My Brother-In-Law Desires My Father’s Property

My Brother-In-Law Desires My Father’s Property

Dear Agatha,


Shortly before Christmas, my immediate elder sister and her husband were asked by their landlord to vacate his premises. They have been having issues with the landlord who thinks my sister and her family too noisy, dirty and diabolical.

He also accused my brother-in-law of refusing to cooperate with the other tenants in contributing to the maintenance of the compound. My brother-in-law insists that such contribution wasn’t part of his tenancy.

On several occasions I have had to part with money to meet up with his contributions or rent for the sake of peace. When his tenancy expired last year, the landlord gave him an extra year to look for alternative accommodation but for reasons best known to my brother-in-law and sister, they didn’t inform me of this development until they were thrown out of the property in the first week of December.

I got home from the office to meet my sister and her entire family as well as their property in my house and compound. From the look of things, they were in my house to stay at least until they were able to get another accommodation.

In my confusion I forgot to warn my wife of the scene awaiting her at home. She came in about 10 minutes after me. Women being what they are, she couldn’t mask her feelings, especially as one of my nieces chose that moment to break one of the flower vases on the table.

The reactions of my sister and her husband to the incident didn’t help matters in anyway, but I wasn’t about to let my wife disrespect them in my presence so I dragged her to the room and gave her the order to make them comfortable.

I didn’t give her any option because I was too tired for her drama. Maybe I didn’t handle it well, but given the situation, that was the best I could do.

By the time I woke up the next morning, my wife had already left the house for her shop with our two children and the house-help. When I went into the kitchen I immediately knew why. The whole place was in a complete mess with unwashed plates everywhere. My wife loves her space clean and spotless. She is the kind that never leaves dirty plates in her kitchen sink or allows her home to be untidy.

To forestall a show down between my sister and wife, I called my sister aside to plead with her not to turn my house into a dustbin. That was all I said when she and her husband started accusing my wife of not wanting them in her house. When I reminded them that my wife wasn’t even in and had nothing to do with what I said, my sister started packing the items they had unpacked telling anybody who cared to listen that my wife doesn’t want her around.

She even called our eldest sister who lives abroad to report the incident. Fortunately, our eldest sister knows her inside out and ordered her to behave with a warning not to destroy my home.

The last couple of weeks have been really challenging. I hardly see my family, as my wife and kids leave very early and come back late in the night. She sends my food through the house-help to my office.

Meanwhile, my sister and her husband have taken over the house so much so, I returned one day to see the pictures of her and her husband on my living room wall.

The truth is: I cannot cope with her and her husband’s attitude anymore. To help minimize the negative effects of their stay in house, I got them a two bedroom accommodation but my sister and her husband turned it down on the grounds that it was too small for them. Her husband, who contributed nothing to the rent, said he would prefer I got them a bigger apartment to enable him and his wife begin a business at home.

When I called my eldest sister, she told me to drive them away from my house before it’s too late. It was from her, I got to know she sent them money immediately the incident happened to find another accommodation. She said, she didn’t inform me because she thought my sister and her husband were responsible.

Meanwhile, my wife has given an ultimatum to either ask them to leave her home or she would not bother to come back home again.

My wife is a very patient person but I know what she can do, if provoked. Her siblings and parents are all abroad so she can easily decide to relocate with my children. I honestly feel like leaving the house for my sister and her family if it would mean peace for my wife and children.

I don’t know what to do. We are only three in the family. Our parents are dead. She has always been the problem in the family and her husband isn’t helping matters at all. The man is even asking me to volunteer our parents’ house as an alternative since the place is empty.

Our eldest sister is livid with anger but if that would remove them from my house, shouldn’t I oblige him?

Please help me, Agatha.


Dear Oluwagbemiga,

If you come to the comprehension that your parents who built the house in question are both dead, you will realize that everything about life is vanity. We brought nothing to this world and would also leave with nothing.

Honestly, if that would give you peace as well as your family back, allow them have it since nobody is staying there anyway.

You and your eldest sister may not be disposed towards the idea or the way and manner your immediate elder sister and her husband went about the process of forcing the house out of your possession; be rest assured God knows everything. Many a time, those who think they are smarter than others often end up being the victims of their own cunny way.

Going by what I can deduce from your email, this matter is more multifaceted and deeper than what you think it is. It is part of a bigger plan by your brother-in-law to claim what he thinks is his wife’s right. He deliberately allowed himself to be kicked out, knowing that if he comes to your house with his family and belongings, you would have no choice but to eventually bargain with him.

This is the reason you must apply good wisdom to this issue. Your eldest sister isn’t in the country so can only imagine the stress you are under. Doubtless she has a right to be very upset at the development, but only those alive bother about the attitude of your brother-in-law.

With the way he has acted as well as the disposition of your own sister, do you think this is still a simple matter of them not having accommodation? Certainly not, it has gone beyond that. If you read the handwriting on the wall well, you will know you have to tread softly to avert an unknown danger lurking in the dark.

Your sister and her husband appear too desperate for comfort. If this weren’t something they had planned, they would have gladly accepted your offer of the two-bedroom flat. That they turned it down on the excuse of being too small for their needs and your brother-in-law demanding you allow them move into  your late parents’ house, should sound the alarm of an ulterior plan, should you fail to play ball. I’m not saying they are capable of hurting you, but it’s very important you apply wisdom in this matter.

When things become this tense and complicated in one’s family, the best option is to give in to whatever is being demanded for, as long as it is within one’s capability to do so.

Besides, allowing them have your parents’ house will also give you the peace in your home. Your wife and children will be able to return peacefully.

As it is, you are suffering in all fronts. And if care isn’t taken your marriage may go down the drain, especially as your wife who in all fairness has behaved reasonably so far may get tired of living like a refugee in her home and decide to make good her threat.

Ask yourself this question: is your parents’ house worth sacrificing your own marriage and happiness for? Aren’t your wife and children more important than anything else in the world?

That house is one of the things that you will leave behind one day just as your parents did. The house is empty because your dream for your family is different from that of your late parents; just as your children’s will one day be different from yours. So, if your sister and husband see that house as fulfilling their dreams, let them have it.

The fact that you aren’t living in that house underscores your comfort. Rather than being angry at them, give God all the glory for His endless mercies to you.

Just imagine for a second what you would have done with them if you weren’t comfortable on your own?

At least you now know your sister and her family better. I’m sure the lessons you have learnt from this episode will remain evergreen.

By giving them that house you make it impossible for them to make demands on you and your eldest sister forever. It is a very small price to pay for your freedom from them.

 Good luck.

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