Dear Parents of Adult Children – Start Charging Your Kids Rent!

Dear Parents of Adult Children – Start Charging Your Kids Rent!

I am always amazed at how many grown men & women are still living with their parents and not paying a dime in rent. This is one of those subjects that I feel so passionately about, that I will argue with you for hours about how I’m right and you’re wrong.

If adult children are not out on their own, they should be paying rent (at a minimum!). Are your adult children giving you rent money every month? If you’re an adult living at home, are you coughing up any cash for mom and dad? If not – it’s time to give your head a good shake, because you’re doing it all wrong (sorry, I told you I’m passionate about this!).

Why Should Adult Children Living at Home Pay Rent?

In the majority of cases, parents are the ones to blame in this situation. I know you think that allowing your child to live at home rent-free is helping them, but what you’re really doing is hindering them. And you’re hindering them quite a bit.

By the time your child does move out on their own, they are going to be punched in the face with reality. Not only are they going to have to pay rent, but they will have to find the cash to pay for heat, electricity, groceries – and a multitude of other things.

When you make sure your child pays rent each month, you are teaching them to be responsible with their money. When they live at home, working, and you don’t force them to give them any cash, they are learning to live on a disposable income that they will never, ever have once they leave the nest.

And that’s not what you want your kids to be learning, right?

I Can’t Take Money from My Kids!

Oh, but you can, and you should. Remember, by taking rent money from your children, you are teaching them financial responsibility. You are showing them that they can’t just indulge in themselves until they first take care of their responsibilities. That’s life. That’s what the real world is all about.

Kids Living at Home

They won’t like it. They will hate it, actually. But one day down the road, they will thank you for it. I promise you that.

“We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt (Click to Tweet)

When Should I Start Charging Rent?

As soon as your kids have a full time job, it’s time for you to get paid for allowing them to live in your home. If they’re still in school and struggling financially, and you’re secure enough to help them out, then go for it.

Otherwise, they need to fork over the cash.

But They’re Living at Home to Save Money!

I hate this excuse. I really do. Of course they’re living at home to save money – what other reason could there be?

The fact of the matter is that everyone should be saving money anyway, whether you live at home or not. Saving money should be a part of your life, just as much as paying your other bills is.

Paying Rent to Parents

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to teach your kids about life. How they should behave, what they should expect, and everything in between. By not charging your kids rent, you’re creating a false sense of reality for them. The real world requires rent – so start making your child pay!

Would you ever charge your kids rent? Why or why not?


  1. Paula

    In r house its as long as your in school you dont have to pay rent if your not in school you pay rent so if you dont want to pay rent go to school easy right going through it right now its almost like pulling teeth to get money from my kid but I still force her I agree with you I have siblings that still live at home and they don’t pay rent and I find there reluctant to start there own l8fes because they don’t have to pay rent so if anything its hindering them from becoming productive members of society we see kid’s living at home in there 30s now even older what happens when you die alot m5 friends uncle lived with hes mommy all his life she died and he went into a downward spiral turned to drugs and alcohol he already had a problem it only got worse lost everything now has nothing struggling to get by on social assistance and not very well I could tell you stories but I would be here a while if you r financial stable take the money they givebyou and put it into a savings account don’t tell them that and give it to them when they get married move out on there own or have there first kid wow what a surprise to help them out

  2. Rosie

    Perhaps a good idea would be to switch a utility bill over to their name. That way, they feel as though they’re directly contributing to the household (and perhaps would cause less resentment than if they were just handing mom and dad cash). Also, it would allow them to build up their credit while still using the “safety net” of home.

  3. Catherine

    My mom said as long as I was in school (full time) then I did not have to pay rent but when I decided to continue my education at night and work full time, then I had to pay rent. It taught me responsibility! Kids have no idea how much running a home costs. It’s not just rent/mortgage. Now that I have children I am doing the same, sort of. My kids are still young but they have certain responsibilities on a weekly basis that they are expected to accomplish. I refuse to raise a spoiled, entitled, lazy child. I would rather my child be strong, self sufficient, independent and ready to take on the world. (let the critisim begin)

  4. Rachel

    I agree with Paula, charge the rent and if you don’t need it to cover the household expenses, put the rent money into a savings account for when your child needs it for a house deposit, wedding etc.

  5. zoey

    I agree wholeheartedly! I also think that the kids should be responsible for their own cell phone bills… on their own. If they want a phone, they should have a part time job to support that phone. People say the phone is for their safety… all that, but the fact is, for thousands of years people have lived safely without cell phones! They should also know what happens if they lose/ break the phone… it should be their responsibility!
    When parents pay for their very young kid to get a cell phone, it starts up a chain reaction to all the friends who want one too, and a burden on those kids who cannot afford to get one. In our house, you got a job to be able to get a phone. My kids started working at 15 1/2 to get their phones and if they don’t want to work during the school year, work and save for the upcoming bills in the summer, when they have time to do so! Phones are not a necessity!
    I agree, that kids need to pay rent once they are working and not going to school. My three are in full time university but they also pay their own university fees. No need for student loans if you live at home and work for the summer. I have friends whose kids are in the same boat but have still taken large student loans… it’s so silly to get into big debt when you live at home and eat for free! with a little effort you can graduate with no debt, if you still live at home!

  6. Erin

    if you really don’t want to take rent money what you can do (my aunt did this with her kids) she charged them rent and unknown to them she place the money in an rrsp in the childs name so that when the time cam for them to actually move out she gave it to them ( they were able to then borrow against that for the down payment on a house and max out their rrsp donations for that year aswell)

  7. SeriousSally

    Yup, once employed full-time the young adult children should absolutely contribute to the household expenses and the roof over their head if they’re not quite ready to be on their own. Honestly, I couldn’t wait to move out of my parent’s home once I was finished school and could support myself, that freedom and independence felt absolutely amazing! I give my head a shake when I pick up my teenage son from his part-time job and see other parents still picking up their “thirty something” year old “kids” at the same time. This society coddles way too much.

  8. Sara

    Agreed. I paid rent as soon as I was out of school. It wasn’t much ($50/week) but I knew it was a good deal compared to having my own appartment.

  9. Barb

    We found an added benefit to making your kid pay rent. My son decided if he was going to have to pay us rent he may as well have his own place…..he now owns his own condo and is getting along just fine. At first we heard grumbling about the cost of utilities, etc. but we just reminded him that’s what we had been paying all along and that was life. So the added benefit…..your adult kid moves out 🙂 We love them but it’s nicer when they just come to visit.

  10. John

    I’m actually going to go against what Cassie has to say, I personally have never paid rent to my parents but then again I am very business minded and have good financial management skills and i have personally made my parents more money than they would have through having me paying rent to them given my background in investments. To this day i still manage their investments and make them money even though i do not live at home.

    I think it all depends on the situation, if your kids are going nowhere and are spending all their money on partying and going out, I can see why you should be charging them rent. But you shouldnt label all young adults the same way.

  11. Janelle

    I haven’t read all the comments but I’m going to argue against this for one reason.. Not all situations are the same. I’m a 22 year old student living at home with my single mom. I worked a year out of high school because I know my family wouldn’t be able to help me pay for school and I couldn’t afford it yet on my own. I’ve been paying for my own car and purchased all my own groceries and health and beauty supplies for over a year now (with the help of Cassie Howard) and in fact my mom and sister often wear my clothes, use my appliances and cleaning products and eat my food. I pay for everything I need except my cell phone, which I would pay for if my mom asked, but to be honest with other expenses I’ve been thankful she hasn’t. I am still learning to manage my finances on my own, working 30 hours a week is not ideal with school, but a girl’s gotta do why a girl’s gotta do! If my mom asked me for rent I’d move out because I’d also get my own space and keep everything I’ve worked to pay for.

    • Olivia

      Janelle, you seem to be a generous, considered and responsible young woman. Bravo! You will do very well in life with all your hard work and life skills.
      This pay- rent -while -living -at- home refers to adult children working FULL-TIME only.
      Best of luck to you.

  12. Hazel

    I would be a terrible mother if I did that! I would ask them to contribute to utility bills if they used things (heat, hydro, water), but never rent. They can save the rent money and put a down payment on a house with it! The sooner they save that money the sooner they are out of my house and into their own.

  13. Lumeena

    My in-laws did something that I think is great. They did charge their grown kids rent once they where old enough to be out of the house. What they actually did with the rent is bank it for them and decided to give it back to them years later once they felt they could use it for something of value. My in-laws are also up in age at this time and they also felt that liquidating their money asset and giving it back to their kids while they are still alive would help with taxes and such…they didn’t want to wait until after they passed and leave it all in their will, since gawd knows the taxman always takes their share.

  14. CandyK

    YES!! Charge your kids rent! This is about life and responsibility. A man/woman should be worthy of their keep.

    One exception: if your children are in debt and are responsible enough to pay off their debt while working and living at home rent-free in order to pay off debt, then I say, yes make an exception and help them. We need to show them mercy in a case like this when the only other option might be bankruptcy. It’s not bad to help your kids in extreme circumstances.

  15. Nicole

    We were lucky to have my parents let us move in for 1.5 years after our first daughter was born. Their own mortgage is paid off (thanks to a previous house sale and inheritance) so we offered to pay for their cable, internet and phone bills (the entertainment bills) plus half the grocery bill. That along with learning to coupon, RRSPs and Having a good credit helped us buy our first home within that year and a half.

    I like the idea of charging kids rent but saving the money for them for their own down payments/etc.

  16. Ray

    My parents charged me rent when I was around 17-18. They called it ‘board’. When I was in school and working weekends, they charged me less; In the winters when I wasn’t working, they didn’t charge me; when I worked full-time for the summer breaks they charged me more. It eventually got up to $200/month(I moved out approx 7 years ago). I had to drop out of my 3rd year of college 10 years ago because I was SO terribly broke(even though I had contributed approx $3000 to my parents for board).

    So, I started working for an alarm installation company(2006), which paid me $9/hr. I hated it(the wage). My ‘board’ went up to $200 and so I went back to my first job; landscaping/stone work which paid me $12/hr.

    Sure, I had spent too much of my hard earned money on things that I didn’t require. But, this is my ‘life’ we’re talking about here. Now, I am 30. I have no way of living my dream, no option to do what I want to do. I am now working landscaping for $20/hr seasonal. I recently had to give up an electrician apprentice opportunity offered by one of my family members, because I can’t afford a $6/hr pay cut(with 12grand in debt currently to pay off).

    Sure, I had a DUI. Sure, I lost my last vehicle. But, I can assure you that my parents are to blame for most of my frustrations. It was their job from the beginning to ensure that I live a good life. They are very old and very stupid. They don’t know ANYTHING about life(literally)! Not one thing at all.

    Now, does that have anything to do with them charging me rent?? Not entirely. [They we’re morons from the beginning. I have no idea why I am 400x’s smarter than they are. There is no way that I came from their genes! But no, my frustrations are not ‘just’ because of them charging me rent. I resent them from day 1(and I have many reasons to)].

    Them charging me rent did not benefit me at all, as I am an A+ advanced calculus student with a lot of potential. They don’t even know what calculus means!! They think that it’s ‘adding and subtracting with a calculator’. YES, they are that stupid!

    If you want to charge them rent, fine. But, as yourself what they are benefiting out of the situation. Consider ‘all’ the angles. Not just because you want to ‘save money’….

    • Julie

      Wow. I don’t even know what to say. But you sound like an arrogant ungrateful brat.

    • J Wooddisse

      Waaa waaa waaa. What a big baby!

  17. RJReynolds

    I disagree. I can only imagine an adult child moves back home with mom or dad because they are struggling and suffering financial or career setbacks in life. To charge my adult children rent after the fact pretty much defeats the purpose of why they’re coming back home to live.

  18. Jamie

    my daughter will be 21 in 2 months and I have asked her to pay rent (she is not in school and works 2 part time jobs). She has refused to pay the amount I asked for (350/mo) citing she buys her own groceries, toiletries and clothes. She is standing firm that the amount is not reasonable. I don’t want to threaten to throw her out, I just want her to contribute to the expenses of the house. What should I do as talking to her is not helping?

  19. DD

    You know what, Ray? You are the one who is stupid, not your parents! From all that you went on and on about, you’re a brat that has many things to learn in life. Just because you are book smart, does not mean that you are smart in all areas of life. Please, give your parents some credit and don’t look down your nose at them as if they never, ever did you any favours in life. Please, for your own good, take a good hard look at yourself before you spout off like that again.

  20. Jane

    DD, I know this thread goes a few months back at least but thank God for what you said to Ray. I was hoping please let there be someone whom addresses this before I get to the bottom. I felt angry just reading his post. Poor parents.

  21. Sarah

    I agree with charging them my daughter and her son love with me and are not paying a cent she leaves messes for me everywhere, and I have had it. I have told her on many occasions she needs to last rent, but she refused. I know I should kick her out but I worry about my grandson. Any advice

  22. Jayne

    Wow, what’s interesting to me is so many view points from both parents and children. I think that every situation is unique and having dialogue with your children about it and coming to an arrangement that works for everyone well, that has worked for us. There is no right or wrong answer. My child is 21 and in his last year of University. His Dad and I have been divorced since he was 3. His tuition has been completely paid by us collectively and he lives at home with me. He has paid his own phone bill and still does since he began a part time job in Grade 11. He continues to work part time while he is in University and works full time during the summer months. So big question, I “do” charge him rent, and I think the amounts as I read through all of the comments are really important. I charge him 200 a month during the months while he is in school and 300 when he is out of school and working full time hours. Keep in mind, he has no debt because tuition was paid. Anyway, this amount was agreed to by the two us. I work full time to support our home, bills and food and I do this on my own. So when we discussed this we agreed upon an amount that would work for both of us and “he” agreed that he should be kicking in. And honestly, this just helps out with groceries but to me, it keeps him working and accountable. Otherwise, he’d be playing video games even more than he does now and I would be angry and resenting it. I thought about the amount initially and asked him if he thought it was a fair and he agreed that it was so we’re good. And in fact, he brags to his friends about it. He’s proud that he helps out! He still has money left for buying clothes and going out so it’s an amount that works for both of us. When he graduates and is working full time or whatever, I’m sure he’ll either move out or if he wants to continue to live at home, this amount will change. Also, I fully intend to give him this money back to help him out later on but he doesn’t know that. I am the only parent out of our circle who charges their kid rent and they think it’s great! I am also the only single parent in this group. What’s in common is that we all have the same complaint, (too much time spent playing video games) but they always say, “at least your kid is helping out with the bills!!!” 🙂 At the end of the day, I honestly never feel great about asking him for this money it but it gives him better time management skills, and a touch of reality in that he has to work to cover 200 for rent and pay his phone bill…

  23. Ellen

    This is such an interesting and helpful article and posts! My 18 year old graduated high school with a 4.0 and a great scholarship one year ago and has been working part time only for some time now…as in, no school. She says she wants to go to school but appeared unmotivated/scared to do anything about it. We also observed that she was becoming quite comfortable living a bit irresponsibly and started breaking house rules. She proclaimed that because she’s 18 she can do what she wants. So we decided to lay down the law including charging her rent (which secretly we will return to her when the time is right). She cried like a baby as she proclaimed “How can you do this, I’m 18, just a child” We doubted our decision because it was so painful for us to see her suffer but since then she has re-applied to school, gotten a better job and is getting her life on track. I believe now it was the kindest thing to do to hold her accountable as an adult. Every situation is different but if your kiddo is stuck I think a little reality call can and often does help. I am certain she would be sleeping all day, playing video games excessively, leaving messes, and doing little for her future if we had allowed it.

  24. Preston

    First, your child should be 18 in order to charge for rent. Doesn’t mean you have to buy items they want, that should be the first goal. See if they can have the ability to save for things that they really want. A vehicle is a big one, heck they are more than fifty thousand dollars now. Next, teach them about the value of saving income, then advance them to be able to use someone else’s money to get what they want. This should be taught at an early age especially now, he who saves loses, he how invests and gains becomes independent. Explain to them about amortisation and why the vehicle purchase should be only to make income or to help improve your life considerably. Buy a big truck if you can make an extra 50 thousand a year using it for business. Buy property, anything, develop it.
    We all see something in the future and if you believe in saving your money while the government is printing then you are going to realize later that your money you saved today will be worth half as much in a couple of years. Best to be able to use finance and credit but have low to no amortization and as inflation increases, have assets that also. I would teach that to teenagers. Having them buy their wants in the beginning is healthy, keeping a roof over their head till they are old enough to sign a contract is your obligation. How are you going to charge for rent when you don’t obey the landlord tenants act? They could have you fined. I would recommend any child under the age of 18 and not on a signed lease with their parents, call the police and call the human rights of Canada or the USA. Am I wrong here?

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*