Houseguests - a poll.

This has two parts, I guess:

  1. What are your general thoughts about the optimal frequency and duration of houseguest visits? (ie; x weeks per year)

  2. If you were in a shared accomodation situation with three roommates and a spare “guest room,” how would you approach establishing guidelines for fair use of the guest-room?

  1. In-laws get a matter of hours, no over nights! Period. Friends with or without kids, a few days. Siblings on eithe rmy or my wifes side, as long as they need.

  2. Fair guidelines would be any duration that wouldn’t require the guest paying rent.

  1. Depends completely on the guests. My husbands mother-in-law recently visited and we were happy to have her for two weeks. My parents are visiting later this year and we are happy to have them for eight weeks. Visits from friends would probably be around the two to four week mark. It is quite a distance for people to travel, hence the reasonably long timeframes. My parents get extra because they are very amiable house guests who do their own thing as well as spend time with us.

  2. In shared accommodation, I would suggest house guests stay up to a week, after that they should be paying something towards the shared costs.

One thing I am particularly interested in is frequency. How often do you think it is reasonable to have friends stay over for a few days?

Same for sandra_nz - how frequently would you expect to have guests stay for “up to a week?”

Infrequently for sure. Sometimes in the summer we’ll have guests for 3 weeks collectively. We have a place right on the water so there is a lot to do in our own front yard. Lot’s of “inland” friends come over for that reason. Going to the beach, fishing boating etc…etc…

As for exact numbers, infrequently enough so that it’s not burdensome.

1) What are your general thoughts about the optimal frequency and duration of houseguest visits? Zero. Partially because our house is rather full of kids and pets and doesn’t have any spare room.

*2) If you were in a shared accomodation situation with three roommates and a spare “guest room,” how would you approach establishing guidelines for fair use of the guest-room?*I had a roommate for 3 months some 20 years ago, so I really have no idea. I guess guidelines would come about only after someone overstepped some boundary. I’d rather have the room used for another purpose, “guest rooms” seem like a waste of space.

  1. Very rarely. I like my privacy and my home is my retreat. It is not often open to visitors, especially of the stay at least a night variety. This may seem contradictory, but my mom is coming to stay with us for a week at the end of the month. However, this is the first houseguest we have had in several years.

  2. I’m not sure how I would approach that situation. I would hope to have roommates that didn’t have guests staying over very often. See the first part of my answer to #1.

1) What are your general thoughts about the optimal frequency and duration of houseguest visits? (ie; x weeks per year)

My husband and his siblings all live in the same town, but we’re the only ones with a guest room, so we host his parents whenever they come to town, which is about once every 3 months or so for a weekend. His parents are divorced, though, so they come on separate weekends. My parents also come for a weekend every couple of months. Friends, cousins and siblings have a standing invitation to come visit, but we usually get one weekend visit every 6 months or so from someone in that category. We don’t usually have a house guest for more than 3 days, unless it’s an exceptional circumstance. (For example, when my sister-in-law had her first baby, my mother-in-law stayed with us for a week, but spent her days over at SiL’s.)

For me, the issue is not frequency of visits, but advance notice. I like at least 2-3 weeks notice that someone would like to visit. Having to re-work my weekend plans–even if they’re just plans to lounge about in my pajamas all day-- around a last minute visit from a family member tees me off.
2) If you were in a shared accomodation situation with three roommates and a spare “guest room,” how would you approach establishing guidelines for fair use of the guest-room?

Hmmm, good question. I’d prefer at least 2-3 weeks advance notice and buy-in from all of the housemates. Maybe declare at least 2 weekends a month guest-free. If you’re staying for longer than 2 weeks, you’re paying rent.

Wouldn’t your husband’s mother-in-law be your mom?

When my mom has been particularly annoying, I call her my wife’s mother in law. “Your mother-in-law is driving me crazy”
And if she stayed with us for a week I imagine that would qualify as annoying.

I don’t mind having houseguests as long as they’re polite and offer me bribes – ie take me out for food or do some cooking. At a minimum they’ve gotta make their own bed, tell me what they’re doing when they go out, and buy me one meal. If they’re staying for more than 3 days they better be goddamn fabulous people who have washed dishes, bought flowers or chocolates, etc…

If I was living with roommates, the same thing applies and more. I’d want my roomies to ask if they can have guests over, instead of informing me they have guests arriving on such and such a date. I’d also want to limit total guestage to one a month.

  1. What are your general thoughts about the optimal frequency and duration of houseguest visits? (ie; x weeks per year)

Completely depends on the guest. There are friends I’d have for a month if they wanted and some I want to kill after 2 hours. Assuming we mean good guests, I say a few times a year, a week to 2 at a time.

  1. If you were in a shared accomodation situation with three roommates and a spare “guest room,” how would you approach establishing guidelines for fair use of the guest-room?

I really don’t know how to answer this, since I’ve never been in that situation.

This is the kind of number I’m trying to get a sense of.

Basically, since we’ve been housemates (November-ish) one housemate has had overnight guests four or five times - three times for around a week. This seems a bit excessive to me and I’d like to approach her about setting some limits.

Especially as we had houseguests turn up on the door Friday night “Just for tonight, and maybe Saturday…” who were still there last night (and let themselves in with a spare set of keys while our housemate was still at work, surprising us in our barely-post-coital bathrobes) and who are still there as far as I know.

I would like to propose that each housemate gets a set number of days per year to “book” the guest room, and I’m trying to get a sense of what most people would consider reasonable. As it is now, if each housemate had houseguests as frequently as she does, we would have houseguests more than three quarters of the time.

My initial feeling is to suggest a two-week per housemate cap on houseguests. (This is my personal comfort level for having houseguests, period - so this suggestion puts the total time spent with houseguests at a month-and-a-half per year, which is three times that level but a concession to the fact that we do indeed live with other people.)

I’m hoping to get a sense of whether this is reasonable to ask, or if I’m antisocial by most standards and should just face up to that and not try to live with housemates.

For sure there has to be some limit on it, right?

I think it also depends on your age group. My friends and I are in our 20s and I think most of us have someone staying over at least once every two months - usually more frequent than that. Between September and December my roommate and I had guests almost every other week. And sometimes people just need to crash on short notice for various reasons.

If you guys are our age, two weeks a year for guests seems rather stingy. On the other hand, your particular housemate seems to have no sense of consideration for the rest of you. Isn’t there a way to discuss the problem without necessarily setting a quota?

I think your complaint is justified but I think your approach of negotiating a days-per-year limit could rub your roommate the wrong way. I assume you haven’t talked to her about this yet? My general feeling is that people don’t like to have a new house rules brought up before they’ve even been given a chance to fix the problem. Can you express exactly why house guests keep you from enjoying your home? If the answer is “I just don’t like knowing other people are sleeping under the same roof”, well, she can’t do much to fix things then but she might not realize now that this is how you feel. If the guests are doing stuff to get in your way, or you actually do use the extra room sometimes, then these are things she could address. Also note that your issues with the current guests – no advance notice, walking around in their robes, giving out spare keys – are each valid complaints on their own, you bring those up with her independent of any rules about future guests.

Anyhow, that’s my answer to (2), my answer for (1) would be, once a month if the guests are staying in a common space, but if they were sleeping in the hosts bedroom and otherwise staying out of the way then I think more often would be acceptable.

That sounds outrageously excessive to me. I can’t imagine having guests in the house over 25% of the time. You absolutely need to talk to her.

I think your plan is a good one, but allow flexibility for special cases. I can’t imagine anyone needing houseguests for over 2 weeks a year under normal circumstances.

We are 31, 37, and 39. (If this sounds old to have housemates, take a look at the real estate/rental market in Vancouver, which makes this common as dirt here.)

This is why I’m trying to get a sense of what folks think is reasonable, generally.

Maybe I am sheltered. I had roommates several times, ever since I left home at fifteen. From 18 to 25 I roomed with the fella I still consider my best friend, and we had houseguests exactly… uh… zero times.

I had another roommate at the height of my party years, in my late twenties - we had people who stayed overnight quite a bit - but these were mutual friends, and only slept over as a practical alternative to trying to get home. I only recall one time that a roommate invited a friend to stay for a week or so, and I don’t believe I ever have.

This business of having an open door policy and week-long visits every month - this is all new for me.

Personally, I don’t feel I can quite relax when there are visitors. On some level I feel that I am obliged to be hospitable. (This is maybe my own hang-up - our roommate has no problem napping or just hanging out by herself in her room while her houseguests camp out in the kitchen.) Me, I want to make my breakfast and get on with my day.

I want to be able to have a bit of intimate time with my fiancée while my roommate is away at work without wondering if someone is going to let themselves in the front door at any moment.

To be fair, they have tried really hard to be unobtrusive - they keep quiet when we go to bed, etc. – but just having two extra bodies in the space is a bit of an imposition.

Thanks. It’s been a bit of a shock. At first the feeling was that it must be anomolous - but it seems it’s just business as usual.

I do think your housemate is being excessive, and you should talk to her about it, but maybe simply expressing your concerns would be enough to resolve the problem. Setting a two-week-a-year limit seems rather extreme at this point. Just my thoughts.

When my roommate and I have guests, we always let each other know way ahead of time so we can make sure we don’t overlap or that it isn’t inconvenient in some way. It seems somewhat rude to just have guests over without letting the other person/people you live with know beforehand.

I’ve known people like your roomie, who really consider their residence kinda empty unless a guest is staying. They’d be comfortable having somebody there 4 weeks per month, with different folks rotating in and out every couple weeks, and some folks staying for 3 months.

Me? That’s why Hilton invented Hotels; so nobody sleeps in my residence except me & my wife or somebody too drunk to drive home from a party. And they get sent off without breakfast.
There are no “reasonable” rules you & your roomie are necessarily going to agree to. There is a bell curve of what SDMB posters prefer for themselves. But there is no need for your preferences to overlap the roomie’s preferences even a little bit. And ultimately, she wins because you have no practical way to prevent her actions, except by moving out, or if you are the sole lessee, forcing her out.

Good luck negotiating; I hope you succeed. But my bet is against.

Hey Larry? I’m coming to visit in July and not leaving until I’m fluent in Quebecois, ok? No problem, right?

Your roommate is being inconsiderate of you and your fiancee. You need to discuss it.