Complicated Question About Charging Rent to Boyfriend

Updated on August 26, 2014
S.Z. asks from Beverly Hills, CA
12 answers's complcated. In our blended family situation, my oldest, who is turning 20 at the end of the year, is living at home, and we allowed his partner (22) to move in with us when he graduated college, because he is from another city and I guess I felt badly for my son (or maybe I wasn't thinking at all). We love them both. My son stopped going to college to focus full time on developing the charitable organization he started 4 years ago - it's a full time job that pays him no money (yet). I support that, although my hubby would prefer he actually make some money. Ok...gets complicated now..... so my son's partner couldn't find a job after graduation so hubby offered him a job. He's been working for him for about 3 months now. So, hubby thinks we should be charging them rent since neither is in school anymore. I'm thinking he's right, but I'm not sure how to approach it, and would just love some feedback. The boyfriend and my son have a room and washroom in our basement. My son shares my car, and we pay his insurance, and his cell phone. I'm not sure what the situation is with the boyfriend in terms of him getting money from his mom? I could ask her, but should I have a conversation with the boyfriend first? What do I say? And then if I do decide to charge rent, how much? We're feeding him, and he comes with us to all the life events, and came with on a holiday this summer. It's a totally new situation since this is our oldest, and I really appreciate feedback....especially if there's anyone out there who has had a partner of their adult child move in with them. Thanks so much.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

I say determine a reasonable amount for the couple. Let them divvy it up and come up with the amount together.

6 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Milwaukee on

My sister & I both came back home to live after our initial college experiences. While we both had jobs, neither of us made a ton of money, and our folks were generous to welcome us back & help us get on our feet properly. Kuddos to you & your hubs for doing the same here, esp to extend that to your son's boyfriend.

I think at this time, it would be appropriate to sit down with both of them & talk about how they can contribute to the household, as you are all adults. Maybe that would involve paying rent, or contributing towards the groceries & utilities, along with helping maintain the house through the seasons & repairs.

In my mind, I see this as a conversation with both of them as a unit, not treating the boyfriend differently than your son. You didn't take in a boarder, but instead have integrated him into your family. I also would not involve his mother - this should be a discussion amongst the adults in your family, about how everyone is able to be a contributing member of the household, whether that is through direct monetary assistance, or a blend with activities. It would also be a good time to address the usage of the car, & coverage of the insurance & cell phone with your son.

Strive for open, honest communication, without worrying about whether you guys are "getting back your fair due", but keeping the energy focused on you & your husband's desire to help them both succeed & working to find a way to do that which benefits everyone and doesn't exploit anyone.

Good luck! T.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Only responding to agree with previous posters. It's great that they have big plans, and they should also be supporting themselves to some extent as well as contributing to the benefit of the family group as a whole.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Hi Mama, I vote that you charge them both rent. You sit them both down and say, "You are both adults so it is time to pay rent. We have given you time to settle in and get on your feet and now it is time for you to contribute as adults to the place you live. We are charging you each $ per month to live here. This starts in three months." This gives them each some time to plan for this expense. I think adults who are not full time students should contribute to the household income. It helps teach them valuable lessons. It doesn't have to be a huge amount of $ but enough for them to sacrifice and budget. Blessings!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

They BOTH need to pay rent. Since your son isn't making money, then he needs to help around the house or do whatever he can to "pitch in" while he is living with you.

When I graduated from college, I lived with my grandmother for a short time. I paid her $100/month and I was fine with it because I was using her food, water, electricity, etc. It's only fair. If money is super tight for both of them, then work out a way for them to pitch in so that it feels like a balanced relationship.

If they were not living under your roof, they'd have to come up with something. It's completely appropriate to ask them to contribute to the household.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i think it's lovely that you're being welcoming and gracious to your adult child and his partner, but yes, adults behave like adults and pay rent. did your son discuss his decision to 'develop a charitable organization' instead of work at an income-producing job? because that's what functional adults do. if they want to develop no-income ventures, they do it on the side.
it's a huge red flag to me that these two grown men seem to expect you to house and feed them, and don't offer anything in return.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

ETA - just read your SWH - Doesn't matter how old he is, he is an adult. He made the decision to quit school and run a charitable organization. That is wonderful but let me ask, what happens in 10 years if he is still not taking a salary? Will you still support him? He needs to understand that all choices have a consequence. You have been very generous with your home for him and his partner. But you are doing a disservice to both young men. You are not teaching them to be responsible for themselves. Paying rent is what adults do. They are adults. Again, I would say

"guys, we have given you time to get on your feet but now its time to start contributing to the financials. Rent in the amount of $$$ (what you decide) is required. It is due at the first of each month. Here is a lease agreement, please read and sign. If you don't want to sign, I certainly understand and I will be happy to give you 30 days to find appropriate housing." You will get blow back. Your son will say "but mom, my charitable organization isn't making enough money for me to take a salary, I thought you supported this". I would say "yes son, I'm so proud of you. However, you are wanting to live as an adult and I want to treat you as an adult. These are things adults have to do, pay rent, insurance, healthcare, cellphone." Those all have a cost. Welcome to adulthood.

We told our kids that if they didn't want to go to university that was fine BUT they had to find a job and move out in 6 months. I am not going to support an adult child forever. Not going to happen. I will help but there is a limit. Also, I don't pay for boyfriends/girlfriends.

They are a couple living in your home. You charge them as a couple.

After our daughter graduated from college, she moved back home. She had a job but she needed to be home for a few months to build up her bank account. She lived with us rent free for about 6 months. She saved every penny and couldn't wait to get out. We did not move her boyfriend in with us. No way. If they want to play house, they are paying for it not me!!

That is what they are doing, playing house and you are paying for it. I would let my son know that while I support his efforts in starting a charitable organization, y'all hadn't discussed financial responsibilities to the family unit. I would charge them rent as a couple. I would also write up a lease agreement with the amount spelled out and what date it was due by. I would also tell my son that he has 3 months to either get this organization off the ground or find a job because his bills will be coming to him. He wants to act like an adult, you need to treat him like an adult.

As for the boyfriend's mother, she is not involved in this. She really has nothing to do with this situation. If the boyfriend is a college graduate and has a job, he needs to grow up and starting paying his way.

Also, I wouldn't be forking over money for family vacations for these two. They need to make some money and move out. Its time for them to put the big boy pants on.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

I think both guys should pay as a unit. Say $300/month. If the boyfriend wants to pick up the full tab to support them both - then great. If he says - wait a minute, I should only pay half- that is between them. In my opinion your son should have a part-time job to cover some of his expenses (cell phone, gas and rent).......its great that he is developing a charitable organization, but not making him responsible(as an adult) for at least part of the expenses for his life isn't teaching him much.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I think you both need to figure out what you want to say to them.

This is what I'd do but if you can afford to financially support them you might want to use a different reason.

Call a family meeting by letting your son know you want to talk about future plans and finances.

Open the meeting by saying how much you love having XXXX living there and this is in no way suggesting he can't stay there anymore. That you want him to stay.

Suggest that money is tight for everyone and you too feel it. That you'd like to suggest some options to the guys and let them talk about it then get back to you.

Ask them to visit with each other and see if there is any way they can contribute to the household expenses. If only one of them is working they may be paying bills you don't know about and they may not have much. You also don't know what the boyfriends monthly obligations for outside bills are too.

Ask them to contribute to groceries, $100 per month? Bi-weekly?

Suggest that son look for work for the evening hours and weekends so he can also contribute to the household expenses. Working on his project would probably take his daytime hours right? That's when most businesses are open that he might be trying to get them to work with him.

I'd suggest several ways they can contribute.

Chores specifically assigned to them like dishes after dinner every single day whether they are eating or not.



Painting the outside of the house

Cleaning carpets or scrubbing the garage floors

Cooking several evenings per week

The things that will help them contribute more to the family even if they don't have money.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Why would you think this is complicated. It's really very simple.

I would not allow my adult child's "partner" to move in so I'd never be in that position. But yes, you should be charging both your adult son and his partner rent. Sorry, but your son is an adult and NO adult lives in a house, has food, a car, insurance and a cell phone without paying for it. At least not in the real world (absent trust fund). I don't believe in adults living for free, especially on my dime. Also, it's a way for them to learn how to be financially responsible, feel good about themselves and learn what it's like to pay bills and perhaps not be able to have/get everything they want versus things they need. You are doing them a disservice in the long run by not charging them rent.

What you say is "Free ride is over boys. Time for you two to step up to the plate like adults and pay rent." It's really very simple. I charge my adult SS and just increased his rent recently because he's been having his daughter more often and the more she's there, the higher my household expenses are (food/water/electricity). I am not paying to support him OR his children.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

You cannot support them forever, while it is nice to help them out for awhile they are grown ups and need to learn to live on their own. I would personally set rent and a deadline for moving out on their own. Maybe part of the their rent money you can set aside and give it to them after they move out of the house as a nest egg of sorts.


answers from Chicago on

I would determine an amount that "the couple" is responsible for paying each month. How they split it up is up to them, but there are no free rides in life. I will only allow my adult children to live with me if they are either enrolled in school FT (doesn't have to be for a Bachelors--trade school is sufficient to me), earning good grades, and on pace to finish their degree/certificate within 2 semesters of the average length it takes to obtain that degree/certificate.

I say this because I see what my free-loading brother is doing to my parents. He's the "baby" of the family, and at the age of 26 is still living at home, expecting my parents to pay for some of his bills and provide him with a car, while he works menial jobs and prays to be "discovered" for his amazing (not really--just in his own mind) vocal and comedic talents.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions