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When your adult children are still living at home, should you charge them rent? Or if you're an adult who lives with their parents, should you offer to chip in?

Here's one for the "be careful what you wish for" file. The letter writer is living with her mom and suggested Mom start charging her rent. Then her mom dressed up as a landlady and quoted a rate she couldn't afford. Now the letter writer is getting late notices and eviction notices from her mom! https://www.thepennyhoarder.co...-trying-to-evict-me/ 😮

I don't really think the mom is going to evict her own child, but I do think she's trying to teach her daughter a lesson about being a responsible adult. (To be honest, I think the landlady schtick is pretty funny.) So far, the daughter hasn't passed the test, as she's tried to avoid further discussions of rent.

It got me wondering: When adult kids are living at home, should they pay rent? What other ground rules should you set? If you've been in this situation, how have you set rent? Do you use the current rate in your area? Do you give a discount if they're helping out around the house or saving up for their own place?

Robin Hartill aka Dear Penny is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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I'd charge my kids rent, about $200 a month if unemployed, and collecting unemployment, must look for a job and have them keep my house clean. Charge $400 a month if employed, and still have them clean my house. As for rules, no parties, no large crowds of friends coming over. no revolving doors at my home meaning they are not moving out for a month and then moving back into my home.

After my divorce I had to move in with my parents to make ends meet and I paid them rent for about 6 months until I had enough saved to move out onto my own.

P.S., I had kids in-tow as I won in my divorce as my ex-wife never showed up to court.

Signed, Mr. Mom.

I think it depends on the child, and the parent.

For example when I was living at home with my parents (employed), I volunteered to pay them rent. They didn't ask for it. This is because I feel like if I don't pay rent, then I am being an irresponsible adult. I also feel that even though they're my "parents" they don't owe me anything. Nor do I want to owe them anything. If I'm still living at home after some age, then I need to make it worth my parents' while so that they get a return on having someone else in the house.

In cases like mine, there's no real need to charge the child rent if they're self-motivated enough already and therefore no "responsibility training" is needed. They're already responsible.

I feel like though in a lot of cases, forcing the rent issue is good. But the easiest way is to not let the kid live at home if the kid is troublesome. The reason's because if the kid is already irresponsible, it seems like it'll be a continuous struggle to get them to pay rent and it also seems like both parties will be uncomfortable forcing the issue after a while.

Better to just make a strict rule upfront - something like "you're out after 18" (or 20, or 25, etc.) when they're 12 so that they are well-prepared for it. This way, it won't matter how the parent's or child's temperament is - the expectation is set years before it becomes an issue, and paying rent to parents would be a non-issue since the child will live elsewhere anyway.

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https://www.goodmoneygoodlife.com

As people today seem to need more structure than less, I would set-up strict expectations in the form of a formal contract. What are kids learning if their parents shelter them and keep paying for everything?

"But I love my kids!" - Yes, everyone says that. To me, a parent's job is to give their child the skills to survive without them. It doesn't mean that you don't love them. It means, you trust them, you believe in them and you want them to thrive.

My rules would be one of the following to live with me:

  • You have a job and pay rent. I would be okay with a reduced amount ($150-$300/month) to allow them to save with the idea, they would move out in the end. Otherwise, it is simply enabling and I see way too much of that happening in America today. Failure to launch. 🙄

OR

  • They are in school (community college, 4 year, technical, beauty, whatever). I would challenge them to give themselves a chance in the future. My area offers some free degrees—yes, completely free to the students as the skills are needed. Sometimes we have to put the work in and put up with a job we don’t like to get where we want to go. It is a good lesson for life. In place of rent, I would expect them to shoulder some of the household workload (laundry, cutting lawn, cleaning gutters, etc.). If they were away at school, they would still have do things (such as laundry, possibly cooking). These are life skills.

OR

  • I would allow them to stay if they had a serious health condition (which physically keeps them from working) without any rent or expectations. But they better have more than a hang nail.

There are a lot of things to consider here but generally, yes. I would have to charge my kids rent. It teaches them independence, responsibility and how to properly prioritize things.

I remember something I read from the internet. The mother had charged his son rent for around a couple years. His mother kept all the money his son paid to her. When his son was about to move out, finally getting his own place,  his mother gave him the money as a send-off gift.

Last edited by LaineLou

Parents should charge adult children rent. It doesn't have to be market rate but it shouldn't be a token, either. Use formal contract which should include things like chores for shared spaces and how/if utilities are split. Give them a shelf in the fridge and a kitchen cabinet so they know they can have "their" things. Respect boundaries, don't nag. Give them a key and don't set curfew on them. If they want to join you for a meal and you're agreeable, welcome it. If they eat out all the time because they want to, don't complain. Meet every six months or so to tweak arrangement as needed. I wouldn't "evict" child but I would let them know the arrangement isn't working any more and they need to find different living arrangements - and set a deadline. Discuss what they can take with them and what belongs to the household.

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