Should I charge my Girlfriend rent?

166 Replies

@Daniel Lynch . Firstly have a discussion with her about the duplex into whatever depth you think is appropriate Set up your expectations and ask her for hers. Your choice to let her ride free or not or somewhere in between. But, imho, you are doing her a disservice if she doesn’t contribute what you both determine is her fair share... After discussion which may take a few sit downs to hash out, make a final determination but keep it business ( also a good lesson ) If you mirror your partner morally you’ll both come out in a good arrangement, and, as tricky as this is, be flexible and crystal clear honest. Good luck !

Originally posted by @Daniel Lynch :

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?

 I have been in this situation. I didn't charge her rent.  She was supportive with all my decisions and helped me with everything I needed. 

She was only paying utilities.

With that said, would she charge you rent if she was in your position?

I know mine, would not. 

Best to get her thinking about expenses from day 1...If she lives for free then all that money will go towards shopping and you're creating an anti-FI monster in the event that you guys get married.  Sit her down, have the talk, and work together as a team unless you see no future, at which point cut your losses and move on.

@Daniel Lynch Yes. 

I moved in with my girlfriend after I had bought my first house hack. I owned it for years, charged half of low market rent, and half of heating and electricity. Fast forward a year after that, we were engaged and I got stuck in a BRRRR where I didn't have the DTI ratio to refi out. So my now wife was given 1/2 a house, so tell her to stick in there:)

Financially, I think it's important as a couple that you talk about it and come up with a mutual solution together. Maybe you take that rent and stock pile it for the next property together, or use it for vacations, etc. Whatever it is, the most important part is that you communicate it and share in the long goal together. 

Best of luck!  

IMO is it 100% reasonable for her to split the household expenses if she was living with you.

Now if I was able to cover the mortgage for my side from the rent and only had to pay utilities I would probably only expect her to pay half the utilities etc., maybe a small amount for rent.

@Daniel Lynch you are not married so I advise you not to behave like you are. If she wants to live with you, set the precedent that you have to share both in the good and the bad. This speaks to accountability not only on the relationship but also with how the two of you will manage your finances going forward.

You are both looking to save money by sharing expenses. You are living together for a mutual benefit.

Do not be afraid to have this Crucial Conversation with your girlfriend. It is an important one.

Good luck!

@Daniel Lynch I don’t think you’re asking for real estate advice. This is more like personal relationship advice. In my

Opinion, household expenses should be shared because it’s the right thing to do. Whether that involves money, chores, cleaning, etc. However, that’s a conversation you guys need to have with each other.

Yep, charge her a fair share of the rent.  Either thru utilities, food or plain old write a check.  In your own interests, if things fall apart down the road why should you front her thousands of dollars in free rent while you were dating.   

@Daniel Lynch Yes. It's a personal situation so syntax is important (sharing expenses vs. paying rent). One implies you are her landlord- which may not sit well and seems a bit awkward. However, if you are sharing a household, I'd expect that everyone who is able contribute to expenses. After all, she is a girlfriend not a wife. For the sake of your new venture, she should be happy to.

@Daniel Lynch  Yikes this feed! Everyone has their opinion. Here's some favorite advice that's I've received and like on the topic. 
#1 If you know you can't go all the way in life with someone, dump them kindly but immediately. Time you spend with the wrong person is time wasted with the right person. 

Real estate, especially in a developing market, can be such an incredible hustle. Rewards are big but I can't take anything for granted until it shows up consistently in my bank account from a 100% passive (or damn close) source. If you know you love real estate (or another entrepreneurial path) and are on the way UP, be careful about choosing team members. My husband is a trooper in our real estate business, and we have both gone without in crazy (CRAZY!) ways to make it through tight loopholes. People can't be "trained" (WTactualF was that comment?), but people do make decisions about their priorities in life (which is totally fine!). Having someone take care of you is a tricky mindset for making money (i.e. it doesn't really work.)  

#2 Suze Orman has spoken on the topic a ton. Her take = split in proportion to each person's income. This is a fair and flexible plan that takes into account the changes that happen within a partnership over time, and which includes a healthy dose of care and empathy along with fiscal responsibility. 

#3 And as an aside, really, you should be paying YOURSELF rent, and you should give yourself a lease in writing, especially but not exclusively if the property is held in an LLC.
It will help you bank money for your next investment, keep your books on this investment flush, and make it easier to use this property to buy more real estate in the future. If you see this as a true stepping stone house hack property, you can't "freeload" either. ;))
Live by your own example first, see if your GF shares your vision of growth, and it will all be clear from there. 

I think I'd put a little spin on it.  Instead of telling her that you would like her to pay rent, I'd say let's come up with a household budget that we both contribute to.  Now you can pay X bills with her contribution to the household.  May be a bit less of a bumpy discussion. 

Do you think your going to marry her. I can see her not helping like you said but then wanting to spend the money. Don’t tell her she is paying rent , ask her to help with your payment. If she doest want to then ask if she can pay the lights and water, not either or. Maybe even throw in the tv/phone bill or Netflix. 

    Life isn’t far. Don’t let people use you. She needs to be there through the struggle if she wants to help enjoy the success 

@Daniel Lynch 2 Things that I think need to be address. 1. Whether paying a portion of expenses are fair or not. 2. Do you feel comfortable asking for payment. #1 Totally fair her paying a portion. #2 My first couple of business and rental properties I did not fill comfortable negotiations, I would tell client/customers "i need to check with my private partner". It helps with you feeling comfortable with not being the "bad guy". You might have a partner or a separate account for your "future partner or your reserve account" If you do feel comfortable telling her, reserves accounts is mandatory.

Last thing I would look into Air B and B for the other side of the Duplex and maybe even one of the rooms on your side.  if you area allows it......hope this helps....

@Daniel Lynch I agree with the other guys here. Ditch the rent convo... you’ll only get in trouble ... phrase it S helping with utilities ect. Don’t be greedy trying to get to cash flow. It’s not a good look. ( this is assuming the entire home is in your name and you are living together) that means if it doesn’t work out the asset stays with you

My girlfriend recently moved in with me we decided that she will pay utilities while I pay rent. 

We both sat down and discussed what she can afford and I can afford. We split groceries most of the time but I cover most of the thing we do when we go out to eat, bowl, go to a game, etc.

@Daniel Lynch From a woman’s perspective, I would be offended if my partner asked me to pay him “rent” but totally ok with us having a conversation about household expenses and how best to SHARE those expenses. Tally all the expenses and then consider what she makes versus what you make, also consider what she had been paying to live solo. It’s a win/win for her and you as long as she is paying less to live with you than she was paying to live solo AND her contribution % is reflective of her income versus yours. If you make double what she makes, it wouldn’t be fair to ask her to pay half.

I’d be leery of anyone expecting a free ride.

The School of Hard Knocks would like to welcome you to Adulting 501: Advanced Life Decisions


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Welcome to the part of life with no easy decisions and no set answers.  And before you ask, no you can't drop the class.

Simply put, you can't successfully live with someone if you can't have a conversation about money.   If you are going to share a household (married or not) you need to set the parameters and that includes the costs.   Set time aside, in advance.   Lay out an actual budget and go through it and decide what each of you can each live with.   If you can't have this conversation then I think it is obvious you are not ready to live together.   The good news is that research has conclusively shown that couples that handle finances together are much more likely to stay together.   So get to studying, your final is in 40-60 years.

Are you living together now? If so, who pays rent at the moment? If you pay half of the rent at present, then you can talk to your girlfriend to continue the situation. If you pay all the rent at present, my advice is you’d better not to ask your girlfriend to pay. If you want to continue your relationship, you two can sit and talk about it.

Can of worms you have opened up here. But, if she is comfortable paying, then she should chip in whatever amount she is able to. Especially if she expects to benefit from the house hack as much as you do. Doesn't hurt to just ask, but do so in a way you know won't end badly for you.

@Daniel Lynch

I was a Marine. Don’t get mad as I’m a bit crass. The two of you should split expenses and she pay rent or she is paying it in other ways.

She is a girlfriend, not a lady of the night. Treat her with the respect that you should. People, especially family will look askance at her not paying rent.

A wife taking care of your children needn’t pay rent. This is normal behavior for a stay at home mother.

I am assuming she has a job and isn’t disabled.