they are just tying to scam the system, and you sound like you’ve done a lot in the way of charity towards them, then do what has to be done.


While I agree with your thoughts (bolded)…these renters asked the op’s husband to commit a crime for them, to partake of the fraudulent monies, I would imagine. And the OP and her husband would be in trouble, not the renters. I don’t think that no matter how destitute people are, they should resort to asking others to commit crimes for them. I could see being desperate, and putting my kids’ needs above doing what is right, if need be, but not asking someone else to get involved with the crime, too. Not saying resorting to criminal life to support one’s family is ever wise, just saying that I wouldn’t ask others to commit crimes ‘for’ my family and me. That is flat wrong.

I would probably try to help them as best as I could, to find maybe government and/or charity assistance, and possibly help them myself, but I would feel very concerned if they were asking me to commit a crime.:frowning:


I can see how since you have already helped them thus far, you feel a certain sense of obligation to continue the assistance. I wonder… is there anyway that rather then just not renewing their lease, you might not be able to work with them getting them in contact with Catholic Charities, or some other government program that would help them get housing that they need?

You are not a charity, and I don’t believe you should be obligated forever to help out this family. However, maybe there is a way that you could help them contact the right organization that can do this.???


All you have to say to them is, “No, I am not willing to make an insurance claim and then give you the cash instead of fixing the broken items.” And just leave it at that.

I don’t see a need to evict them, unless you were hoping that they would suddenly win a lottery or something, and start paying the rent on time. :wink:

(Is there any way that they could make up for the times they miss paying the rent through some kind of work that they could do for you?)


Obviously, you should NOT file a fraudulant insurance claim to help them pocket the money.

Under the terms of your lease and/or the laws of your state do you have an obligation to repair the damage or otherwise make them whole for the damage to their property from the storm? If so, the fact that you have been lax about enforcing your rights (timely payment of rent, payment of deposists etc.) that may not relieve you of your obligations.

If you do have such an obligation, then I would not see a (moral) problem with giving them the money that the repairs would cost. They can decide whether to use the money for the repairs or other more pressing needs. You have indicated that the damages are small enough that you would not file an insurance claim (maybe smaller than your deductible?)

It sounds like you have been generous and compassionate in your dealings with these tenants, but it also sounds like you are getting uncomfortable with the arrangement. Perhaps the incident with the storm has made more clear to you the risks and liabilities you are assuming by letting them live there for below-market rent while not enforcing the terms of your lease.

If you don’t feel comfortable continuing this arrangement, I don’t think you have any obligation to do so (other than what your lease may have created). Simply tell them that you have decided to do something else with the house when their lease expires. It would be compassionate to give them 2 or 3 months notice so they have ample time to make other arrangements.

You might also be able to help them with referrals to various social service agencies that could help them with rental assistance and other services during this difficult time. These government and private programs are there to help people in situations like this.

It is probably better to let the social workers do social work, rather than trying to do it yourself while also being their landlord.


I didn’t even think about contacting any charities. I guess because although i know about them i don’t know exactly what they help with so that is a great suggestion. I’m going to speak with my Priest next week about that option.

I know what I want to do but what i want is not always the right thing to do. I want to figure out what the right thing is. I’m just fearful that that their desperation for money may lead them to do other wrong things.

Thank you all for your suggestions.******


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