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Getting Your Adult Child to Grow Up: Paying Rent

Updated on August 9, 2013


  1. Give them advanced notice
  2. Set a reasonable price
  3. Follow through

The Young Shall Grow

You raised them. You taught them how to tie their shoes. You shed a tear on their first day of school. You nursed their wounds, washed their clothes, helped them with their homework, saw them off to college, and now you just want them to GROW UP!

If you have an adult child, most of you probably want to know, how to get your child to become responsible and move out on their own. The rest of you probably just want your baby to stick around as long as they can, even if that means letting them live in the basement of your home for the next 40 years.

Here are some tips about what to do with an adult child who just won't grow up. Tips about getting him/her to pay rent while living in your home.

Getting Your Child to Pay Rent

It's a difficult thing to ask your child to start paying rent. After all, (s)he has lived under your roof for most of his/her life without paying a dime. It almost seems unnatural to start asking them to pay you for a service you have granted them for free all these years. But it is a part of growing up and having to accept responsibility. One of the things an adult does is pay rent. So if you want your child to grow up into a healthy adult, when (s)he graduates from college, a good thing to do would be to let them start experiencing what an adult experiences. The first thing you do is:

Getting Your Child to Pay Rent

  1. Give them advanced warning- My uncle says that you should give a child six months advanced warning before you start charging them rent. This should give the child enough time to get a job (if (s)he doesn't already have one), save up some money, and/or decide to move out if (s)he so chooses.

How Much Is Reasonable to Charge A Child Living At Home

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2. Set a reasonable price- You don't want to set the rent too high or too low so that your child either won't be able to afford to live there or will have an unrealistic expectation about how much the cost of living is. A good step (if you want to be generous, would be to base your rent on how much your child makes. Sit him/her down and work out a budget. Perhaps (s)he could chip in on the food expenses too and in exchange you can reduce their rent. For example: Rent would have been $500 a month, but since you will be buying food for the house, I'll only charge you $350. You may want to decide whether or not you will be charging him/her for utilities (i.e. gas, water, electricity, etc.). Like I said, this can all be based on how much you know your child is actually making. If you don't want to base the rent on how much the child is making, but the child is still not making enough to meet your rent expectations for him or her, in order to not let your child be living out on the street, you may want to supplement the money he would have made for rent by allowing him to work off his/her tab. For example: Giving him/her extra chores to do in place of the money (s)he would owe. The child owes $500 this month in rent, but can only afford $400. So, to make it up (s)he cleans the garage, bathroom and kitchen every week or whatever you think is a fair trade off.

3. Follow through- A lot of times, because we are parents, we want to go easy on our child. We let him/her get away with things, even though we know we shouldn't. This should not be the case with paying rent. You must instill in your child the value of money. Let him/her know that you pay rent every month, and you have been paying for the roof over their heads and the food in their plate all this time and it is their turn to learn to do the same. (S)he needs to know that if (s)he doesn't learn it here, (s)he's just going to end up learning it out there on the streets. And you as a parent need to understand this lesson as well. So, stick to your word. Each month collect the rent from your child no matter what! If the child is unable to pay the rent off one month, because he missed some days at work and couldn't earn enough money, give him an extension, but don't let him/her get away with paying whenever (s)he wants and however much (s)he wants, because (s)he or she will just end up taking advantage of you (even if (s)he doesn't intend to).

In Conclusion

Well, I hope that helped you to come up with a comprehensive strategy for charging your child rent. Trust me, it's easier than it sounds. Your child may be upset about it at first, but it usually is easier with a parent that it would be in the real world. Good luck!

How Much Rent to Charge Your Child Living At Home


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    • Inspired Heart profile image

      Yvette Stupart 

      4 years ago from Jamaica

      This is an informative hub Shadow. Some adult children really need this type of nudge to encourage them to act more responsibly. An important point that you raised is the need for parents to follow- through and be consistent when they set these boundaries.

    • healinghands1668 profile image


      4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      One thing that is not mentioned in this article is WHEN to ask your child to pay rent. Though perhaps that was the subject of another article? I am currently 28 and living at home. I have offered to pay rent, but my parents have declined because I work two jobs, pay for my car and health insurance, and I help out around the house, and they would rather I save my money so that I can get out on my own sooner. It would be different if I were not working, though.

    • Max Havlick profile image

      Max Havlick 

      5 years ago from Villa Park, Illinois

      The Shadow says, "The articles will always be there as my gift of sharing my knowledge." I love that sentence. Where have you been hiding with such sublime motivation for detailed practical writing?

      This is the first essay of yours I've read after seeking to answer my own questions, "Who is Shadow Jackson, and why is she suddenly following me?" Your essay is interesting, the motivation profound.

      As for your topic, in Jan. 1982 I was divorced-single, left New York, went back to Tulsa where my folks were still living, bec. I wondered if as a more or less knowledgeable adult I could now learn things about my parents and my hometown that might help me understand why I was the kind of person I turned out to be.

      Tulsa was enduring an "oil recession," and for a few months I did Saturday work for my mother around the 1-acre home place (for, I think, $50/day! She was a lovable hard-nosed cheapskate!), then later in exchange for living in the garage apartment, which strangely led to my meeting nearby a single woman of a lifetime who soon (July 7, 1986) became my wife, moved with me to Chicago where we've lived recklessly happy ever since.

      Six years later, just before mother died (March 1992), she said she was glad but surprised Fay was still living with me (up to then a notoriously impossible guy to live with), and that was 21 years ago!

      Ms. Jackson, if all your hubs tap into my life experiences like this one did, we may soon have the foundation sketches for an autobiography.

      Thank you, and best wishes,

      Max, Sunday morning 2 a.m., Nov. 24, 2013

    • Shadow Jackson profile imageAUTHOR

      Billionaire Brains 

      5 years ago from Washington, DC

      I don't know why HP only shows the reply button, AFTER I've written my reply the normal way...

    • Shadow Jackson profile imageAUTHOR

      Billionaire Brains 

      5 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thanks for stopping by billybuc!

      I appreciate this one comment, even if your heart desires to do more. The articles will always be there as my gift of sharing my knowledge.

      I'm not so shocked by the statistic. I know in other parts of the world the statistic is higher. It used to be that a woman never left her parents' house until she was married.

      I think this whole culture of living in an apartment by yourself, everyone having their own car, etc. is quite wasteful. Why not share amenities wherever we can?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I just saw an amazing statistic on this.....36% of Americans between the ages of 18-34 live with their parents.....36%!!!!! Am I the only one who is blown away by that figure?

      We have an open door policy at our home. Between the two of us we have five is a teen still at home...the other four know they can live here but they will pay rent to do it, and they have from time to time when they were in-between places to live....

      Great suggestions here....I'm sorry I haven't been by to see your work....I am busy but that's just a convenient excuse. I'll try to do better in the future.


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