Charging Adult Children Rent?

Why hello! We’ve talked a bit about this in the past with this thread:

What is "parental financial assistance"? - NYTimes article

But a twitter thread based on this tweet:

Led me to wonder how much it comes down to cultural background - did you charge rent to your adult children? Were you charged rent? And starting at what age?

And the most important factor - what’s your cultural background? This thread posits that charging adult children rent seems to be a mainly white north american working class/middle class trend.

(I’m midwestern, white, middle class with working class parents, and was charged rent when I turned 18.)


Huh. I only lived at home for four months after turning 18 (I was off to college pretty quickly) and my parents never mentioned anything like rent to me. Maybe they would have if I wasn’t college bound, or if they’d had the money to pay for my college, but they definitely encouraged me to put my paychecks towards tuition instead.

(white, inland north, lower middle class with appalachian roots)

ETA: I also never lived at home after college. I basically visited over winter breaks and used their address as my permanent address, but I was financially independent. That may also factor in.


I’m white, grew up middle class.
In my family it was understood that kids move out when they finish high school. I moved out the day after graduation.
I’m nicer than that, and I like my kids more than my parents liked me. They can stay for as long as they want, but they will be expected to contribute as equal adults in the household. That means household chores and financial contributions.
It would be different if I had a lot of income, but I don’t. The child support and child tax I get for them make a difference to us, and when those end I can’t support the three of us alone. Adult kids working and paying rent is an economic necessity.
I’m easing them into it. Already (at 12 & 14) they do almost 1/3 of the housework each. The 14 year old gets a monthly amount for spending on transportation and clothing. He budgets carefully and gets to spend leftover funds on whatever he wants.

So yes, my kids will pay rent when they turn 18.


Another white middle class one here! I was NOT charged rent. I moved back in right after college for a couple years. I worked multiple part time teaching jobs while applying to graduate school but also confirming that I didn’t want to pursue my pre-college plan of teaching high school English. I was homeschooled much of K-12 so I think part of it was that my parents were used to living with me and we had (and still have) a really close relationship. Also worth noting that this was a) 2008 and b) the Bay Area, so the economy was… not great and local rent was pretty steep. As the only vegetarian (and sometimes vegan) in the family, I did buy most of my own food. I had a reasonable plan to move out for grad school in two years, which is exactly what happened. I don’t know if their perspective would be different if I didn’t have pretty clear move out date, though my brother moved back home without a clear plan to move out following his military service and I don’t think they charged him. Some of my cousins also spent time living at home after age 18 and I don’t think any of them paid rent either. I imagine I might charge for a kid if it was a chronic living at home situation rather than a set briefer period, though I imagine it would depend on the circumstances!


Me: very white, raised in Australia, poverty class. I received welfare from age 16 (youth allowance); 16-18 my youth allowance payment went straight to my mother as my board (single parent, living below the poverty line until I turned 16 and she lost her single parent welfare payment and went back to work earning a decent wage). When I turned 18 I moved in with my Dad and paid him board the entire time I lived with him, I think $50 - $75 a week increasing over time. I paid this from my youth allowance / austudy payment (welfare) or from wages, depending on which bit of uni I’m talking about. There were times he was flush with cash (six figure inheritance) and times he was not (underemployed and seriously underpaid), but either way, my board helped offset the cost of keeping me which I’m not sure he could consistently afford without any contribution from me. It was cheaper for me than living out of home, so still a good deal for me financially even aside from all the non-financial benefits of living with my Dad for the first time ever. Plus I don’t think I would have ended up completing my degree if I didn’t have a parent’s support during uni, so that’s made a huge difference to my finances over however many years.

Mr HaH: very white, raised in Scotland, then Australia, by Scottish and English parents, middle class: paid board starting in late uni or just after uni when he started work - he’s not 100% sure. At that point his mum was a single parent with a good job, and only charged him nominal board (he thinks maybe $50 a week?) to help offset the cost of feeding him etc. He thinks it was still a great deal for him - he was able to save his house deposit living at home and keeping costs low.

So basically, we both think that it was a great deal for us.

It’s 15+ years away for us and who knows how the world will be by then, but if circumstances are roughly equal to when we were young adults, we will most likely charge our kid board once he’s finished school and is at uni or pursuing a career. A friend’s parents charged all three of their kids board but secretly socked it away in special savings accounts, and gave the money to them at their first big adult milestone e.g. buying their first house. It’s a lovely idea that I’d like to copy, but I think it worked because in that scenario all three kids were already making good decisions about money. If my kid spent money like water, I don’t know if I’d be willing to hand them that much in a lump sum.


Hallo. Australian, middle/upper middle class, caucasian. Parents were middle class, white collar parents on one side and well-off farmers on the other.

I moved to the city to live with my grandmother to attend university. My living expenses and university fees were paid for by a combination of my parents, an uncle, and my grandmother fed & housed me in her large, fully owned house. I come from a culture of “pay it forward (if you can afford it)”. I did pay the internet costs, but otherwise I didn’t work or earn money while studying, and the expectation was that I focus on that & earn grades. My siblings had some combination of above, but only two of us had a fairly straightforward path. My parents paid rent for the youngest two to live in the city for their studies when my grandmother moved to a retirement home. Definitely a team effort to get all 4 of us well educated. Of note, 2 launched to decent & high paying jobs, 1 moved home and is sorting his head out, 1 is yet to finish her studies.

My grandmother fully expected my parents to pay for my education (to the best of their ability) and wedding, and would expect me to do the same for my own children. The rich keeping the rich, rich?

ETA: my mum and dad were expected to work somewhat during their own studies, my mum to cover her own expenses and board at her grandma’s; unsure about my dad, but at least his non-housing expenses I think he would’ve earnt money for.


My great grandmother did this for my mum. Mum lived with Great Grandma while she was studying at University, and GG gave her the lump sum when she moved out.


Australian, middle class, caucasian.
Moved out at 18 for university and relocated cities). Never had to rebound for any significant amount of time and also had pretty good government study payments (youth allowance).

It might be different for Baby PDM if he wants to stay living at home to go to nearby university. I don’t think I’d want to charge him rent if it forced him to take on a job on top of study to pay it. I guess we’ll cross that bridge in 16ish years.


Hi!!! I just spent the entire time I read responses trying to remember what led my family to compare something to "that weird white north American thing where they kick kids our at 18.’ Because we just discussed this last week.

I am
Middle class indo-guyanese
Working class Irish/Scottish via England

Raised as a 1.5th generation Canadian suburbanite. Is this specific enough? Because that makes me either me or my brother.

I can literally show up to any relative’s house up to my parents’ cousins level, whether they have ever met me or not, and they will have to house me and asking me for rent would be entirely unacceptable. The catch is, unless I’m relocating to a new country or province, it would be equally rude of me to do this, except when it’s rude of me not to. Fair or equal household contributions are expected. Rent specifically is taboo. So for the aunt who’s family was on benefits in England, when the kids started getting benefits their share of benefits was expected to go into the pot, and they were expected to contribute chore wise. My parents did not need any money from me, so when I temporarily lived there I was expected to do more than my share of chores, to buy groceries that they would also share (but they also did groceries), to share my books and anything cool I had that they didn’t. And, painfully, to entertain them. A middle ground for a family member living with a sibling who doesn’t need rent money might be to pay some of the household bills, or to pay the bills of another family member who has less income.

Also household contribution is not a thing to be discussed. That is as weird as charging adult rent. People should offer and be refused, and when it’s the correct offer it will be eventually accepted. It is super awkward if someone is so tone deaf that it needs discussing, or one of my aunts had to kick out a cousin once to teach him responsibility. I think he was 28, and it had been debated since he was 19.

Anyway, the weird thing we were comparing to kicking kids out, was the practice of having visitors stay at hotels or not offering your room if they are more qualified to get your room.


Oh yeah, I had a few friends get caught out by this and the change in rules. Er, this may be an unneccessary trip sideways into Australian stuff. The income of some of my friends parents meant that my friends weren’t eligible for welfare, even though they moved out of home and weren’t given any assistance from their parents. For some friends, this was just manageable as they could work during a Gap Year and earn the amount required to meet the requirements (there was a loophole wherein if you earnt $X during 12 months, you were then considered independent). Then they changed it to $Y earnt in 18 months, and a university/ higher ed place won’t hold your spot for that long, so it mucked some folks right over. The exactly kind of people who actually needed that money. facepalm

ETA: I wasn’t eligible for any government assistance, because my Dad earnt too much, but they had 3 kids at home a couple of hours drive from my university. I’m not sure what arrangements we would have made if we hadn’t family available to support me. I don’t think I am a person for whom working + university study would have gone well, so I’m very grateful that I got the chance to focus instead of likely ending up needing to work and study part time.

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I am: white, raised in the south (Louisiana), low-ish/middle class. I was raised early on in an environment where I was led to believe that if I were to live with my parents after 18 I would no doubt be charged rent. It was really an empty threat though, because as I got older, and my parents started to move more into a comfortable financial position, they would tell me that I could always fall back on them if there was a time I needed to move back in. I did live with them over the summer twice in college, just because most college apartment leases were only through the school year and I had no where to live in the interim. I went to college for free, but my parents helped me with rent (which I also never expected after how my early childhood was) and so I don’t think they felt put out by letting me spend a few months at home in college. Their financial situation, as well as many child raising philosophies changed a lot from my high school years to college years, and they became much more generous as I got older. My last semester of college I moved across the country, and never came back, but if I for some reason ever needed to move back in now I know they wouldn’t charge me, though I would probably buy groceries/cook just because that’s what seems right. My parents are at retirement age, and I think would welcome the company of an adult chid living at home, helping out with things, etc.


For sure. I was lucky - I spent a few years at ADFA straight out of uni and earned enough to be independent for Centrelink purposes. When I quit that and started normal uni I got the full amount and rent assistance. It was a sweet time. Share houses kept rent low and I had enough money for food and beer.

Genuine question for those who didn’t work and didn’t receive government funding… How did you afford to live? Like how did you buy textbooks, go out for dinner with your friends, buy a new pair of jeans when you needed…? Parental handouts, or?? I feel like I must be missing something here.

Student loans for rent/tuition/textbooks for me. I did have a part time job for things like food, going out, etc - made maybe 70 bucks a week? - but people use student loans for stuff like that, too.

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Oh, sorry, I should have made that clear. I was given $10k (uh, heaps of money) per year. Effectively a scholarship funded by my uncle. I spent half of that on my uni fees (parents paid the other half) and spent the other $5k on my own expenses (uni books, clothing, fuel, non-grandma cooked food, whatever).


Omg all I took away from this is Uni is so cheap in Australia compared to the us.

In US you can’t be considered independent from your parents’ income - even if you live 2000 miles away and are no contact and pay all your own bills- for student aid purposes until you are 24, married, in the military, have a kid, or were ward of the court (orphan/foster) when you turned 18. Some parents use filling in the aid form - not even paying for school, just supplying the info you need on the application- as a way to control their adult child. Some just refuse to do it. Leads to a few “FAFSA marriages”.


At the last time I checked, you are considered independent here if you:

  • meet certain income criteria in a certain time period;
  • are living with a Significant Other (I believe same sex is fine and you certainly don’t have to be married, my sister used this method by moving in with her boyfriend);
  • Parents meet certain income criteria;
  • or… presumably a couple of other things.

I am ridiculously envious of this considering I am now a wealthy adult who can buy anything she wants.

I worked 20 - 30 hours through uni to support myself, plus govvie money. I really, really don’t want my kid to have THAT uni experience. I don’t know that I want to give him the equivalent of $10k ten years ago annually, but I also really don’t want him doing what I did :woman_shrugging:


I don’t think it was necessarily good for me, and agree it was better than the other end of the spectrum. I think support to find a part-time job that suited me would have been sensible, or a summer job (I did have an engineering student job one summer). It’s a hard balance to help your kid grow without ending up entitled or overworked, when you’re in that weird place of having enough money to have choices.


White, middle class, US, lived like we were in poverty. My father brought in at least 90k annually but my mother wracked up so much debt that I remember them filling for bankruptcy and I remember eating a lot of ramen and spaghetti for a couple months after that. We always had a roof, food, clothes (lots of church hand-me-downs).

Up until a year ago, my income was still below the poverty line. I’m just a little bit over now.

The deal with my dad (folks are divorced and Mum is a real piece of work) was always that we (of four children) could live with him rent free if we were in school.

I’m not currently in school, so I’m paying him some ridiculously low rent ($300/mo).