General Question

snowberry's avatar

How do I get my son to start paying the rent on his storage unit?

Asked by snowberry (27455points) November 27th, 2010

My son is extremely irresponsible with money. His bro.ther in law was letting him store his stuff in the garage. When he moved, he informed my son he’d have to move it. My son did nothing, so son in law put it all in a storage unit. He’s been paying for it at $200 a month. Son in law wants to stop the financial bleeding and he cannot afford to pay the rent on the unit anymore.

What’s the best course of action for son in law?

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33 Answers

Rarebear's avatar

You can’t. It’s his stuff, let him deal with the consequences of not paying.

FutureMemory's avatar

Why is ‘lawsuit’ one of your topics? Someone is about to get sued?

Jeruba's avatar

Son did not decide to put it in a storage unit. I don’t see that he is responsible for that obligation.

This is between the two of them. Son-in-law can let son know that the rent is paid through a certain date and that he can either take over the rent, move his stuff out, or let it get disposed of by the storage service. How does this involve you?

mrentropy's avatar

The brother-in-law should just go through the stuff and keep what he wants and dispose of the rest. Unfortunately, a storage unit is kind of like an apartment where if it’s not in the same condition it was in when rented then things get messy with extra fees and stuff. So if this guy wants to terminate the rental the best way possible, he needs to get rid of the stuff in there.

Your son didn’t seem to care when it had to be moved out of the garage so I wouldn’t even bother telling him about it.

In a way, it was nice of the brother-in-law to try and save this, but the only thing he’s done is incurred an extra burden on himself.

JLeslie's avatar

I pretty much agree with @Jeruba.

FutureMemory's avatar

The son-in-law did him a favor by letting him store it in his garage, and then another favor putting it all in the storage facility for him once he moved.

Your son needs a wake up call. Is he recently out of the house? He’s acting like an ass, if I may be so bold.

JLeslie's avatar

Where does your son live?

snowberry's avatar

According to the TV judges, if you are harboring someone’s stuff, you are personally responsible for it. I’m thinking of telling son in law to take my son to small claims court, see if he can get the court to make son pay him back, and I want my son in law to not be held liable for loss or theft.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry I don’t know the law, but honestly I don’t think the son-in-law should recoup any money. The SIL chose to put the stuff in storage.

mrentropy's avatar

Right. The kid was given fair warning when the stuff is in the garage. If I were a judge I would declare it abandoned. So I don’t think the brother-in-law is due any money since there was no agreement to hold the stuff after the garage. Technically, it now belongs to the brother-in-law to do with as he sees fit.

Kardamom's avatar

I think the son in law should give your son fair warning of a month and say that he can either remove the stuff himself, start paying for the storage unit, or the brother in law will have a big garage sale and keep the money for himself. The stuff technically belongs to the brother in law because it’s in his unit and he pays for it and your son never made any moves, or wrote out any kind of paperwork or contract saying that the stuff was his or what kind of arrangement he was going to make. The son in law is definintely doing a huge favor for your son, one that will probably forever go un-recognized and un-thanked.

JLeslie's avatar

Although, if your son wants his stuff, he has to go and get it, or start paying. If he does want his stuff, it would be nice if he paid back his BIL. I think your BIL should send your son a certified letter stating he will no longer be paying the storage facility, and if he wants the items he has until such and such date to recover anything he wants, the rest will be disposed of.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I agree with JLeslie. Have SIL send your son a certified letter, give him 30 days, then donate it to the Goodwill. “Not to decide is to decide.” If your son wanted the stuff, he would have retreived it when your SIL moved. He seems to be living just fine without all of his crap.

john65pennington's avatar

This is strictly a civil matter and an attorney should be contacted for the right moves in that particular state.

jlelandg's avatar

@Jeruba is money on this thread.

UScitizen's avatar

You asked this question about two decades too late. He needed to learn responsibility through out life. Let him learn the hard way, now.

jca's avatar

Another option is the son in law could send your son a letter, give him a deadline and let him know the stuff will be brought to his residence. Then tye SIL could take the stuff out and drop it where your son lives (i hope not at your house) and let your son deal with it. This way it’s not like he stole it or sold it. I am wondering why the SIL took on this burden in the first place. your son sounds like he needs a wake up call, and i think everyone handling his business for him is not helpful in the long run.

Contacting a lawyer is a wonderful idea but will probably cost some money. Your son could also say he never asked for the stuff to be put in storage, so while it was very generous of the SIL to do so, nobody gave him permission to or agreed to pay this monthly fee.

jca's avatar

If you wish, please post an update as to the outcome.

The Update Lady

snowberry's avatar

I agree 100% that we messed up when he was little. Hubby was lamenting that last night. See, every time son does something bone headed, daughter calls me and says, “Do something!” Well, I can’t do something because he won’t listen to us. But I can suggest to SIL what his options are.

Thanks everyone for your responses.

BarnacleBill's avatar

About the only thing you can do at this point is to stop bailing him out and let him deal with the consequences of his own decisions. Hand him responsibility for his life. If people keep fixing his boneheadedness, he will never change because there’s no reason to.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry Doing nothing, not “helping” him, is doing something. It will teach him a lesson. That is if he even cares about his stuff. If he doesn’t care about the things in storage anymore, he will probably not learn this time around, he simply let everyone else care about his things more than he does himself. Does he want his things back? Is your son worried at all about the situation? Or, is it just your SIL, you, and your daughter agonizing? Is there any chance your son is addicted to drugs or alcohol? This is not just a money issue, this is a consideration issue. His lack of consideration for others.

Try not to beat yourself up over analysing how you raised him. I am guessing you and your husband are responsible with money and obligations, and for whatever reason your son did not catch on, but he still can, if he has a conscience. Money is more than math, and planning for the future, it is about treating others as you would want to be treated.

snowberry's avatar

Naw, I’m not beating myself up, but hubby’s feeling pretty bad about it (that’s an improvement because before he was in denial… :) I cleaned up my act about 15 years ago, and I have done everything I can to help my son. I have also told him that now it’s his responsibility to “own his stuff”.

According to many TV judges, if you are storing things for someone, you have certain responsibilities and if you fail to heed them, you can be held liable. My main concern is that I’d like to give sound advice to SIL. I don’t care if son gets his things back.

As for your question is my son on drugs, nope. He doesn’t use drugs, but instead he’s a materialistic junkie. I have been informed that he just went out and bought a new washer and dryer. How out of touch is that???

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think the best way for your SIL to get rid of the liability he took on by continuing to store the stuff is to give your son notice in writing (certified letter would be best so he can prove he got it) with a specific date and time he will stop paying on the storage unit. In the letter, he needs to be very specific, stating something along the lines of “I will no longer continue paying for the storage unit on March 1, 2011 (for example). If you want to get your stuff out of the storage unit, I will be available the weekend before hand to allow you access to the unit to get your stuff. If I do not hear from you by February 25th, 2011 (for example), you are thereby giving me permission to close the storage unit and get rid of your stuff as I see fit.”

That way it shows a specific timeline for the unit to be closed, a timeframe when your son can get his stuff if he wants to, and also something that says what will happen if your son does not respond (that way he can’t say he didn’t know).

If your SIL feels the need to get a lawyer to look over the letter to make sure he is doing what he needs to do to get rid of the liability he picked up by keeping the stuff, that’s his choice. Honestly though, I think it’s best if you let the two of them handle it.

snowberry's avatar

@Seaofclouds Point taken. It is my intention to give this information to my daughter (his ex) who called complaining, and let them handle it from there, because as I said before, son doesn’t listen to me.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry I just saw on Judge Judy a granddaughter who left her broken down car at her grandpas for months. He had it towed eventually, and she tried to sue him for the price ofthe car, because she no longer had the car, obviously. At first he had allowed her to leave the car there for storage, but then as time dragged on her warned her she needs to pick up. The granddaughter had the chutzpah to ask for more than she paid for the car, because she had a loan on it, and with interest she owed more. Well, Judge Judy found out she stopped paying her obligation on the loan once the car broke down, and thought the girl was ridiculous for suing her grandfather, and it showed the girl had no concept of financial responsibility. I think a judge would figure out your son is thinking about these things wrong. The spirit of the law you cite in bold writing might have to do with when you are borrowing someone’s items, you have an obligation to treat those things with care and generally as you would your own. Somegimes legal language can be picked apart or applied to situations that the law was not intendedand it is up to a judge to interpret the goals the law was written with. Still, I don’t know for sure how the law really works, but is your son or SIL actually going to sue?

And, what does you cleaned up your act mean?

snowberry's avatar

@JLeslie we had first children when we were both messed up in priorities and depression. Hubby tended toward abuse, and in general life was hard on all of us. Hubby and I got some help, and turned around, but that was after son grew up. Son still carries the baggage of his past.

So appreciate your comments. I’m going to e-mail my daughter regarding the options, and she can tell her ex.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry I see. I’m sure it is difficult for you, to see your son not get his act together so to speak. I guess he is on his own path to overcome these things. I did not realize the daughter you mentioned was your SIL’s wife, I didn’t connect it up before.

snowberry's avatar

Sorry. When trying to format the question, I tried to simplify it. Her being my son in law’s ex was not essential to the story. Thank you for being sensitive. It’s nice to have folks like you here.

Crossroadsgrl's avatar


quit paying
Tough Love

It’s very important to have this when needed. Good luck following through.You’re done paying…what a great service you’re doing your child :)

Crossroadsgrl's avatar

It’s okay if he fails for awhile….really.

Just step back and let him. He’ll amaze you :))

snowberry's avatar

UPDATE. Son is now paying his portion of the storage unit. I hate it when family calls my husband, and he makes me responsible for it. So the show’s over, and the drama is not mine any more. Yaaay.

JLeslie's avatar

How nice of you to let us know. I’m glad it worked out.

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