This Woman Is Fighting With Her Mom And Brother Over Not Sharing The Rental Income She Makes As A Landlord, And I'm Curious What You Think

This Woman Is Fighting With Her Mom And Brother Over Not Sharing The Rental Income She Makes As A Landlord, And I'm Curious What You Think

Welcome to the latest episode of "Am I The Asshole" — where Reddit users share an anecdote and ask the internet if they're in the wrong.

Gordon Ramsay in a white chef's jacket, smiling with an open mouth, with the word "WRONG!" displayed at the bottom of the image

Recently, u/KeyAwareness3064 — let's call her Key — wanted to know if she's the A-hole for tearing down her family home and building a fourplex. Here's the full story:

"My mom and dad divorced when I was young. My brother loved the fact that our mom had no rules for him, so he went with her. I abided by the custody agreement because I had no choice in the matter. My mom loves us both, but she dotes on my brother like he farts perfume. My dad kept the house and had to buy my mom out. It was an old house built in 1953. It had old wiring and was really less than suitable for modern life. What it did have though was a huge yard that was great growing up."

A quaint single-story house with a red roof and pale exterior sits on a grassy lawn under a partly cloudy sky. Gardening tools and plants adorn the front porch
Pamspix / Getty Images

Key's father passed away, leaving everything equally for her and her brother. She told her brother they should tear down the house and turn it into a fourplex, since the neighborhood is zoned for it. But he just wanted the money, so she bought him out. He spent it on a car, vacation, and saved some of the money.

A man in a hat and sunglasses takes a selfie while smiling and making a peace sign on a rocky beach
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"I had the house demolished and built a fourplex. Each unit has three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a small yard, and a garage. I kept one unit for myself and rent each of the other units for $2,000/month. My mortgage is $1,800/month for the entire thing. So basically, I live free and bank $4,000/month. My brother is pissed that I didn't give him a unit to live in since it was his home, too. I actually offered to sell him one at cost, and he said no."

An apartment building with multiple balconies and surrounded by greenery
Swalls / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Key said she feels "lost" as she offered her brother a partnership in the beginning, bought him out as he wished, and then offered to sell him a unit. However, he thinks she "tricked him" because she gets "free money" every month.

A woman in a white blouse sits on a couch looking distressed with her hand on her head. A man in a denim shirt and brown pants sits in the background
Dragana991 / Getty Images

"Our mom said she would be cutting me out of her will and giving everything to him if I didn't give him a unit or the income from one. I agreed that was fair and said that I would no longer feel the need to contribute to her upkeep or retirement when the time came. I am being bombarded by the two of them, but I took the risks. I took on the debt. This is my money now," she concluded.

Two women sit with arms crossed, both looking pensive and upset, suggesting a disagreement or conflict
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As you can imagine, there were a lot of thoughts about this one! Most people said that Key is not the A-hole:

"NTA. You bought his half of the house, you paid him, he wanted the money. His share of the money was spent buying cars and going on holiday; your share of the money was spent investing. He's just pissed and bitter because he made bad choices, and you made better choices, and now he's acting like he is entitled to your good decisions because 'he's your brother.' Money really does bring out the bad in people."


"Let me get this straight: you bought out his share, put up your money to build this fourplex, he did not contribute a dime, yet wants you to give him an apartment rent-free? NTA. You owe him nothing. Sorry you have to put up with these people."


"You both got equal shares of the house. There was no trick. Your brother wanted the money, and he got it. He wanted to spend it on a car and a vacation, and that's what he did. Meanwhile, you chose to invest it (and probably a boatload more of your own money and labor) into something that could generate value in the long term. He didn't invest a cent into that nor lifted a finger to contribute, yet he feels entitled to the benefits? This isn't 'free' money; it's the profit from your investment, risk, and hard work."


Many commented on Key's mother, too:

"So, your brother and mother have demanded 25% of your investment.  Worse, mom is trying to blackmail you into giving 25% to him. NTA. Your brother is a greedy A-hole. Your mom enables that repugnant behavior."


"Let me guess: when you were kids, your brother would eat his treats quickly, then demand that you share yours with him. And your mother forced you to do it, because 'family.' Your answer to him and to your mother (who is enabling this crappy behavior) was perfect. Stick to those boundaries. And do not, under any circumstances, let either of them move into one of your units. They won't pay rent, and you won't be able to get them out."


"NTA. Your mom and golden child brother deserve each other. Congrats on the wise investment."


But quite a few people took issue with Key turning an old home into a fourplex:

"You kind of lost my sympathy once you outed yourself as a landlord. I can't stand when people tear down historic houses just to turn them into rentals, so I have to go with YTA."


"ESH. Your brother had every chance to get in on it and as such has no right to complain now, your mother is wrong for taking his side, and you are a landlord."


"NTA for refusing your brother a free unit. IMHO, YTA for being a landlord. You are profiting from the systems that prevent your tenants from owning their own homes, and you are, in your own words, charging $2k/month per unit when your mortgage is only $1,800.

These are newly built units and, as such, will not have significant maintenance issues for years. With decent investing, even just using CDs, you could charge $1k/unit/month, still make almost double your mortgage, and invest the rest in a fund to pay for future maintenance issues and/or cover when a unit is temporarily vacant. You didn't create these problems, but you're profiting from them."


Note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.