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

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.
“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.”

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.
“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.

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.”

“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.”

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.

“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.

“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?”

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?”

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.

“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.

“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.

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.

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.

“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.

“No, actually, he didn’t,” I replied.

“Then go through it! Look for more information!”

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.

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.

“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.”

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.

“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.”

“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.

“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.”

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.

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.

What would you have done?

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