“I had a property which was given to me by my parents. My sister in-law rented it for two years. She renovated it to use it for her business. Before the two years ended, I indicated I would like to use the place when her rent expires, only for her to turn it into a huge fight. She has insisted that she will not move out of the place and my husband isn’t helping matters as he is not willing to get involved in the issue. Was it wrong for me to have done business with an in-law as I take her as a relative too?” 32-year-old, Lucy Akpan narrated.
Most times many term in-laws as outlaws but in some instances some people see no difference between their in-laws and their blood relatives and treat all of them the same way.
There have also been insinuations that business can never be done with relatives or even in-laws as it always back fires. Womanhood intends to find out how true this is.
Cynthia Kalu, a 32-year-old lawyer opines that Lucy is the genesis of her problem as she agrees that business cannot be done with family or in-laws. “The day she decided to rent out her property to her in-law was the day she started trouble for herself. She’s somewhat a family member and there are things you just don’t do with a family member, this is one of them,” she stated. “You just can’t wake up after two years and tell your tenant that you want to use the property you rented out to them, she has gotten used to the property and has attracted customers over the last two years, so it will be hard for her to relocate, because for sure she will lose a lot of customers if not all.
Kanu added that: “A businessman/woman understands the importance of location in business, so relocating a business after just two years will not be an easy one for her/him, especially when she is an in-law, she will surely not take it lightly. I think you should have a heart-to-heart talk with her, so both of you can agree on how many months will be enough for her to relocate her business, don’t make it an instant eviction, because it won’t work.”
Thirty-seven-year-old doctor, Talatu Ibrahim, believes that involving family members or even in-laws in business should never be encouraged. “Involving family members in any serious business is a no, especially in-laws. You can’t win their love by being good and hurting yourself because when it’s time for you to please yourself, people will get hurt and read meanings into it. This is exactly what is happening to the lady in question now,” she said.
“Did she think by renting out the place to her in-law for two years will win her over? Now she is in for real trouble. Her in-law took advantage to renovate the place because she was guaranteed a place forever, since she never thought you would ever ask her to leave the place,” Talatu stressed.
Damilola Laminde, a 33-year-old lawyer, says: “She made a mistake in the first place by renting it to her in-law and then allowed renovation. The bottom line is that it’s her property and it doesn’t matter who rented it or who renovated. What’s yours is yours. However, she has to repay her in-law what she spent on the renovation in other to reclaim the property. From a legal point of view you can give her a ‘Quit Notice’. Get a good lawyer as it’s best to do it the proper and legal way since she doesn’t want to understand. Please, bear in mind that you have to repay her for her loss, because he who comes to equity must come with clean hands.”
Thirty-five-year-old businesswoman, Ngozi Umeaka, says: “That’s why Igbo’s always says ‘business is business and family is family,’ both don’t mix. I don’t advise anyone to mingle business with family. The mistake has been done already. The issue is quite a dicey one, either she forcefully takes back her property and be termed the evil one by in-laws or let it go.”
She added that: “But if I were her, I would seek a property solicitor for advice as I won’t play when it comes to properties. This should also serve as a warning and lesson to do good people who do everything to please family and in-laws.”
Marriage counsellor Hajiya Maryam Abdullahi notes that: “Usually, when one rents out a place, it is the duty of the landlord to renovate it, on the other hand when the landlord doesn’t have money for renovation, then the tenant does it at the expense of the landlord. So the landlord in question has to get the bill from her in-law and pay her back or have it added to her rent and let her use the store for an extended period before you can take it up from her. To be sincere two years is too short to give someone a quit notice after she has renovated the place.”
She advised that: “When dealing with relatives or in-laws, there is always the assumption of envy. I hope it is not a question of the landlord envying her in-law because she sees the progress she is making. I don’t agree that doing business with family or in-laws is wrong. What we need in such a situation is wisdom, clear and precise communication. In this case there wasn’t any of this.”