I have been living in my great grandparents house as the caretaker for 4.5 years now. I had a MAJOR main water line bust and flooded the entire crawl space. My dad and uncle fixed the water line break at no cost and myself and my dad pumped all the water out. The AC went out and needed some work caused by the main water line bust. In the agreement that was verbal between myself, my aunt (POA), my two uncles and my dad (who are her brothers and are on the deed once my great grandmother passes away), that I was the caretaker with no assumption of exactly the specifics on what I was responsible for. Can she legally make me pay for the AC being fixed? That is a large expense, that I feel is the responsibility of the owner/ POA. I make sure the house is otherwise cared for keeping the house clean inside and out, mowing the yard and living here so my great grandmother can keep her insurance. I pay the taxes and insurance on the house yearly. She has been over charging me which I just found out so she should have $1,000 extra over the past 4 years. But she recently told me my great grandmother can’t afford to fix this. What are my options? Please help me!!!!

No, your aunt cannot legally make you pay for the AC repair. If the AC was damaged by the water leak, then the insurance should pay for the repairs minus any deductable. You are not legally responsible for the insurance deductable either. Depending on the laws of your state, the home owner may be legally required to fix the AC for the tenant (you). Your payment of taxes and insurance along with services maintaining the house are considered rent, particularly if your aunt has overstated the amount of taxes and insurance to collect monies beyond agreed upon amounts.

Since working AC is a preservation of the asset and resale value factor, it's appropriate for the owner (or the owner's heirs) to fund this repair.

Your aunt's overstatement of taxes and insurance may indicate your aunt (and maybe your uncles and dad too) feel you should be paying additional "rent" for living in GGM's house. You are providing a benefit by living in the house that allows GGM and heirs to maintain home insurance, discourage thief, and keep the house in order. If you hadn't been living in the house the water leak may have done a lot more damage before it was discovered. Maintaining the yard would be an additional expense for GGM/heirs too. To make this arrangement mutually beneficial you need to receive some benefit too and the limited or reduced rent is a reasonable compensation for your "services". Now might be a good time to reconfirm the agreement terms and make sure no one feels disadvantaged.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to TNtechie

Are you paying rent?
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to gladimhere

its not your house, so in my opinion you shouldn't have to fix large repairs. homes are always needing work. leaky pipes, old roof, need outside paint, termites. If your agreement was to cover the taxes and fire(?) insurance, then I don't understand how they can expect you to put "money" back into the home. If they did, then when the home was ever sold, I would want my money back for making improvements.  Do you also pay your own utilities? water and electric/gas?
They should understand houses require upkeep beyond yard work. What is your dad telling you? since he is on the deed?
ps: if the water heater conked out, are you expected to replace that? better find out. so many things in a house to go bad...
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Reply to wally003

Well as you said you don’t have a contract but the precedent has been set.
You do lawn maintenance, pay taxes and insurance and perform the house maintenance. Have you made repairs before? Or has your GGM paid for them?
I think I would speak with the heirs. Tell them the problem and see what they come up with. Depending on your climate you could have to deal with mold without the AC. Does your aunt want you to move? Four years is a good length of time. You can’t be made to move without being legally evicted. But I don’t think you have any legal obligation to make repairs. Perhaps you could share in the cost but you should get a contract so that there is a clear understanding on who is responsible for what.
Use this as an opportunity to work things out for the benefit of everyone. Perhaps it’s time to sell the property if GGM is running out of money? As a POA the responsibility is there to make the best decisions for the principal, GGM.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to 97yroldmom

Her House insurance should pay for repairs. I don't understand why you should pay for anything being the caregiver.
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Reply to JoAnn29

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