The cost of living at home: Should parents charge their kids rent?

Photo credit: Will Keightley

Photo credit: Will Keightley

If you’re a young adult living in Metro Vancouver, you’ve probably noticed it’s expensive to live on your own. Unless you’re working full-time, you probably cannot afford it, especially if you’re paying for university. Today, a lot of university students are living with their parents because it cuts the expense of paying for a place elsewhere. However, there are a lot of parents who charge their kids rent while they live at home. Culturally, a lot of kids move out once they graduate high school, so it may be appropriate for parents to charge rent if they’re at a certain age and are able to take care of their own expenses.

Stephanie Pomeroy, a 21-year-old White Rock resident, thinks that it’s fair for parents to charge their kids, because it teaches them valuable life lessons.

“At first, I didn’t think it was fair that I had to pay rent to my parents but then I realized it was teaching me how to be more responsible,” said Pomeroy. “Because I wasn’t going to school and was only working, they thought I should have to pay a little to help cover some food and [other costs].”

She also thinks that it’s important for kids to learn how to pay for things themselves. “I feel that charging rent to your kids is smart, because it’s motivation for them to get a job to pay for their own things,” she said.

For a period of time, Pomeroy paid her parents rent while she worked full-time, but for the past few months she hasn’t been paying them. Instead, her parents are taking $300 from her paycheque each month to put into her school savings and $100 a month to pay for her car.

“They felt that because of these payments, plus my phone bill, gas and insurance, it was too much to ask for rent on top of that,” Pomeroy said.

Stephanie Dekoster, a 20-year-old Kwantlen Polytechnic University student (KPU), also thinks that kids should pay rent in order to gain more responsibility and learn what it’s like to handle payments and bills.

“As grown adults, [we] should be able to understand the amount of bills that our parents have to pay and how much those bills cost,” Dekoster said.

Considering the cost of living, it does make sense for parents to charge their kids rent to cover the various charges that they may have. It can also be costly to live in areas such as Vancouver or White Rock. However, it wouldn’t be fair if a young adult doesn’t have any income or if they’re already paying for school and have other expenses.

“My parents [have never] made me pay rent while in school. They wanted me to focus my time on school, and not on a job,” said Pomeroy.

Dekoster’s parents also don’t charge her rent while she’s in school. “My parents won’t charge me rent while I’m in school because they expect me to be save that money when I move out out one day,” she said.

While it’s beneficial for young adults to save their money for school and other costs, one student feels that they cannot save money if they pay their parents rent. Elina Gress, a 21-year-old KPU student, feels indifferent towards paying her parents rent. She isn’t paying rent at the moment, because she is only on-call at her job and is only getting a small number of hours. However, she feels that she might as well pay rent to someone else.

“For me at least, if I’m going to pay rent and expect to move out at one point and pay rent elsewhere, I’ve basically spent more most of my money paying rent at home,” Gress said. “I might as well live somewhere else by myself or with a roommate if I’m going to pay rent.”

Daniella Javier

Journalism student. I go by this motto: "Find a career you love and never work a day in your life!" I want to make sure that I follow my dreams, no matter what they may be. I've dreamt of becoming a journalist since I was 10 years-old, so I might as well make it count!

1 Comment

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    Reply December 9, 2014

    Max Kirkpatrick

    A well-written article on an interesting topic. I like that you interviewed enough people to get a take on both sides of the argument. Personally I’ve never had the option to live with my parents during my post-secondary education and now I’m wondering if they would charge me. Nice job!

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