‘I’m moving into my boyfriend’s flat and he wants to charge me rent – should I pay?’
Q.: I’m moving in with my boyfriend, who owns his own flat, and he has suggested I pay him rent. I’m renting a room in a flat at the moment, and I’ll be paying a bit less when I live with my boyfriend than I pay at the moment, so will have a bit more money each month. We’ll then split the bills 50:50. However, my friends have said that he is profiting off me, as my money will go towards paying off his mortgage. He owns a one-bedroom flat, so it’s not like he was going to rent a room to another person. I can’t afford to buy into his place as I have no savings, and I think it’s a bit soon for that level of commitment anyway. But as he is going to make money off my living there, should I object and ask to pay less? Obviously this is a bit of a tricky topic to bring up.
A.: Moving in together means that a certain amount of your finances will become entwined, even if it’s just splitting bills or working out how you pay for the weekly food shop. However, you are starting from a bit of an imbalance here, in that he is a property owner and you have no savings. On the one hand, which you acknowledge, your monthly outgoings will be reduced by moving in with him, as will his, and so everyone wins out of the move. However, I suspect other readers will find it ridiculous that he is charging you money and profiting from you moving in. He will clearly be significantly better off by having you live there, which won’t sit right with some. If the arrangement continues and then you break up, you could effectively spend years helping to pay off his mortgage and end up with nothing to show for it. One solution is to suggest just splitting the monthly costs down the middle. However, this will tip the balance dramatically in your favour, as you will not have any rent to pay. Another suggestion could be that you pay the suggested rent, but that money (after any costs) goes into a pot for both of you to use, or ring-fenced money so that should you break up, you have some savings to leave with. This will all be immaterial if you stay together for the long-haul, but you’re wise to be concerned about it at this stage.
I left quite a stressful job a few months ago and have just discovered I’ve been overpaid for holiday I didn’t take.
Q.: I didn’t take much time off while employed on account of the lack of staff and abundance of work, and even when I did manage a day of holiday here and there, I ended up working anyway. Despite the holiday build-up, I’m certain the firm has calculated it wrong and I’ve been paid too much. I’ve heard nothing from the company and who knows if it will spot the mistake. I’m in a bit of a dilemma as I don’t know whether I should pay it back. If the company did ask for it back I can’t really pretend I didn’t know about it. Do I have to pay it back and should I?
A.: I expect it is highly unlikely that the employer will firstly notice their mistake and secondly seek to unravel it. Unless the error runs into thousands of pounds it simply isn’t worth their time chasing a former employee for a repayment and certainly not dragging someone through the courts. My advice: keep hold of the cash for 12 months. After that, if you’ve not heard from them, you never will. But let them be the ones to do the chasing, it’s their error.