Dear Amy: A friend has been living in my very small Los Angeles guesthouse for the past three months. She pays no rent and really offers nothing.
Fortunately, I am not there, as I am staying at a home in Ohio during the pandemic. However, at some point I will want to come back to L.A.
I'm not sure how to get her out. She went through a terrible breakup with her husband and he basically left her destitute.
She has few (if any) marketable employment skills, but she is studying to become a masseuse. However, that takes time, and classes have been canceled for the foreseeable future. Until she makes money, she has no place to go.
I don't feel like I can toss her out on the street, which is where she would end up.
Bottom line, my L.A. space is too small — it's a guesthouse. At some point, I will want it back. How can I get rid of her without adding to the homeless population and making a friend's life substantially worse than it already is?
Amy says: When your friend moved into your guesthouse, she was destitute and you — out of the goodness of your heart — offered housing. You don't mention any conversation between the two of you regarding length of stay, or the possibility of her paying rent.
Now, when she is quite literally trapped in this space (because of the pandemic), you seem to be worried about and resent her presence.
You should make a determination not to give in to that feeling. Your resentment will fuel more resentment and anxiety, and nobody needs that right now. Is she responsibly looking after your property during this time? Is she providing a human presence over your otherwise empty property, available to check on things and call for local help if your place is broken into or if the plumbing fails? If so, that has some value. You might consider yourself lucky that she is there.
In this moment, pat yourself on the back for your generosity, and focus on the positive.
Realistically, in order for her to emerge from the pandemic, continue her training and build some financial security — it could take up to a year.
Understand also that if you accept rent money, she legally becomes your tenant and getting her to leave might involve an eviction proceeding.
You might feel better if you grasp your own realistic expectations and communicate clearly with her that your ultimate goal is for you to have your guesthouse back — and for her to live independently. Lay out a general timeline to share with her and communicate clearly, so she knows what goals she must work toward. A written agreement, signed by both of you, might help to concentrate her efforts.
No more wedding
Dear Amy: I'm so sad. My fiancé and I have had to cancel our wedding. For the past two years, we have been planning and saving for our special day — in May — and now all of our plans have been scrapped. What do you think we should do?
Amy says:: I think you should take a breath — and then go ahead and get married, if possible, allowing others to witness the special moment through video conferencing.
When all of this is finally over, many of us will joyfully celebrate all of the milestones we missed. I hope you can plan a big and wonderful party to be held sometime in the not too distant future.
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