Mother in Law Wants to Move into a Potential Granny Flat to Be Built at Our Place

I don’t know if she’s serious but she has asked the question. She said she will retire soon and can’t afford to live alone. She said the reason she has no savings was because she was a single mother?

I hate this lady. What is my obligation? Or what can I say?


  • +32 votes

    Ask your misses brother . Its your life mate do what you want .

    • +2 votes

      She’s very sensitive about her mother.

        • +114 votes

          Yeah as a man you definitely don't get a say about who lives in the granny flat you build in your own house.

          Definitely let the fear of a temper tantrum from the missus keep you from expressing your thoughts in your own house.

      • +7 votes

        2 thing can happen here,
        1 can say no and organise cheap rental property may be and find house mate 2 pensions will cover enough.
        2. You keep pension and provide accomodation and food on table and medical exp as part of living agreement, i bat mother in law will say no as they like to keep pension to spend on pokies 😂. Either way when she will old she will end up your house eventually like I got my mother in law last 10 years living with me and she was migrant so not even eligible for pension yet.

      • +23 votes

        Commmunication is key mate. I don't think you should be asking an internet forum full of bargain hunters for marriage advice.

        Talk to your partner and work out a resolution. You both will need to compromise, but you won't know till you talk.

    • +2 votes

      What's her brother go to do with it, and how do you know she has one?

  • +78 votes


  • +39 votes

    No, why can’t she move into someone’s else’s granny flat?
    You will end up like “Everyone loves Raymond”

    • +2 votes

      Will she able to afford a granny flat that’s not free on the pension?

      • +14 votes

        If she's got no money or assets then she can get $933.40 a fortnight.

        I think most states have subsidised housing options too.

        She should pretty easily be able to cover the essentials (rent, utilities, transport, food) on that.

        • +6 votes

          $500 a week is not a lot of money in Syd, or Melb no matter what anybody says.

          • +5 votes

            @IHatePeople: No, it's not a lot of money. But I think most states have subsidised housing options too. And she should pretty easily be able to cover the essentials (rent, utilities, transport, food) on that.

            • +7 votes

              @DonWilson: What is the wait time for public housing? It isn't 6 months or 12 months or even 15 months.
              Try closer to 4 years.
              In reality its not an option for most people (and that is basically deliberate policy from the Gov, hence why they keep making less and less housing, and not replacing public housing the sell off).

          • +29 votes

            @IHatePeople: Thats why you have a lifetime to prepare for this. The ones who go out every weekend blowing their entire paycheck on smokes and alcohol are the ones who cry poor at retirement #FairGomate #AussieBattler

            • +9 votes


              Thats why you have a lifetime to prepare for this.

              When was compulsory Super introduced? And at what rate? 3%? & What is the current rate?
              And before that what did the Government say and do to woman? Fired them for getting married/pregnant?
              Was that almost official Gov policy? Yes or No?
              Certain age groups did Not have a whole life time to prepare for this.
              In fact you could argue that some were forced not to be able to prepare for it.


              Yeah very fair.

              • +16 votes

                @IHatePeople: Mandatory super or not, everyone has a life time to prepare for retirement.
                Sure it's hard to some and not so much to some others.
                Expecting government to start paying age pension, provide a subsidised house etc etc soon after/immediately after retirement is a bit rich and will bankrupt the younger generations.
                If one in reasonable health can't pay for their own expenses for at least a few years after retirement are not ready for it.

                Yes we pay taxes when we work and you get a breakdown of where it's spent from ato. Imo it's fair game.

              • +3 votes

                @IHatePeople: The irony of someone with a user name of I hate people actually dating something in support of people is not lost on me

              • +4 votes

                @IHatePeople: What? So, just because there was no or low super it's a legitimate excuse to have no savings in retirement? Because the government didn't make you save? smh

            • +4 votes

              @DiscoJango: Do you have any idea how hard it is for a single mother? While some may fit the characterisation you have, the majority pay for childcare. After childcare, they barely have any paycheck left for day to day let alone save for retirement or old age. Gov payments for childcare are a joke and if you are shift worker like super markets, retail, gas stations etc. etc. These costs are ridiculously high for after hour childcare. Centrelink only covers a portion.


                @FaysalM: p.s. Just to clarify I do not think mother in law in granny is a good idea tho. There are govt options or share options available, or if you guys are really pressed for it, maybe look into retirement living. Yes it will cost a bit, but the long term appreciation of the wife and less headaches may be worth it.


                @FaysalM: But isn't the wife 30 or so now? Childcare is not a good excuse in this particular situation.

          • +1 vote

            @IHatePeople: Then unfortunately you can't live in Sydney or Melbourne. They would need to find a cheaper place to live.

          • +4 votes

            @IHatePeople: Agree - it's really at this point people need to consider how much they want to live in our most expensive capitals (or capitals at all).

            You can rent a nice, centrally located walk to everything 3 bedroom house with 4 car garage in a major regional for $300-350pw. Little 2 bedroom villas only $150-200pw. Bachelor style studios in Cairns for $100pw in a complex with a pool etc (nothing flash, 80's/90's style, but nice enough).

            You only need to live in Melb/Syd for certain types of high income jobs. If you are retired this doesn't matter.

            I would be looking into Granny Flat / Cabin style accommodation for her somewhere else (brother in law, up in warm QLD somewhere, try to sell that idea).

            • +2 votes

              @domcc1: i would 100% be down to retire in an 80's style bachelor pad in QLD!


              @domcc1: wouldnt you want to live close to decent healthcare facilities if you retired, in which case you are back to the city


                @juki: No - you can easily find world class medical facilities in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Ballarat, Bendigo, Newcastle, Coffs Harbour, Traralgon, Geelong, etc etc.

                Sure you might need to go to Melbourne or Sydney for some obscure <2% thing like a neurosurgeon but it's not a reason to move in the city IMO.


                  @domcc1: those regional places might have less means though, or just very dated facilities.

                  Australian healthcare statistics do seem to say its an issue for people in remote areas

                  coming from a rural place in europe, hmm, mentalities can also be a lot smaller and dated…

            • +1 vote

              @domcc1: What's a high income job in your view?


                @boostpak: In this context I would say north of 150k or so.

                It's obviously a personal opinion and will depend on where you are at in life, lifestyle and so on.

                I think this amount is about right because if you can earn 150k in Syd or Melb you should be able to earn 120-130k (depending on your profession and experience) in any smaller capital or major regional center and be much happier - you'd enjoy much cheaper house prices (less traffic, better air quality, less stress, etc etc).

    • +45 votes

      I think this is what Meatloaf meant when he sang "I would do anything for love but I won't do that"

      And if OP agrees to do it, in a few years time it'll be "I can see paradise by the dashboard lights"

  • +29 votes

    can’t afford to live alone

    Tell her to get some housemates to share the cost.

    • +2 votes

      Thanks that’s a good idea

      • +12 votes

        You can add in ”they will be your friends, if anything happens there will always be someone there”

      • +6 votes

        I'm in the same boat, I hate my MIL. She stayed with us for 3 weeks before we had our 1st kid. I was prepared to kick her out after 5 days holy crap. Had a few screaming matches, shes got major problems.

        If I was in the same boat, I'd suggest this. Hell I'd even suggest giving her a monthly $$ just to get her away from us.
        Main reason why we moved to Victoria from WA haha

  • +1 vote

    These are questions only your partner can answer.

    • +1 vote

      It’s a sensitive topic and I want to make sure I have rights to say no.

      • +122 votes

        Of course you have the right to say no. Your partner also has the right to leave you after you say no.

        • +1 vote

          I don’t want it to get to that point.

          • +13 votes

            @Tomstars241: My point is we don't you or your partner so how can we say? You need to speak to them, tell them how you feel and work from there.


            @Tomstars241: If mother not healthy can not walk or something then I understand it's your duty to care of any parents it's could be your too. If she is healthy then is different story and always can help find house mate and rental property near by. My mother in law trick me 10 years ago lol fact was she is lazy all day watching tv wake up tv I cook wife clean like hotel life but lucky me she has two children so we share custody few days her son house few days with me.


          His partner can go live with mum for the rest of her life.

      • +3 votes

        Are you and your partner of the same ethnic background? Probably not?

        They key with a relationship is to build trust and understanding over a long time. Does your partner know your feelings towards her mother? It would be much easier to say no if you had managed her expectations over a long time.

      • +9 votes

        Sensitive or not, you need to start expressing your feelings to your partner. In fact, I'd suggest if you can't talk openly with her about it, then you've probably got bigger issues than just this.

        Mine let me know tonight that her whole family wants to visit in one hit and she already assumed I wouldn't be happy about it. She was correct, I am not thrilled at the thought of all of them in one hit, even though it's sort of to be expected with an Asian missus. Pretty sure she knows what the answer is if it was a question of the in-laws moving in permanently….

  • +23 votes

    You have zero obligation to her, but you do have an obligation to you and your partner's privacy and comfort. Say no. I also have no clue what you mean by it being 'sensitive', if you can't have a frank and open conversation with the person you married then maybe you shouldn't have gotten married.

  • +8 votes

    I don't know where you live but apparently granny flats arent always that easy as well, I have a feeling in some places its become largely regulated because people keep thinking "hay I'll build a granny flat in my backyard and make free passive income through rent". I think you need to check for council approval, power, water, how its going to be treated with new addresses, internet cabling, fire emergency access etc. Or else you may end up sharing a lot of these costs which may mean further having to deal with your mother in law. I'm just kind of wondering whether the council will shoot down the idea and that way you're in the clear because its not your fault.

    Not a lawyer but of course I'd imagine you have no legal obligation, but it may end up being you'll have to talk this through, sensitive topic or not.

    • +11 votes

      I'm just kind of wondering whether the council will shoot down the idea and that way you're in the clear because its not your fault.

      Good plan. OP ask your council to approve a rusty shack with a toilet that flushes out onto the neighbours garden. Roof made from a recycled guillotine.

      You'll have "tried your best" and realised that the fatcat developers have made it impossible for a regular bloke to afford to build something for themselves.

      • +2 votes

        Self sabotage is an option. Ask an architect to come up with plans than you know will be rejected.


          Sadly for OP, you don't need council approval for a granny flat in a lot of jurisdictions.


            @zeggie: I would double check your area before starting but in saying that the Government as pushed the councils to make it easy as it then doesn't put pressure on them to house the elderly as it won't cost the government as much money if they had to going into care.


              @knr21: Of course. Everyone should look up the relevant planning scheme for their area. That being said in VIC, in nearly all residential zones, as long as it has power, water and waste, then you don't need a permit for the granny flat.

      • +1 vote

        If you don't want to do something, do it so badly you aren't asked again.

        Now you know why admin workers do such a bad job so much of the time.

  • +7 votes

    Give the MIL the folllowing options.

    1) Un-Retire and subscribe to Ozbargain.
    2) Share a house with others whilst on Age Pension.
    3) Public Housing.
    4) Sell posessions.
    5) Sell herself.
    6) Tinder.

  • +67 votes

    When you have the discussion with your wife, can you livestream it on Twitch? 100% would watch.

  • +6 votes

    Tell her that there is no need for Granny Flat. Aren't you building a two storey house?

  • +9 votes

    living with your mother in law for the rest of your life. nice!

  • +63 votes

    "She said the reason she has no savings was because she was a single mother."
    This sounds like she is trying to use emotional blackmail on your wife (she's 'obligated' to help her mother as her mother 'sacrificed' so much in you wife's upbringing) and, by association, you.

    Be wary of someone who is so blatantly manipulative.

    Check with your council to see if they would allow a granny flat on your property. If they say no, you have a no fault, 'get out of jail free' card on this. If they say yes, find out about the fees and extra costs that you 'can't afford'.

    • +7 votes

      Woow never thought of it like this.

      In doing that it’s like I’m ok with it and saying you can have the spare room then.


        You don't have to tell either of them you are asking the council… Only tell them if things get more serious and the council said you are not allowed. At least that way you know where you stand and as it may be a moot issue.

  • Top