Charging Adult Children Rent?

I do think the 2000s were a good time to go to uni in Australia. The housing bubble hadn’t properly inflated yet so there was plenty of old houses for students to share and rent was cheap.
The university places were capped based on perceived job demand so degrees had high value. Now it’s unregulated and they can churn out as many degrees as the students demand.
Immigration (and foreign student numbers) was much less and there were a lot more part time jobs.
Government allowances did cover the majority of expenses.
And before the Global Financial Crisis circa 2008 you could actually get a decent entry level job. Internships weren’t a thing.

I had a couple of part time jobs but nothing crazy like 20+ hours a week to make ends meet. Engineering degree was like a full time job.
I also did paid student work experience one entire summer which in hindsight is nuts. Such good money for a poor student.

And the best bit is the HECS scheme which lets you pay your student loans off out of future earnings once you hit thresholds. And the loan is interest free (only matches inflation).


White, Midwest, upper(?) middle class.

We did not pay rent, paying rent to our parents is (still) unthinkable. I lived with them during summers (as did my siblings for the most part) and after graduating college for a few months before moving out of town, and my siblings stayed with them during their internship that was in our home town. Living with them we had to do the regular household chores contribution, but nothing involving money or buying things for the household. Definitely a ‘still children to be supported’ sort of thing than an ‘all adults financially contribute to the household’.


White, middle class, UK

I have never paid rent to my parent (I lived with them in the holidays through Uni, and for about 4 months after graduating). I did do a small majority of household chores (particularly all the cooking) whilst I was living there, but to this day I still find it hard to get them to let me pay for anything when I’m visiting. My sister is currently living with them while she job hunts.

They also helped me out with living costs whilst I was at university, so that I didn’t have to take out the maximum amount of loan (It was against university rules to have a part time job, and I definitely wouldn’t have been able to fit it in without my studies suffering a lot, though I did earn some money in the summers).


My mom made it clear we were always welcome home, full stop. That might involve sharing a room or sleeping on the floor, depending on their housing at the moment, but we could come home. From what I recall, only one of the three of us took them up on that, to work a job in their geo area for 18 mos. Culturally, we are Eastern European immigrants, with a strong precedent for multigenerational households. We do see kicking kids out or charging them rent as a “weird American thing,” like Elle’s family. :laughing: My parents have no weird rules (like curfew, no friends over, etc) We help around the house or get groceries when we visit because it’s Right, and how we were raised, not because they demand it.

I think it worked well for us…alleviated “live in box” anxieties and let us take chances to further our careers. I have no idea how they would respond to a “basement dweller” child (they don’t have a basement, or a child resistant to independence).

I put the “housing safety net” approach in a slightly different category than “economic outpatient care”, although I can see how the line can be blurred. Paying an adult kid’s rent, groceries, clothes, nails, etc when they are supposedly living independently and gainfully employed is different in my mind than basic, share-what-I-have support, which I would offer any friend or family member. We just don’t leave our own in the cold.

FWIW, the three of us got scholarships/grants and made good-value choices wrt to college attendance. Parents were able to lend us any expenses that weren’t covered at low interest (1-2%). I find that a good middle ground between “support” and “skin in the game.”


White, upper-middle-class, US east coast. My parents grew up middle class and working class (and Jewish). I know my dad worked when he was in college and gave his parents some of that money.

I lived in dorms during college and returned to my parents’ house during school breaks, then returned to live with them full-time for several years after I graduated. They did not charge me rent until my last year living there, when I had a more stable job than previously, though it was still part-time work. I don’t recall paying for any household expenses, though I did chores and helped out with elderly relatives. I did pay for my own health insurance after I turned 26. They have continued to give me and my husband significant financial help.


I would also like to add that if I was in dire need, my dad and my siblings would be willing to take me in at zero cost to help.


White, middle class, from one of the poorer parts of Appalachia but my family lived comfortably.

I never really lived with my parents after high school except on school breaks. I also didn’t turn 18 until the end of my first semester of college, but I don’t think I would have been charged rent if I had lived with them for a short period. if I hadn’t been always full time in school that would have probably been different. My parents debated charging my older brother rent when he failed out of his (fully paid 100% merit scholarship) university for not going to class, which was mostly just to ensure that he didn’t come back home and continue to play xbox all day while living off of them while they had 2 other kids at home. That never actually came to pass since when he was told he had to shape up he joined the army and they did the shaping up for him.

They also didn’t charge my ex SIL rent when she and my oldest niece lived with them for about a year while Older Bro was deployed. He had been stationed on an island when he got deployed and that’s where my niece was born. It didn’t make sense for SIL to stay on an island with a new baby where she had no community around her and her FOO situation wasn’t great. So my parents got to spend lots of time with their first grandchild and do something nice for my brother. The expectation was that ex SIL would work & continue school (they would help out with childcare as needed) and contribute to the household like any normal adult would (buying groceries on occasion, keeping things reasonably clean, etc) she would also help with things like driving my little brother around who was in HS at the time.

Interestingly, they gave her my room (I was a sophomore in college at the time) and didn’t tell me, so when I came home for the summer I had nowhere to stay and moved in with H. They were mad about that, but couldn’t really do anything about it since I literally had no place to be. I worked all summer to build a stash, got an apartment near my school and have lived independently ever since.

ETA: I feel like I should add that when I moved out I took a $5k loan from my grandfather to have as my emergency fund. I kept every penny of it in my bank account and never touched it for living expenses. It was understood that it was there for me so that I never had to ask for help, I would already have the help right there waiting for me. The agreement was that it would be paid back with interest after I graduated and got a job. My grandfather is a good dude and never charged me interest but I paid back the whole $5k in the 18 months after I graduated. When I got to senior year without touching it, we agreed that it was ok for me to use it to pay for my study abroad semester which was the best thing I could have ever done for my career.


I have Opinions about the overall financial education of kids in the U.S. and charging adult children rent in the economic climate of the past 20 years…but that’s probably best saved for a different thread. The summary is along the lines of a parent grounding a child for the first time after they turn 18 when they themselves break the rules.

I grew up middle class, white, U.S.

I was not charged rent.

My brother was not charged rent and lived with my parents with his partner and children for several years in his late 20s.

My kiddo knew he was welcome to live with me and still is. His friend and girlfriend moved in with me and felt bad not paying rent so they paid $150/month. When he moved back in over the summers he felt bad not paying when the others were, so he did house projects. Which incidentally ended up mostly going awry and costing thousands of dollars to remedy :rofl:


I’m white, grew up upper middle class in the Western US, and in my hometown it was considered fairly avaricious to charge adult kids rent. My parents didn’t charge me rent and in fact helped pay for my housing in college, and my mom lived with her family until she married. It was a highly Mormon area, which may have had something to do with it; there were kind of two polar opposites of behavior - you either let your kids live with you indefinitely rent free, or if you have more children and run out of space (or your kids disappoint you) you kick them out.
I wonder if a politeness norm comes into play? I have friends from poor families who weren’t formally charged rent, but there was an unspoken expectation that they would give most of their income to their parents to cover family expenses.


Similar, UK,white working class, parents spent everything and more! I got a pt job after school three nights a week while in my Sixth form (You normally leave school in the UK at age 16, but if going to university you stay a further 2 years to do your A-level exams… That is called the 6th form).

I had to hand over about 1/3rd of my meager pay for rent from my very first paycheck. Actually I appreciated doing so as it was intended to point out that running a home was not free.

My folks were terrible with money but they did manage to teach me some things… Like “No way I’m living like this”…:slight_smile: