Yes, My Boyfriend is Paying Me Rent

Moving Boxes In my most recent weekly miscellaneous updates, I’ve highlighted how my BF and I will now be living together, in my condo.

When we first began our discussions of where he’d be living (he’s currently living with a friend who now has his own girlfriend moving in soon, which sort of displaced my BF), many options were thrown out: He’d get his own apartment with a year lease, he’d rent month-to-month or he’d move in with me because I own and he rents.

We’d already thrown out the idea of renting out my place because the mortgage is so low and the location is extremely convenient for our current needs. While the idea now is to stay put, I haven’t completely written off the option to rent it out for the future as I know I’ll eventually keep it as an investment property.

The more we investigated the various options, the more it became clear he should take the third option and move in with me. Once that was decided, the awkward fun conversations about expenses began. Eventually, we settled on splitting everything down the middle.

This means that I’m essentially charging my boyfriend rent.

And as much as it felt awkward to have him joke about me being his “landlady,” I think this is the best choice for many reasons:

We’ll be sharing the condo

This isn’t like he’s renting a room or just staying over a few nights a week. He’s living there; my house is now our house. We’re planning to renovate the second bedroom into an office that includes a dedicated space for him to work from home (he’s a consultant and spends a lot of time working at home when he’s not traveling), and we’re tackling ideas for the kitchen renovation together as well.

I’ve discussed at length my desire to have it be our home, and I mean that 100%–I’m cleaning and organizing in an effort to make sure there’s room for anything he wants to bring into the house when he moves in. There won’t be any “you get those 2 inches in the closet” from this lady!

I’ll still pay for the condo repairs

Aside from the office renovation, I’ll be paying for any necessary repairs the condo/structure may need, and I’ll be paying for the kitchen renovation myself.

Why? Because these improvements are enhancing my property value and until we’re married, the condo remains in my name and is bettering my investment.

I’m a realist

Ultimately, I’m keeping a realistic outlook on all of this. Yes, we care about each other. Yes, we’re happy. But we’re not married or even engaged yet. Life happens and you never know when some freak event could turn things upside down.

Therefore, we’re both entering this arrangement as realists. I’d charge any other roommate money because they’d be living there, causing wear & tear and increasing utilities, etc., and I’ll be collecting rent from him for the foreseeable future. I’m just asking that he sends the check in an auto payment because it will be far too weird to have him give me cash or a hand-written check. :)


What do you think? Would you charge your BF/GF rent to live in your place?


Photo credit: z287marc

- Jen Smialek

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Freelancer; reformed spendaholic; risk taker; adventure seeker; world traveler; rose smeller; debt destroyer. My mission is to inspire others to live a healthy, balanced life one cent at a time.


Yes, My Boyfriend is Paying Me Rent52

  1. I didn't live with any boyfriends before I got married, but I totally agree that your boyfriend should pay rent. Unless you're sharing finances with the person living in your house, they shouldn't be treated any differently, financially or legally, than a roommate no matter what your personal relationship. I would even go further to say that you should charge him the market rate for the room, not half the monthly payment. Are you going to put together a lease?

    • I agree! This is the first time I've ever lived with someone I'm dating–it's a huge step!

      He's paying half of the mortgage, condo fee and property taxes so I'm happy with what we've decided; not really sure how far off it is from market rate.

      I don't think I'm going to do the lease because I can manage on my own if things go South–it's not the money as much as I want him to be there. With that said, have to be smart!!

    • I couldn't agree more! We're both independently capable of paying our own bills as well–it's just interesting because he's moving into my house rather than the other way around. I almost feel that some people wouldn't bat an eye about me moving into his house for reduced rent because I'm the girl. I'd never in a million years expect or even want that but it's interesting to think about how gender plays into these kinds of decisions as well!

  2. I would not have a problem with it. Especially considering that both of you are working and bringing in an income I think it's more than realistic.

  3. I used to charge my BF rent, a lower amount of what we paid in our previous rental. We got two bedrooms instead of one, and a better location. There was a roommate in the third room and I think he paid slightly more than what was left to pay on bills and mortgage after that tenant's rent, but I paid all repairs and big expenses. Plus getting a low mortgage was possible thanks to a huge deposit that he didn't put a cent into, so it seemed fair to me. Not to his parents, who did everything to break us up saying he was my slave! Your last point is very important, you have to watch out for your interests. There is a post on Len Penzo today about a woman whose husband left her penniless when she was the big earner and the one who paid for the house…
    My recent post 13 money resolutions for 2013: #7 Make more money!

    • Yikes! Thanks for sharing about that post–headed over to read it now. And thanks for sharing your story–I'm always interested in hearing about what others have done/the choices they've made

  4. I think this is a great plan. I learned the hard way with an ex of mine. I had a big financial mess to clean up after him. It is much better to split things and charge rent until full commitment has been made, ie marriage. Without that, you need to protect yourself.
    My recent post How To Recover From A Home Fire

  5. I totally would. He lives there and is a working adult so he should pay. Never mind that he makes more money; even if he didn't it would still be reasonable to expect for him to pay his share. How exciting! It's always interesting to take that step. Sounds like you two did the talk even if it might have felt awkward so you each know where you stand and how it's gonna work.
    My recent post Luxury Cinema Date Night

  6. Seems fair! Would you have charged rent to your girlfriend, if you were the male? It seems more awkward if the male charges rent to the girlfriend. My son and fiance split the rent, but when one owns the property it changes the dynamic. Charging rent is a tricky item or I am just being old fashioned?

    • YES! This was what I was alluding to–I'll be posting more later but my BF moved out of a friend's apartment and that friend was having his GF move in. He was struggling about how/what to charge for rent….

  7. I would think most people woudl feel odd not to pay rent in that situation. You are absolutely right on all points. The only exception might be if he lost a job or was trying to get through school. Everyone has to live somewhere, and most of us pay for it.

  8. I would definitely charge my boyfriend rent if he moved in with me! We've talked about it and no matter what I charge him, he would be spending less on rent living with me than on his own. I have fixed costs that gain me nothing (mortgage interest, property taxes, HOA dues, utilities) and I don't see why he shouldn't cover part of those (maybe half?). I can understand not covering the principal though since only I gain from that.

    I definitely agree about sending the check via auto-payment – getting a check for rent would be super weird. You must be super excited for that extra money to save each month!! I'm so glad these talks are going well for you – that's definitely a sign for things to come!
    My recent post January savings plan

    • I agree about splitting it all–that's exactly what we're doing.

      Yes–it's way too weird!! Also, it's such an amazing sign to be so in sync. Today was the first day I left for work before him and it was surreal leaving my place knowing he's still there, making it his place, too :)

  9. In Australia you have to be really careful about this type of arrangement. As if you are involved with each other and the person stays in your house for more than 1 year you are considered to be in a defacto relationship and he is entitled to half of the house. The way around this is to draw up a proper rental contract.

    A friend of mine found all this out the hard way about 2 years ago.
    My recent post Recipe: Lemon Meringue Pie

    • Excellent question! I need to come up with a plan in case that happens. It might seem way too convenient, but knowing him, his family and his rental history, I feel confident this will be a non-issue.

  10. Compelling post…

    I think that it's very reasonable to charge him rent. If it were the other way around, I'm guessing you would think it would be fair to pay him too, right? Bottom line is that if two people aren't married – or engaged to be married – sharing expenses seems quite reasonable. Even if he didn't make more than you, I think it would be fair. You seem to be on the right track, in my opinion!
    My recent post Should Money Make Someone Attractive?

  11. It's really interesting to read the comments! Seems engagement or marriage changes the dynamics of the possible situation. Which is interesting if you never plan to do these things… then what!?

    I own, and my BF rents with a friend. The friend's GF wants to either move in with the both of them, or more likely, out as a couple. Leaves my BF (in July) with a decision – and given by then we will have been dating for less than a year, it's a weird one. I think I would rather 'we' both rented elsewhere, than try to live in 'my' house – that being said, I don't want to move… I'm trying to apply patience, but reading about what others do (or think) are helpful.

    • The comments on this post have been some of my favorite of all of my posts! I find it very interesting what others have to say about this topic. Good material for a follow-up at this point :)

      The situation you're describing is exactly what happened with my BF–was renting with a friend whose GF is moving in. We also have been dating for less than a year. I think what did it for us was that we were already spending so much time together. It sounds a bit cliche to say, but this time it's just different.

      We also both talked about how this will be a temporary arrangement for us (1-2 years tops) and that we'll move into a real "our" place next and rent my place out.

      Good luck with your decision!

  12. My now husband and I moved in together when we were dating about 18 months. We were pretty sure we were on the track to marriage, but not engaged yet. Because I could already afford my condo on my own, instead of him paying me "rent", I had him put the amount of money he would be paying me for rent into a joint savings account. This allowed us to build a little nestegg for when we got married. We definitely talked about it a lot and if we broke up, all of the money in that savings account would be mine. It worked out so well for us!

  13. This was really helpful. I'm in a bit of an odd situation myself. My boyfriend and I pretty much met and moved in together right away. He lived far away and we just wanted to be together. We've known each other and been together less than a year. Unusual and crazy from the outside I'm sure, but to us it all feels very natural and as it should progress. At first, the plan was just to see how we enjoyed each other. I couldn't imagine him coming to me and not staying in my house. However, it was all "let's just see how it goes." There was no discussion on how to handle finances and things if it worked out. Now it's been a couple months and it's obvious we see being together as a very long term arrangement.

  14. (continued) I broached the subject as to him helping out with house finances. It was extremely difficult and I still haven't determined what would be a fair amount. I feel quite bad asking, though I know it's certainly reasonable. I agree, it'd be so much easier if he had offered. He pays for groceries and food when we eat out, dry cleaning, and has made a lot of improvements around the house. His contributions equal far more than the utilities I pay, so I have such a hard time holding out my palm and saying, "Place rent here." Thank you for posting this and thanks everyone for your comments. Much appreciated.

  15. my girlfriend who lives with her 11 yr old son
    asked me to move in
    is 1/2 or 1/3 monthly rent acceptable to pay?

  16. Thanks lots for yr story. Would anybody please be so kind to give me some advice?

    I’m playing with fire a little more! I’ve been dating my landlord (yes I know!) And we’re getting on really well. We’ve been dating two month’s, and he sleeps over at least 5 nights a week, if he had his way it would be 7!

    I didn’t mind at first but now I’m starting to feel frustrated. . I am a working single mum and each week is a huge sruggle. He has his own business and lives with his dad so not many bills. I wake up some mornings and there’s £10 or £20 on the side, but i’m starting to feel a bit insulted like its just so I can buy and cook his tea.

    I have been so fed up lately worrying about bills, my cars gone etc which he knows about and he knows how much I struggle. I’ve still been paying my rent as I don’t want him thinking I’m just after free rent but I just feel like I’m been taken the piss out of?! I feel like I can’t talk to him about my money worries (sometimes you just want a moan!) Incase he thinks I’m just after his money….but would anyone else be insulted by the tenner on the side when I wake? And that I’m paying him rent for him to basically live here?! That he says nothing when he knows how much I’m struggling. Opinions muchly appreaciated pleeease!

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