Should I Charge my Adult Child Rent? Should Or Shouldn’t

When you reach a certain maturity level, you may find it more convenient to live at home with your parents.

Adult children sometimes move back home with their parents at times of adversity, such as unemployment, divorce, or financial troubles. Others may see it as a way to pay off debt or save money before stepping out on their own.

However, there comes a time when parents of adult children who still live at home must determine whether or not to charge their son or daughter rent.

The Return Home Trend

It’s fine to go home to figure out what to do next if you need to. The way the world works has changed dramatically. Once upon a time, couples were expected to marry within a few months after each other’s college graduation.

Fewer and fewer young adults marry shortly after graduating from college. Furthermore, the job market for graduates has been static for the previous four to eight years. There’s also the big issue of repaying student loans.

Should I Charge my Adult Child Rent?

Those who did not immediately enroll in graduate school or who were having difficulty obtaining job established a precedent by returning to live with their parents.

What felt like a brief span of time might sometimes last years. Every May, swarms of recent college graduates return to their hometowns (even though the job market has warmed back up).

Many parents’ readiness to have their adult children come back in with them and provide for their fundamental needs (according to Maslow’s hierarchy) has contributed to this trend.

Should I Charge my Adult Child Rent?

Many financial experts believe that if an adult child lives in the parent’s house or other property owned by the parent, the parent should charge the adult child rent.

Financial counselors have seen numerous cases where young adults who do not take their responsibilities of paying rent seriously fall into the trap of accruing enormous consumer debt and become unable to satisfy their rent or mortgage commitments.

Those who are aware of the need of paying rent and other fixed expenditures first are less likely to fall behind on their housing payments, even if they have high levels of consumer debt.

Should I Charge my Adult Child Rent?

Children moving back in with their parents is uncommon for a variety of reasons, including costly rent, a lack of cheap housing, a job trouble, excessive education debt, or other financial challenges. It’s a reasonable question to explore if you should charge your grown child a leasing fee.

It makes sense from every aspect. “A youngster is legally an adult and hence rent-chargeable once he/she attains the age of majority at 18 years old,” says Collen Clark, founding partner of Schmidt & Clark, LLP.

A person has grown enough independence and a healthy sense of responsibility at this time in life to be liberated from parental duties.

Why Charging Rent Is a Good Idea

There are several reasons why charging rent to an adult child is a smart idea. To begin with, you should not be paying for an adult child since you should be saving for your own retirement. Furthermore, making your child pay rent sends the message that you respect economic responsibility.

Last but not least, charging rent prevents your child from being accustomed to free housing, making them less inclined to seek out their own place.

How To Charge Your Adult Child Rent

The best course of action is to communicate freely and explicitly with your child about your financial expectations for rent payment.

Clark noted that before anything else, “a discourse must take place outlining all of the living circumstances of the stay.”

“It would suffice to initiate a sit-down dialogue in which the length of the stay, as well as whether they will contribute to house expenses, may invite other people to stay over, are responsible for their own meals and/or laundry, and pay money or not, is addressed.”

Should I Charge my Adult Child Rent?

According to Clark, having this talk may assist parents in determining if they require a formal leasing agreement.

In such a circumstance, he continued, the lease must contain a fair rent increase to account for the increased expenditures you’ll have to bear as a result of your child moving back in with you.

At the end of the day, everything is still negotiable at the discretion of the parents and the child,” Clark concluded.

How Much To Charge For Rent

If you decide that charging your grown child rent is OK, how much should you charge them? In my experience, parents frequently have incredibly low rates. Your objective as parents is to give support while also boosting your child’s financial literacy.

The capacity of your child to pay will have a considerable influence on how much you charge, and that figure may change throughout their time with you. It shouldn’t be too tough to come up with a reasonable fee for your loved ones if you keep an open communication and explain why you’ll be charging them.

What If Your Child Cannot Afford To Pay Rent?

Clark is correct; there is always potential for bargaining in any circumstance affecting you and your child. If your child is unable to pay what you consider to be a decent rent, you may choose to bargain.

If your child is just beginning out in the workforce, you might want to explore lowering the rent to assist them.

Should I Charge my Adult Child Rent?

You can increase the amount as soon as your child shows indications of improvement. You may agree to cut the rent by 50% for the first three to six months, and then starting in the seventh month, you could increase the rent by 10% (or more) each month until your child is paying 100% of the rent.

Another alternative is to have your child assist you around the house, pay specific bills, or even go grocery shopping with you.

Clark warned parents not to rely on verbal agreements since they can lead to misunderstandings and even abuse, whether full or partial rent is levied or additional payments are allowed.

What to Do with the Money

Rent from a youngster might be used to pay for food or petrol. If you choose this option, it’s critical to be open and honest with your child about how you’re spending his or her money.

If your kid sees that their rent is going toward paying off the house, boosting the food budget that has dropped since leaving for college, or repaying a parent PLUS loan taken out to help pay for their education, he or she will realize the importance of paying rent.

A “parental 401(k)” can be set up discreetly for parents who do not intend to use their child’s assets in the near future. Without even realizing it, a child will learn to save money in this manner. When the kid is ready to leave home, the nest egg may be delivered to the child in the form of a check or placed into a bank account.

In the same manner that a firm may match a percentage of an employee’s contribution, generous parents may do the same. By doing so, you may plant the seed for your child to engage in his or her employer’s retirement plan.

Alternatives to Charging Rent

The idea of charging a child rent is contentious among parents. Simply said, it is not comfortable. It’s OK if that’s the case, but it doesn’t mean your newly-nested millennial can avoid contributing.

Instead of expecting a child to pay a specific sum each month, have them contribute to the family’s monthly grocery budget or a utility payment such as water, electric, or cable. One option is to go back to the good old days of the work wheel.


Consider how big of a learning opportunity this is for your child. Parents in this situation may be able to give vital advise on budgeting and personal finance just as their child is beginning to experience the consequences of these issues.

Should I Charge my Adult Child Rent?

If your adult child is responsible for paying rent and budgeting their minimal earnings, they will rapidly understand the worth of a dollar.

As a parent, you may wish to be resourceful and put your child’s rent money (and maybe a matching amount) into a savings account rather than spending it on other things.

If they don’t anticipate it, they’ll be surprised to discover that they have a small savings account with which to leave the house.

Other Considerations

I consistently emphasize the importance of clients’ personal budget and future goals. If your grown child intends to move back in with you, make certain that the addition of another adult to the home will not interfere with your plans.

Should I Charge my Adult Child Rent?

You should develop a household budget that provides for the increased expenditures you anticipate spending in light of your goals and timetable with your grown child.

I am certain that if you have an open conversation with your adult child, you will be able to devise a practical approach for dealing with this circumstance.


The majority of parents want nothing but the best for their children, which includes a stable financial future. Parents who have had financial difficulties may understand how difficult it may be to pay rent and costs on a monthly basis.

Although it is human nature and a good deed for parents not to make their adult children pay rent, doing so may be detrimental to the adult child.

Many financial experts believe that if an adult child lives in the parent’s house or other property owned by the parent, the parent should charge the adult child rent.

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Pat Moriarty
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