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A couple holding each other | Source: Getty Images
A couple holding each other | Source: Getty Images

My Husband Pretended to Rent Our House While He Actually Owned It, Karma Didn't Let It Slide

Prenesa Naidoo
Jun 14, 2024
02:00 P.M.

Emma had always been the frugal one, making sure that after her rent was taken care of, she still had enough money to make ends meet. But one day, when her husband is away for work, Emma takes care of the rent payment, only to discover that the rent she's been paying is actually for her mother-in-law's monthly allowances. Emma and Karma team up, ready to serve justice.

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I had always been frugal, meticulously budgeting every penny of my salary. New clothes, makeup, and vacations were all luxuries that I saw my friends indulge in, but they were dreams I had to put on hold.

A woman counting money | Source: Pexels

A woman counting money | Source: Pexels

"I just want to go on a vacation in a sunny place," I told my best friend, Jessica. "To just lounge around on the beach and sip cocktails."

"Soon," Jessica would say. "I know that you're close to sorting the house out and finally being free of rent and whatnot."

People holding drinks at the beach | Source: Pexels

People holding drinks at the beach | Source: Pexels

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The house. That was where our problems had begun.

Every month, a significant portion of my paycheck went toward the rent of our little home. Paul, my husband, and I both contributed to the rent, but he always handled the payments to our elusive landlord.

I trusted him implicitly, and of course, I never questioned his actions.

A Surburban house | Source: Midjourney

A Surburban house | Source: Midjourney

"Don't worry, darling," Paul would say. "I'll take the money from our joint account each month and do the rest."

Years passed, and my sacrifices continued. Paul took care of the power and the water bills, and we both contributed to the groceries. As difficult as it sometimes was, we both knew that it was just something that needed to be done.

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A couple standing outside a store | Source: Midjourney

A couple standing outside a store | Source: Midjourney

One day, Paul had to leave early for a short business trip. It wasn't anything new, and we had both gotten used to him going away on these trips.

"Do you want me to take care of rent?" I asked as I helped him pack his clothes away. "I know that you're going to be traveling on the first of the month."

"No, but thank you," he said. "I'll try and log on from my laptop and do it, or I'll just handle it when I'm back."

An open suitcase | Source: Pexels

An open suitcase | Source: Pexels

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"Honey, you're already doing so much for us. Let me lighten the burden and help," I said.

Paul sighed deeply and took two ties out of his closet.

"It's fine, Emma," he said curtly. "I've got it under control."

A man holding ties | Source: Midjourney

A man holding ties | Source: Midjourney

My husband left early the next morning and that was it. He didn't speak about the rent topic again.

As the days went by and the rent was due the following day, I left my office during lunch to go to the bank.

"Where are you headed off to?" Jessica asked me as I gathered my handbag and cellphone before leaving the office.

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A woman in an office | Source: Pexels

A woman in an office | Source: Pexels

"Just to the bank," I replied. "I'll be back soon and then we can get something for lunch."

I walked into the bank ready to make a payment and lighten my husband's load. But what I discovered was a different reality altogether.

I approached a teller and explained my situation, giving her all my relevant details.

A large building | Source: Unsplash

A large building | Source: Unsplash

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"I just need to transfer rent money to my landlord," I said. "My husband usually does this stuff, but he's away on business."

The teller smiled at me and looked at my identity document before continuing.

"Certainly, ma'am," the teller said, pulling up the account details. "Could you confirm the account number?"

A bank teller at her desk | Source: Midjourney

A bank teller at her desk | Source: Midjourney

I read the number off the notepad I had taken from Paul's desk that morning. He had a habit of writing all his important information on that one notepad.

"Thank you," the teller said, typing the number in.

"A Mrs. Helen Parker?" she asked. "That's your landlord's account?"

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A woman holding a notebook | Source: Midjourney

A woman holding a notebook | Source: Midjourney

I blinked in confusion.

"Helen Parker? Are you sure that's what it says?" I exclaimed, my hands feeling clammy.

The teller, sensing that something was amiss, double-checked the records, frowning slightly as she concentrated.

A woman using a laptop | Source: Pexels

A woman using a laptop | Source: Pexels

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"This is the account that has been receiving money from your account. It's actually been receiving money for years."

Paul's mother. Helen Parker was Paul's mother.

"There must be some mistake, surely," I said.

A woman at her desk | Source: Midjourney

A woman at her desk | Source: Midjourney

"I'm afraid not, ma'am," she said. "This account has consistently received the monthly payments. Look, I can print it all out for you if you'd like to go through it yourself."

I nodded, too numb with shock.

I left the bank and drove home in a daze, forgetting that I needed to get back to work entirely.

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A woman driving | Source: Pexels

A woman driving | Source: Pexels

Once home, I went straight to Paul's study and began rifling through his drawers. I needed answers.

"How on earth have I been paying for his mother's lifestyle all these years?" I said aloud.

It didn't take long to find everything I needed. There it was, the ownership document for our house, signed and dated years ago, with Paul listed as the sole owner.

Open desk drawers | Source: Midjourney

Open desk drawers | Source: Midjourney

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I didn't know what to think, so I sat in silence for a few moments until my phone rang.

"Emma?" Jessica's voice ran through the room. "Are you okay? Why didn't you come back to the office?"

Quickly, I caught my best friend up on the drama.

A woman talking on the phone | Source: Pexels

A woman talking on the phone | Source: Pexels

"So, the rent that you've been paying is actually Helen's allowance?" Jessica gasped. "That's so ridiculous!"

"Yes," I replied, holding my head in my hands. "I don't know what to do. Paul is away for the next few days."

"Did he take his laptop?" Jessica asked.

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"No, actually, he didn't," I replied.

"Then go through it! Look for more information!"

A woman using a laptop | Source: Pexels

A woman using a laptop | Source: Pexels

My hands trembling, I turned on his laptop and found a series of messages exchanged between Paul and Helen. The messages detailed their plan, discussing how they would keep me in the dark and ensure I continued to pay rent, funneling my money straight to her.

"What the heck?" I muttered under my breath.

A close-up of a shocked woman | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of a shocked woman | Source: Midjourney

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As the full weight of the betrayal settled on me, karma arrived with no delay. That evening, a violent storm swept through our town, leaving floods behind.

Of course, my house was one of them.

By the next morning, water started seeping through the ceiling, and within minutes, the whole house was flooded.

Water falling through a ceiling | Source: Midjourney

Water falling through a ceiling | Source: Midjourney

I took my belongings and went to a hotel. I wasn't about to suffer through this alone.

"You can come to me," Jessica said when I called to tell her that I was staying at a hotel.

"No," I said. "I don't plan on staying in the house long, so I'll be here for a while. When Paul returns home, I'll go to the house and get the last of my things."

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A hotel room | Source: Midjourney

A hotel room | Source: Midjourney

On the day that Paul was scheduled to come home, I went over to the house and worked my way through the things that were not damaged by the flooding.

"Emma, are you okay?" he asked as he stepped into the house. "What happened here?"

I turned to him, my eyes cold.

An upset woman | Source: Midjourney

An upset woman | Source: Midjourney

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"I'm fine. But the house isn't. The ceiling doesn't look too good in some places. But it's a good thing that's not our house, right? The landlord's insurance can cover it."

To his credit, my husband isn't stupid and he was able to pick up on my sarcasm easily.

Paul paled, realizing that he was trapped.

"Emma, I can explain," he said.

"Don't bother," I interrupted. "I found the bank records, the ownership documents, and your messages to Helen. I know everything."

A man looking down | Source: Midjourney

A man looking down | Source: Midjourney

Paul's shoulders slumped in defeat.

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"How could you do that to me?" I asked quietly. "Especially after knowing that I wanted to do things for myself. I wanted us to go on trips together and make memories. But all this time, I was just using my hard-earned money to take care of your mother?"

"What do you want me to tell you? That she's old and needs it?" Paul asked.

A smiling older woman | Source: Pexels

A smiling older woman | Source: Pexels

"We both know that's not the case," I retorted. "Your father left everything to her. She's doing fine. And in any case, it's not that I wouldn't have wanted to help Helen if I knew. It's the fact that you've been lying for years."

"Just wait," Paul said. "I'm sure that we can work through this."

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"No, we cannot," I replied. "You've been using me for years and I'm finally done with all of this."

A man looking at his phone | Source: Midjourney

A man looking at his phone | Source: Midjourney

I walked out of the house and went back to the hotel where Jessica promised to come over and spend the evening with me.

The next day, I consulted a lawyer and fought to reclaim the money that I had unknowingly handed over to Helen.

A lawyer sitting in his office | Source: Midjourney

A lawyer sitting in his office | Source: Midjourney

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In the end, justice prevailed and the court ruled in my favor, ordering Paul and his mother to repay every cent I had given them over the years.

With my newfound financial freedom, I got myself a little apartment, someplace that I could easily lock up and leave when it was time for a getaway.

And as for Paul? After the money was settled, I filed for a divorce, and left him in the past with his mother.

A living room in an apartment | Source: Midjourney

A living room in an apartment | Source: Midjourney

What would you have done?

If you enjoyed this story, here's another one for you |

My Kids Listed My House on Airbnb While I Was in the Hospital — I Found a Way to Teach Them a Lesson

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A phone opened to an Airbnb app | Source: Pexels

A phone opened to an Airbnb app | Source: Pexels

Mariah had been feeling less than healthy lately, causing her to admit herself to the hospital so that she could have a check-up. But in her absence, her children decided to rent out her house as an Airbnb, ready to pocket the money for themselves. When Mariah found out, she decided to teach her children a lesson.

If I was being honest, I didn't know how I felt about my children's betrayal. But it hurt me to imagine that while I had been away at the hospital, my children were perfectly fine with having strangers take over my home.

"What were they thinking?" I asked myself.

They hadn't given a second thought to people using the mugs I had hand-painted, or people sitting in their father's worn armchair. Paul has been deceased for a few years now, but it still felt like his chair.

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Read the full story here.

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided "as is," and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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