Should I Charge my Adult Children Rent?

Should I Charge my Adult Children Rent?

Written by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated November 28, 2016

When adult children live at home, it’s inevitable that the idea of rent will come up at least once if not more. How much should you be charging your children, who are well into adulthood, to live in the family home? Will there be strings attached to this money? What are the expectations of both you and your child? When it comes to money and children there are a lot of hard decisions to be made, most of them extremely personal. So if you’ve decided that your adult children don’t need to pay rent, then that’s okay, but we’re going to play devil’s advocate and take a look at why it might actually be a great idea to charge your children rent.

It’s an Opportunity to Teach Them a Lesson about Money

At some point or another in your life, you learned about money, the value of a dollar, and what it means to earn an income. Maybe your parents taught you from a young age. Maybe you had to learn it by yourself the hard way. Maybe you’re still trying to learn it. Whatever you’re current level of money knowledge is you should want your children to have the chance to learn about money too. Charging them rent is a great way to give them the chance to learn.

5 Financial Fixes to Make Before the New Year,read here

Life is not Free, or Cheap, or Even Affordable Sometimes

When your 25-year-old child is working a full time job and living at home rent free, the amount of money they have to spend on whatever they want is out of this world and won’t be maintainable once they finally do leave (or are thrown out of) the nest. Charging them rent will force them to learn to manage their cash flow better. Going from zero fixed bills to one, may not seem like that big of a change, but it will without a doubt help your child start to make better financial decisions.

Financial independence or at least an understanding of what is required to attain financial independence is one of the best gifts you can give your child. Life is not easy or free or even affordable sometimes, teach your children this and once they’re on their own, it won’t be such a huge shock and maybe they’ll even be less likely to run back home at the first sign of an issue.

Consider Other Types of “Rent”

If you’re really not into the idea of charging your child a fixed amount of money to live at home, you could always consider a different form of rent. Manual labour anyone? All jokes aside, there is no reason why your child shouldn’t be pitching in around the house. Whatever it is that you need done, hand off some of those tasks to your child, whether it’s a weekly grocery run, laundry, the dishes, taking care of the family pet, driving around a younger sibling, or all of the above. You might not be helping them learn the lessons they need to learn about growing up and money, but you’ll be showing them how much work it takes to keep a household going (hopefully this won’t scare them into never leaving your house).

You could also consider asking your children to set financial goals or increase their contributions to their savings accounts if they’re going to continue to live under your roof. You can use this as an opportunity to help them save up for a down payment on a house, pay off student loan debt, or simply get a head start on saving for a rainy day. This way you won’t be technically charging them rent, but you’ll still be teaching them a lesson about money.

Need more information about saving for a down payment? Click here.

How to Bring up the Subject of Rent

Having trouble starting the rent conversation? Here are a few tips to help you bridge the topic and hopefully accomplish the goal of having your child agree to pay rent.

  1. Remember that you are the parents and the house is yours that you’ve worked hard to pay for it.
  2. But, also remember that your child is now an adult and should have a more mature understanding of what it means and costs to keep a household going.
  3. Tell your child that you want to talk to them about how much it’s costing you to have them living at home (check out this infographic about the cost of groceries in Canada).
  4. Sit down and have a conversation about it.
  5. Explain that you’re willing to compromise on the price of rent.
  6. Make sure your child knows that you simply want help covering the costs of the household items and benefits that they use on a daily basis.
  7. Come to an agreement about the price and also set a date that the rent should be paid on. You may also want to discuss what will happen if your child is unable to pay the rent on time or at all.

If you’re nervous or unsure about asking your adult children to pay rent, keep in mind that you don’t want to put your own financial stability at risk simply to allow them to live at home for a couple more years. By charging rent, you’ll help your child learn to manage their money and you’ll reduce the financial burden that they are putting on your household budget.


Rating of 4/5 based on 11 votes.

Caitlin Wood is the Editor-in-Chief at Loans Canada and specializes in personal finance. She is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. Caitlin has covered various subjects such as debt, credit, and loans. Her work has been published on Zoocasa, GoDaddy, and deBanked. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security.

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