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(Meta) Paying the rent

19th December 2009 (03:44)
Tags: , ,

Here, have a short poll. I'm curious to see what the consensus is.

Poll #1500846 Paying the rent

Did Willow (and Tara in S6) pay rent for living in Buffy's house?

No, they were ungrateful freeloaders.
15(23.8%)
No, they were welcome guests.
5(7.9%)
No, but they contributed financially in other ways.
24(38.1%)
Yes, but it wasn't enough to cover all the expenses.
15(23.8%)
I'm a special snowflake, and will explain why in the comments!
4(6.3%)
Feel free to speculate in an amusing fashion on exactly how Willow (and Tara) could have contributed to the household finances. :-)

Comments

Posted by: The Mezzanine (deird1)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 03:53 (UTC)
friends (willow buffy)

I said yes, although I don't think it was "rent", exactly, but just "here's some more money, Buff..."

But even if they hadn't been contributing that much over season 6, I'd still say that they'd paid an awful lot into the house/food/Dawn/etc while Buffy was dead.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 13:16 (UTC)

I can see that more in S7 than S6; but see my new post for a fuller answer. :-)

Posted by: Nicki (peroxidepirate)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 04:20 (UTC)

I figured they were both attending UC-Sunnydale on scholarships and/or student loans -- Willow could have definitely won a full ride scholarship, and I doubt Tara's family was giving her any financial support, so she must have had financial aid of some kind or another. There'd be money built into the fin. aid package for housing, which I believe they would pay to Buffy as rent.

But, financial aid being what it is, that probably wasn't enough to live on, and mos def wasn't enough to cover the entire cost of the house.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 13:18 (UTC)

Agreed. Willow and Tara managed to pay for accommodation in S4 and S5, and that money didn't just vanish - that they were paying it to Buffy seems the most logical conclusion. (Also, see my new post on the subject).

Posted by: harsens_rob (harsens_rob)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 05:01 (UTC)
They were selfish, but not consciously so.

I don't think that Willow or Tara put any money into the household. I think that's why they ran into so much financial difficulty after Buffy's resurrection. Joyce's life insurance was only going to last so long and the witches' attention was on other things during that awful summer.

Once Buffy came back though, it was just selfish (but not maliciously so - I just don't think they put thought into it) for neither of them to take on a least a part time job to contribute to the household bills. Like Buffy at first, I think they just assumed that Giles would take care of that sort of thing as part of 'his Scooby duty' forgetting that was really outside of his responsibilities.

Once he left and Buffy was working at the faux-burger place, we still never saw them actually get a job. Maybe they picked up dinner once in a while or took Dawn shopping, but there certainly was no indication that they thought of rent, utilities, groceries, etc. as their responsibility, despite living there. It's possible they just were never shown handing Buffy money or paying a bill, but it came off to me as they just didn't think about the real world problems Buffy was facing in keeping a household going.

Not surprising in Willow's case: I love her to death, but she was always busy focusing on herself rather than others once she discovered magic - more so than ever in S6, but from Tara I'm surprised and more disappointed. I expected she'd be the one to pull Willow aside and say, "I think we need to look at some sort of rent or something to help out Buffy", but I never saw any evidence that this occurred and I waited all season for it to be mentioned.

Posted by: The Mezzanine (deird1)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 08:05 (UTC)

I think that's why they ran into so much financial difficulty after Buffy's resurrection. Joyce's life insurance was only going to last so long and the witches' attention was on other things during that awful summer.

Gotta say, if I was living in a big house and taking care of a fourteen-year-old, I'd be running into financial difficulties - and I have a full-time job. Why do you think they'd only be having money problems if they weren't putting their own money into the household?

Posted by: harsens_rob (harsens_rob)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 10:18 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 13:21 (UTC)
Re: They were selfish, but not consciously so.

Posted by: Barb (rahirah)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 05:23 (UTC)

I can't answer this because there's absolutely no hard evidence in canon either way. However, I feel it was strongly implied that they had been living off Joyce's insurance, and Buffy was the only person in the house who was actually bringing in any money. There was never any mention of Willow or Tara having a job, for example.

Posted by: The One Who Isn't Chosen (gabrielleabelle)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 05:27 (UTC)

Yep. Same here. I decided on the special snowflake option.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 13:24 (UTC)

Posted by: fluffybkitty (fluffybkitty)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 06:38 (UTC)
willow/tara - beginning

I clicked on contributed finacially in other ways but then after I clicked I thought about it - How would that have?

They were both students after all. Neither had jobs that we know of. I think Willow probably would have got money from her parents but Tara wouldn't have had that that luxoury, so now I think:

No, they wouldn't have contributed any money but they would have done other things - before it all went south anyways - like cleaning the house and cooking and taking care of Dawn for free.

They would definitely have paid their way somehow, but if they contributed any money it would have been a very small amount, maybe enough to chip in for food but not enough to pay, say, the electricity bill.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 13:25 (UTC)

I assume that whatever money they were paying on accommodation to the college in S5, would instead be paid to Dawn/Buffy in S6. But it wouldn't be nearly enough to cover the cost of the house.

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 06:54 (UTC)

I think the fact that Buffy felt the burden of running the household fell on her without the need for any kind of pow-wow about how *we* are going to pay the mortgage tells us that W/T weren't paying. I chose to be special because I think they were both ungrateful freeloaders and welcome guests. They were getting a free ride, and weren't grateful for it, but Buffy has no resentment about it either.

Fact is, the writers just wanted to pretend that Buffy was so financially strapped that she'd have to get a dead-end job. It makes Giles and all the Scoobies look like heels and Buffy like an idiot. But we're just supposed to focus on Buffy broke and with a dead-end job -- not how or why she got there. It's in the Xander-calling-Sweet category of writing for me. Plot device that requires OOC behavior and which should be disregarded when assessing the characters.

Posted by: harsens_rob (harsens_rob)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 10:24 (UTC)

Ugh, don't even bring up Xander-calling-Sweet! Talk about utter dunderheadedness....

I wrote somewhere that I think by this time everyone was getting tired and bored, including the writers, which is why they left SO many hanging threads like this one out there. Only fans, who get so emotionally wrapped up in these characters, would ask these sorts of questions. I wish the writers had been more emotionally involved, too.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 13:31 (UTC)

Posted by: Peasant (peasant_)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 09:10 (UTC)

Assuming Joyce's life insurance had paid off the mortgage they would 'only' need to cover bills. I reckon Tara and Willow (and possibly Xander) had contributed so much over the summer to cover those that they actually couldn't afford any more for a while when Buffy returned, hence their presenting the money issues to her so quickly and Buffy having to get a job. Then after a while Willow and Tara could afford to start paying rent again and money issues eased off - witness they ceased to be mentioned much. Buffy couldn't have supported the whole household and a car on Double Meat wages.

I really can't see either Tara or Willow freeloading if there wasn't some explanation for how their dues were already paid. Tara would have got a job and Willow would have robbed a bank by magic. (Willow: 'I've only borrowed it, it doesn't count as stealing if they don't even know it's gone and you're gonna put it back later'. Spike: 'gotta hand it to you, Red, even I can see the moral flaw in that one.' He raises his glass to her.)

Posted by: The Mezzanine (deird1)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 09:59 (UTC)
Willow (death)

Willow: 'I've only borrowed it, it doesn't count as stealing if they don't even know it's gone and you're gonna put it back later'. Spike: 'gotta hand it to you, Red, even I can see the moral flaw in that one.' He raises his glass to her.

You should so write a whole fic of this.

Posted by: harsens_rob (harsens_rob)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 10:26 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 13:35 (UTC)

Posted by: Peasant (peasant_)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 15:30 (UTC)

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 19:21 (UTC)

Posted by: curiouswombat (curiouswombat)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 10:25 (UTC)

I expect that they did, at least, buy some of the food! But contributing some money for household expenses like power and water probably wouldn't have occurred to Willow.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 13:39 (UTC)

I dunno - Willow was always the conscientious type, and remember they were living in the house with just Dawn from May to September 2001. Bills would have been coming in all that time, and I can imagine Dawn carrying one int to Willow and saying "What do we do about this?"

Willow would probably suggest using magic to provide heat and water, but Tara would tell her "No" very firmly, and Willow would grumble then pay the bill the normal way...

(Or, possibly, enchant the electricity meter to provide power without actually running up a cost, and not tell anyone what she'd done...)

Posted by: leseparatist (novin_ha)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 10:30 (UTC)
[buffy] willow

Sadly, I honestly doubt they did, and it bugs me a lot when I watch season 6. I mean, I think they did buy food, but other than that, it didn't seem like they contributed.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 13:40 (UTC)

I don't think we can say from on-screen evidence either way. We just have to go by their personalities and what seems logical.

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 10:54 (UTC)

Shrug. Unless someone can point out where in canon it's stated that they don't, I'm going to assume they do. But also that they're on a student budget and fighting demons rather than working in their spare time.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 13:41 (UTC)

You speak wisdom. (Or rather, you agree with my views, which I choose to define here as "wisdom" :-) )

Posted by: goldenusagi (goldenusagi)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 11:44 (UTC)

Honestly, I think Buffy came back from the dead, found Willow and Tara living there, and just never got around to questioning it, much less asking for money. I got the impression that during the summer, the house expenses were paid for by whatever money Joyce had. Which raises another question to me. They knew they were bringing Buffy back, they had to know money was running out (as they tell Buffy later, she's broke), did they just expect her to take care of everything once she came back? I guess? There's no canon evidence that Willow or Tara paid rent, though I imagine that they paid for groceries. Possibly helped with bills. Though it all seemed to be on Buffy to fix the pipes in the basement. (Actually, I always thought it was weird that after Buffy was back, Willow and Tara didn't move out and give her her house back. I mean, it's not like Dawn is young enough to need constant supervision. And if Willow and Tara living there didn't cut down on costs for Buffy, there's really no reason to have them there.)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 13:43 (UTC)

See my new post for a more detailed answer to this. I do agree there was an element of "We can't decide on any permanent solutions until we bring back Buffy, or know for definite that she's gone forever" - otherwise, they should probably have sold the house. (And maybe Willow and Tara should have adopted Dawn).

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 19:29 (UTC)

I am, of course, a special snowflake. I really can't say either way, since there's no evidence whatsoever. I do think that if they contributed something, they wouldn't have called it "rent." I strongly doubt that they and Buffy sat down and agreed on a fixed amount and Willow and/or Tara handed over a check on the 1st of each month. More likely, they'd just pay for groceries and things as they came up, whenever they had money on hand. Or perhaps, since one of them must have had access to the Summers bank accounts over the summer, they might just deposit money in the account whenever they could spare it.

I'm definitely certain that whatever they could afford to pay (whether they did pay it or not) would not have been enough to cover all of the expenses.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 22:44 (UTC)

I strongly doubt that they and Buffy sat down and agreed on a fixed amount

I'd agree on that... but it's more likely that Willow, Tara and Giles sat down with Dawn and decided what to do now that Buffy was dead and Dawn was the underage owner of a house. And it seems logical that "whatever they were paying as rent to UC Sunnydale" would instead be paid to Dawn (or in practice, into the bank account used to pay off the mortgage.)

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 22:56 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 23:38 (UTC)

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 20th December 2009 01:22 (UTC)

Posted by: Lily (lavastar)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 22:39 (UTC)

This is kind of confusing, guys, and making my head hurt. I'll go read your new post to see what I'm supposed to think. :D

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 19th December 2009 22:44 (UTC)

Aww. *rubs your head better* :-)

Posted by: ms_scarletibis (ms_scarletibis)
Posted at: 23rd December 2009 16:22 (UTC)

I chose the first option, but it's possible they bought food every once in awhile.

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