Thousands of parents across the UK have children aged 18-30 living at home with them, and of this number, roughly half of them charge their children rent.

However, with mortgage costs rising and steeper household bills generally, nearly a third of parents who don’t currently charge rent think they might have to start.

If you’ve never considered charging your children rent before, it might feel like a tricky issue to tackle. Ultimately there’s no right or wrong way to bring it up, but here are some tips and tricks on how you might want to approach it.

Why charge your children rent?

The question of charging children rent tends to divide people straight down the middle. For some it makes perfect sense that their children contribute to their home’s running costs while they are living there, while others might feel that their children shouldn’t have to chip in, particularly if they are saving for a deposit to buy their own home.

There are usually two main reasons that people ask their adult children to contribute to household costs:

To pay their way

The average cost of having an adult child move back into the family could be as much as £630 a year on utilities alone, according to TopCashback, and while some parents previously might have been able to absorb that cost, with living costs still high, for many it’s becoming unaffordable.

Growing numbers of parents are asking their children to contribute for this reason and with an increase in 18-30-year-olds choosing to move back to the family home, it’s likely to become more commonplace.

To teach them financial responsibility

Asking children to pay a share of household costs provides them with a valuable lesson on financial responsibility. More than half (61%) of parents who charge their children rent say they do so for this reason, the Topcashback research shows, with 52% saying that it helps to give their children a better understanding of how the real world works.

Some people who charge rent choose to save or invest the money their children give them to provide them with a nest egg when they move out. Of course, this will be down to personal financial circumstances, and many won’t be able to afford to do this, especially in these difficult times.

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How much rent should you charge your children?

If you’re thinking about asking your children to contribute to the cost of running the household, you might be struggling to come up with a specific figure you’d like them to pay. Everyone’s situation is different, so the amount you may want to ask your children to give is likely to vary widely from person to person. 

There are a number of ways that you might want to approach working out how much to charge them. Some of the most popular methods include:

  • Asking for contributions towards specific things – This approach involves getting adult children to pay for their share of certain things, such as utilities or food. According to Topcashback, of the parents that ask for contributions towards household costs, 21% put it towards electricity bills, 19% use it to pay part of their gas costs and 13% use it for broadband.
  • Ask for a set sum each month – Nearly three-quarters (71%) of parents who charge their children rent say they ask for a set sum each month, but don’t earmark it for anything in particular. The amount charged is usually dependent on a number of factors such as the child’s age and employment situation.
  • Ask them to contribute a fixed percentage of their income – This means that the amount they’ll pay you will increase as their income goes up.

When working out how much you’d like to charge, there are some things you might want to consider:

What’s their financial situation?

Thinking about your child or children’s financial situation can help you work out how much they can afford to contribute.

For example, if they are working and earning a steady income, you might choose to ask them to contribute more than if they are working part-time and studying.

How much do you need them to pay?

If you aren’t sure how to work out a fair rent, the best place to start is by looking at your household budget, if you haven’t done so already. Work out how much you’re spending on things like gas, electric, broadband, water, food bills, and any other essential costs.

You’ll then have some numbers to show them, which might make it easier for them to understand why you need them to pay their way.

Get expert mortgage advice*

Looking to discuss your mortgage options? Rest Less members can book a free mortgage consultation from Fidelius. Speak with a qualified, FCA-regulated, independent mortgage adviser you can trust. Rated 4.7/5 on VouchedFor from over 1,000 reviews.

Get mortgage advice*

How to talk to your children about charging rent

Many of us find it difficult to talk about money. According to research carried out by online payment company, Klarna, a fifth (21%) of us have never discussed personal finances with friends or family, with 34% feeling too awkward to bring up the topic.

So if the idea of talking to your children about contributing to the household costs feels difficult, then you’re not alone.

Here are some tips to bear in mind when approaching the conversation:

Know your reasons for asking them to contribute

Having a conversation about your children contributing towards the household could signify a change (for the better) in your home. And while you don’t need to have a reason to start asking your children to contribute towards household costs, being able to articulate why this change is happening now could help ease the conversation.

Give them a bit of notice

Let your kids know that you’d like to talk about them contributing to the household costs and find a time to sit down and talk about it.

It might feel a little formulaic, but if you haven’t spoken about money before, this gives some structure to the conversation. It also gives you all time to gather your thoughts about it, and your children will have the chance to look at their finances in advance. Giving them a bit of notice before you start charging them rent can be a good idea too, so they can get used to starting to put some money aside each week or month.

Approach it together

A surefire way to create an awkward atmosphere is to tell your child that they have to contribute an arbitrary figure to the household, no questions asked. Part of this conversation is recognising that they’re an adult, so it’s important to treat them like one.

Sit them down with your household budget and explain how you’d like them to contribute. It’s reasonable that they’ll have some questions, so try to be open to this and if possible be open to changing certain things, for example, which day they pay you.

Keep the door open

We don’t mean leave the door open for a quick escape in case things get awkward, but rather let your children know that this isn’t the end of the conversation.

If this is your first time talking about money or asking for contributions to the household finances, then it might take a few stabs at it to get it right. If your or your children’s financial situation changes then it’s useful to be able to talk about it.


Ultimately whether you should charge your children rent is a personal decision, although if you are struggling to make ends meet, it may be something to broach sooner rather than later.

If you’re looking for ways to help you manage rising living costs, have a look at our article How to save money – 21 best money saving tips for some ideas.

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