Should I charge my Girlfriend rent?

166 Replies

So in the next few months I plan to buy my first duplex! I plan to house hack; rent out one side and live In the other. While running the numbers a thought crossed my mind about my girlfriend paying rent. Here’s the thing. She isn’t too interested in real estate and won’t be helping with the down payment or any renovations. Anyone else ran into this sensitive subject. Essentially if I made her pay “something” it could help with cash flow but morally it seems fishy. Any suggestions?

If you want to continue to have a girlfriend no.  However it is not unreasonable to have her shoulder a larger share of other household expenses if you provide 100% of the housing but whatever you do tread carefully.

Are you talking about her renting out the "other" side of the duplex or help pay for the side you're in? ie, are you living together? This isn't clear in the post. If you're both in the same unit, then it would be fair for both of you to share the household expenses.

I am assuming only your name is going on the mortgage and title?  If she lives with you now, doesn't she help pay the rent?  It shouldn't matter if it is your house or not, she should be contributing to the household finances in some way...paying the bills, groceries, etc.  Don't do it so you cash flow, do it because if you are both living there, you both should be contributing to the expenses.

If you are serious about the relationship and see it going somewhere as uncomfortable as it may be, better to sit down now and talk about finances.

@Daniel Lynch it’s not morally fishy.

It’s called sharing... yes your intentions are more then just renting a happy home together and you want to make a profit but if she’s living there with you she should be paying something. At least split utilities.

I mean it depends

I got a girl who hates when I try to pay for her shopping bills(3/4ths of the time hehe)

It gives her pride to pay her own bills and makes her feel good. There’s nothing wrong with charging someone such a thing.

If she owned a dog and you bought all the dog food, she wouldn’t have much pride as an owner of that dog. She might not like paying it if she paid for the dog food, she’d be happy to see that dog eat a lot more then she would seeig that dog eat food you paid for.

Since she’s your girlfriend, you definitely give her a discount on some level...(plus the convenience of not finding another roommate is involved so that is why discounts are handouts but rather a mutual benefit)

@Daniel Lynch

I say it depends on how committed you are to her.  If you have to come on a forum to ask this question then I feel like you already know your answer.  This is personal to you and no one else can tell you what to do!

My opinion it is based on your values.  I have been with my wife for 30 years we met in high school.

I was raised that a man is responsible financially for his house and home (which includes wife, kids, pets, bills everything).  This is something my dad constantly reminded me of as he raised me.   

If you have different values than do what is right for you period end of story.  You need to make your decision and then live with the consequences of your decision.  That is how life works.

@Daniel Lynch

If you guys lived together and rented from someone, would she help pay for things? I dont think it's much different (even if one person owns the property). Living together is cheaper for both as long as they both pitch in!

@Daniel Lynch IMO most relationships fail and if you don't live together yet, there is a good chance this will fall into that category. With that said, I would take whatever you're getting for the other side in rent and use that as a base for how much to charge her. Split the bills as a % based on how much each of you makes. If you make 30k and she makes 20k then she kicks in for 40% of all expenses. If you just charged her for the part of the bills you have after you collect rent, you're setting a precedent that she gets a free or greatly reduced ride because of what you do and she will grow to expect that across everything in the future. It's one thing when you're married but until the second ring goes on the finger (first doesn't count for much to me because so many of those fail too) then it should be treated like you're just renting a place from someone else

@Daniel Lynch Bryan Devitt has it right. Girlfriends dont get a free ride. If she wants a discount she'll have to put a ring on it. If the expectations are not tightly defined from the beginning you'll end up in a mess. General "I'll help out" doesnt cut it as this eventually falls less and less. I would come up with a rent price and stick to it. I like the post about 20k = 40% etc. Or half and she gets her own bedroom. :)

@Daniel Lynch it takes teamwork. Whether she helps with rent or maybe have her pay the electricity and water or whatever, but no one lives for free. There is no moral issue.

When my wife and I got married(and she moved in) I paid the mortgage, she paid electric, water, cable and when we would go out to eat.

If you moved into her house would you pay something??? Its only fair.

This is a good one lol. Bro you don’t charge yo girl rent. I wouldn’t charge mines.  Just get her to help on living expenses. Ask her to pay the light bill or something like that. Also, don’t let her live in the vacant side either. You might as well rent that out. Just be honest and let her know you need the rental income from the vacant side to complete you long term goals. Any reasonable spouse would understand that. Just have her move into your side.

This right here! When I first let my girlfriend(my now wife) move in with me. I was wondering what all bills my girlfriend should pay. My dad told me, “Boy, those all yo bills” lol

Further, I’ve seen my Dad with my own eyes pay for our house cash and cars cash. I’ve never heard my mom talking about she gotta pay the rent or car note growing up.

I just don’t pay for any extras like amazon, she buys most of the little stuff like houses supply’s and even buys most of the kids clothes. 

Originally posted by @Damaso Bautista :

@Daniel Lynch

I say it depends on how committed you are to her.  If you have to come on a forum to ask this question then I feel like you already know your answer.  This is personal to you and no one else can tell you what to do!

My opinion it is based on your values.  I have been with my wife for 30 years we met in high school.

I was raised that a man is responsible financially for his house and home (which includes wife, kids, pets, bills everything).  This is something my dad constantly reminded me of as he raised me.   

If you have different values than do what is right for you period end of story.  You need to make your decision and then live with the consequences of your decision.  That is how life works.

Think about other things she would bring when considering her paying rent or partial rent. If she takes care of the utilities or most groceries, then charging her only partial rent is a good option. Also, if you haven't lived together already, make sure you have an agreement on how things should be done. If one person cooks dinner, does the other person do the dishes? What is an acceptable level of clean for the both of you? Good things to keep in mind when planning on moving in together.

Hey Daniel, 

My husband and I have been married for 5 years and during the time, before I became a stay at home mom we would split expenses proportionate to our incomes (if he made more he paid a bigger percentage of expenses vise versa). Once I stayed home to take care of our daughter, our set up changed since I was not bringing in a monetary income. 

Before marriage, we had our own expenses we were 100% responsible for. 

If you guys are living together, I don't really feel it's morally wrong to split expenses(including rent), if anything that's going to help both you reach your financial goals quicker by supporting one another and working as a team. Nonetheless, it all depends on preference and communication. 

Originally posted by @Daniel Lynch :

@Aaron K. Agreed! I love her but I know how she thinks. She gonna want to live free.

You need to charge her rent of some sort, but that doesn't mean it needs to be fair market. You could even work out a deal where she pays for utilities and groceries. If she thinks you are a free ride, that is trouble for you. 

@Daniel Lynch ,

I'm guessing the other side tenant completely pays for your bills, so your ethics come from the idea of charging her when you don't have any expenses.    So first, you're making a phenomenal investment, so congrats on the duplex!      I would say have her pay the cable bill and the electric/gas bill (don't do food, IMO it always gets messy b/c it ends up costing a lot more), no reason she gets  to live completely free... remember, you're still on the hook for maintenance for both homes, and stuff will come up! 

My girlfriend stuck by me during all my decisions, and stayed with me the nights when I had just a mattress on a dusty plywood floor. She moved in when we still didn't have a kitchen or functioning upstairs bathroom. So I wasn't going to "charge" her rent. Instead I asked her to help out with groceries and utilities. She paid utilities, and bought groceries (like @Joe Splitrock mentioned). While I handled the mortgage and focused on future investments. 

She wasn't interested in Real Estate when we met, now shes going for her license two years later after seeing the benefits of what Ive done. She didn't want me to rent out portions of the house at first, now shes suggesting it with our new place.

We are having a kid in September so I have taken the load to handle all bills from this point forward. But my point is your girlfriend wont be on the same page as you until you allow her to be. You should be a team, and you need to convey that.