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Dear Wendy

My boyfriend wants me to pay rent when I move in

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  • #1100488 Reply

    I am planning on moving in with my boyfriend in a few months. He owns his home and also owns another rental property. The rental income from his other property covers the entire mortgage there and all but $70 at the house I will be moving into. I am more than willing to pay rent when I move in, but am struggling to decide on a number as he would be profiting off my rent which does not seem right as we are in a relationship. I thought about offering to cover utilities, water, etc. but was hoping to gain some insight and advice on how to handle the situation. I do make more than him, but we have never had any money issues/disagreements and I would like to keep it that way by getting ahead of this to aid in our conversation.

    Thank you in advance!

    #1100493 Reply

    “… he would be profiting off my rent which does not seem right as we are in a relationship.”

    I don’t see it as him profiting off of your relationship at all. You really think he should pay your living costs? Just because he’s your boyfriend!? Does that sound fair to you? You would have to pay rent or a mortgage anywhere, but you think HE should absorb that for you?? WHY? You clearly are not helpless; why should he pay for the roof over your head?

    You really need to re-orient your thinking. You are a full-fledged partner, not a dependent, and you need to set it up that way. How will housework be divided? If you think of him as your caretaker, that could get ugly fast. You also need to understand that your name is NOT on that deed, therefore you (as a tenant) are not on the hook for expensive repairs, new appliances, etc. It’s HIS HOUSE.

    You don’t sound ready to move in together, honestly.

    #1100494 Reply

    So he’s supposed to provide you free housing because … why?

    Seriously, you think the mortgage and utilities are the only costs? What about the annual taxes? Homeowner’s insurance? Updates and upgrades? Are you furnishing this house?

    Houses need maintenance and maintenance costs money.

    #1100495 Reply

    Have you asked him what he thinks is fair? And then he told you it’s up to you? Or what?

    So, think about it, if you moved in and didn’t pay much/any rent, then *you* would be profiting off the relationship, big time, because you would be able to keep/save a ton of money that you would otherwise be spending on the market for housing. And preventing him from having a tenant or roommate if he wanted to.

    This needs to be equitable. First, what’s the market value for rent on a place of his size in his area? How much would you be paying if you rented a room there? I think you need to be paying him at least that much per month, the market cost to live (shared) in that house. If you feel like that’s unfair, what makes you feel that way?

    #1100496 Reply

    I honestly don’t think that you’re ready to move in with someone or be part of a cohabitating couple. You obviously should pay rent, and not just utilities.

    #1100497 Reply

    “The rental income from his other property covers the entire mortgage there and all but $70 at the house I will be moving into”

    This is just terrible. The fact that he is getting income from another rental property doesn’t mean that he’s not paying his mortgage. It’s like him saying that your salary covers the cost of all your food and travel so he doesn’t have to share in the cost of meals or vacation. You don’t get to allocate his income to the things that you wish to share and then declare them to not really be costs.

    #1100502 Reply

    I think instead of asking the great minds on DW, you should ask him what he thinks is fair and go from there. You two should be able to discuss money if you’re moving in together. If you can’t discuss it openly, it’s probably not a good sign of things to come.

    #1100589 Reply

    I am in a similar situation as the LW. I recently moved in with my boyfriend, who owns his house. We had several long conversations about what would be fair for me to contribute before I moved in.

    I disagree with the people saying, “pay market value or you shouldn’t even be considering moving in.” That might be the best option for you two, but it’s not necessarily so. When I moved in with my boyfriend, I gave up an AMAZING, below-market-value deal on a rental condo. My landlord hadn’t raised rent in 4 years despite the outrageous housing market, and was more than happy to renew my lease at the same rate for another year. So I took a big risk in giving that up to move in with my boyfriend. If he dumps me, I am the one who will have to move out, and I will never find another deal like the one I had in this market.

    Additionally, I was saving up to buy my own place before I started dating my boyfriend. He bought his house unilaterally, before we were ready to live together. When we decided we wanted to live together, the only logical choice was his place. But this isn’t the house I would have chosen if it had been up to me, or if I’d had 50% of the say. It’s more important to me to live with him than to have my perfect home, but it was something I gave up in making this choice.

    In our case, I pay half of the mortgage, but my boyfriend pays all the utilities. It’s what we agreed on together through a great deal of conversation. And it’s always open for negotiation. We agreed that we both should be saving money from what we were spending before living together. And we both are. But if I paid half of ALL the living costs, he would be saving money and I wouldn’t. And I would end up resenting him for that. If you will resent your boyfriend in a 50-50 split situation, it doesn’t matter how “fair” it is — your relationship will die, because resentment is a relationship killer.

    Also, a live-in-romantic-partner situation is NOT equivalent to a tenant. Sure, my boyfriend could probably rent a room in his home for more than I pay him (maybe not–I don’t know the going rate for renting a room versus having a whole apartment to myself.) However, there is a certain loss of privacy and comfort with a roommate that isn’t the same with a boyfriend/girlfriend. And there are benefits to living with your sweetheart that you don’t get with a roommate. I’m not just a tenant and I don’t expect to be treated like just a tenant. This relationship has a much higher level of emotion and commitment.

    I do agree with the folks who said that you need to have a discussion with HIM about what each of you thinks is fair and reasonable. No one else can decide this for you. Know what you can comfortably afford. Know what it would cost you to live elsewhere. Know what it would cost you to have to move out suddenly if there’s a breakup (and ensure you can always have that set aside). And know how much you value being with him every day versus having your own space. Go into the conversation with this knowledge, and hear his side of things. Then come up with something that works for both of you.

    #1100594 Reply

    Lot going on there…

    It does need to be equitable, which doesn’t mean equal. Yes, they both need to be comfortable with it and feel it’s fair. She needs to be paying some reasonable amount of rent toward the living space. If there’s a compelling reason for that to not be market value, that’s absolutely fine, as long as they’ve discussed it and are comfortable.

    #1100600 Reply

    He isn’t profiting off of your rent, you’re paying for your share of the costs, however you and your boyfriend decide to split them.

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