C6 - Having Family or Whānau Stay with You
If you are in rental accommodation, there may be restrictions on the
number of people who can live there, and so you may not be
able to have family or whānau live with you.
When you are thinking about sharing your home with one or more family members, consider what your relationship is like with them now or how it has been in recent years. If you
have had a difficult or strained relationship, inviting them to share your home with you is unlikely to go well unless both parties put the effort in to change that relationship.
Make sure everyone involved gets a chance to share their feelings about the proposed living arrangement, including any children who are involved. This should happen before a final
decision is made so that all involved feel that their opinions are being considered.
When considering this option, think about what sort of additional agreements you might need so that everyone is on the same page about what they will be doing as a family on a
day-to-day basis (eg, eating together, making joint financial decisions, sharing cleaning and other chores).
Here are some questions to consider:
- Is your home and the area you live in suitable for your family member(s)?
- Is everyone happy to make the necessary compromises about space?
- Do you and your family member(s) have the same expectations of family life?
- How well do you get on with your family member(s)?
- What will happen if plans don't work out?
Also, think about your own financial situation. How will your family contribute to the expenses of running the home? What are your expectations about their financial contribution?
Don't underestimate how hard it might be for family members who are giving up their own home to come and live with you, regardless of the circumstances. This will be a major change
for everyone, so some kindness, patience and compromise will be needed from all.
- When you live with family or whānau, you get to spend more time with them than might otherwise be possible.
- Family members may be able to help you connect with other relatives that they have a closer relationship with. Conversely, you might be able to help them connect with
relatives that you are closer to.
- You can offer each other more support when you are living together.
- You might be able to share living expenses to reduce everyone's costs.
- You will have to make some changes to your lifestyle, including having less time to yourself. Family often move in together to spend more time with each other, so be prepared
for less time to yourself as you make them welcome and make time for them.
- If you are renting your home, you may not be allowed to have someone live with you under your tenancy agreement.
- Having family live with you might affect any benefits, pension or care services you are receiving, such as the living alone allowance, Accommodation Supplement or in-home help
What do I need in order to take this option?
- It will take time and patience on everyone's part to learn to live with family, as a family again. Keep communicating with one another, as you figure out how to have family
relationships and live in a shared, family space.
- You will need to research whether having family live with you will affect your insurance, any benefits or pension you receive or any rates rebates and other discounts you
- Do not put up with any abuse or disrespect from a family member you've invited into your home. You have the right to request that someone leave your home if they are being
abusive, if they are not making an arranged financial contribution or simply because the arrangement is not working for you.
- You may want to negotiate with family members the best ways for everyone to resolve any issues that arise between you.
Could this option limit my future choices?
Be clear with family who are sharing your home that you retain the right to decide on any future housing arrangement that is good for you.
For more information
- Your council for rates rebate information
- Work and Income for how this option could affect any benefit you may receive
- Your insurance company, to find out whether having someone share your home has any insurance implications
- Senior Services (0800 552002) or Veteran's Pension Centre (0800 650656) for information about how sharing your home with family could affect your pension.