Posted by Kevlar101 (51 posts) 11 months, 15 days ago

Poll: Would you have your mother pay money for living in your home? (152 votes)

Yes, I would let my mother pay for the addition to be built, and then charge her for rent, utilities, and other extra costs. 11%
No, I would not let my mother pay for the addition, or charge her for rent, utilities, or other extra costs. 39%
I would allow her to pay for the addition to be built, but no rent or other utlilites after that. 49%

So, I have a question for you all.

Let's say that you care about your mother very much, and that she is rather advanced in age and is no longer very physically able (for example, in a wheelchair and unable to walk). She can no longer live alone, but let's assume that you don't want to put her in a retirement home. Let's also assume that you want her to live with you and that you arealready financially able to take care of your own debts and responsibilities, but she is willing to go ahead pay with her own money to build an addition onto your home so that she can live there, and you can care for her, personally.

So, presuming all of is the question: Would you let her pay with her own money for the addition to be built, and then, after all is said and done and the addition is complete, and your mother moves in....would you then proceed to charge her rent, have her pay a portion of the utilities, and have her pay for a portion of any professional repairs/work that is done in and around the house (for example, filling an above-ground pool or mowing the lawn, which she would not be able to use anyway because of her immobility) ?

Any additional details and feedback would be appreciated.

#1 Posted by Levius (1299 posts) -

I think you can't really answer the question without stating her own financial situation. My own grandfather is approaching the same situation, and he is very adamant about paying his own way. If any cohabitation with my parents is required, I am sure he would on principal contribute. I think for elderly people maintaining a sense of pride and independence is important. On the other hand, my opinion is coloured by the fact he is rather well off, better off than my parents, and that laws in the UK means that the government can take away money from elderly people to pay for government care so it can be better to spend the money now. I think if she can afford it, and she would be a non-trivial burden on your finances then asking for a contribution would be justified.

Though, in practise I would have a hard time charging my own mother rent.

#2 Posted by DVombatus (82 posts) -

Paying for an addition will add a lot of value to the house. Charging rent on top of that seems kind of bullshit.

If one wanted to be really greedy about things, I'd say no rent for at least 18 years then start charging.

#3 Edited by crusader8463 (14744 posts) -

Fair to let her pay what she can for the renovation so she doesn't feel bad about moving in, but I would never charge her rent unless it was something she felt like she wanted to do to not feel like a burden. I would take the money she paid in rent and just set it aside to buy her stuff though. I wouldn't keep it for myself. I wouldn't expect her to pay a penny though. When the parents can't look after them selves it's the children's responsibility to look after them, just like they looked after you when you couldn't look after yourself. But when you get older being able to do stuff like pay for this makes them feel like they still have some control over their life and that they are helping.

#4 Edited by Marcsman (3371 posts) -

She could buy a house near me & I would check up on her. I wouldn't let my mom move in, my wife would rightfully kill me.

#5 Posted by TobbRobb (5021 posts) -

If it's financially feasible for me to not charge anything, then I won't. She has paid and cared for me for far longer than I can ever repay.

#6 Posted by Fobwashed (2503 posts) -

If she's offering and you don't feel it'd ruin her financially, allowing her to pay for the addition to the house seems reasonable. I would never accept rent from my mom unless I actually needed the money more than she did. In this scenario, that doesn't seem to be the case. Just have her chip in for pizza occasionally so she doesn't feel like she's getting a free ride =]

#7 Posted by Rejizzle (464 posts) -

I would put up a fight, but my Mom always gets her way in the end... I would feel bad about it though.

#8 Posted by Omnomnivore (2933 posts) -


#9 Posted by Xanadu (614 posts) -

If I had the chance to take care of my mom financially with no worries on my end, id totally do it. She did the same for me without the no worries part for most of my life anyways.

#10 Posted by Corevi (6794 posts) -

Doesn't really matter since chances are she's close to the end if she's living with you so you can take of her and when she passes on then her money is your money.

#11 Edited by TheHBK (5658 posts) -

If your mom has the money to pay for stuff, let her. If she kicks the bucket that money is going to you anyway so what is the difference?

#12 Posted by subyman (700 posts) -

FWIW, her money is likely your money anyway. Like @thehbk said, what she spends comes out of your inheritance. IMO, I'd just pay for the entire thing if I could afford it and keep her stress level as low as possible. Let her feel super proud of you during her last few years. I highly respect that you are entertaining the idea of keeping her at home instead of in a retirement center.

On the other hand, if you two can discuss finances without it feeling weird, then it would be best, tax wise, to let her pay for it as to avoid that money being taxed upon death if she has enough money to qualify for estate tax. This is really a question only you can answer as small details can affect the final decision.

#13 Edited by Dasacant2 (243 posts) -

@thehbk said:

If your mom has the money to pay for stuff, let her. If she kicks the bucket that money is going to you anyway so what is the difference?

I think the difference is that she might want to buy other things with the money she would be paying in rent. In any case if it were at all possible I would prefer that she not pay rent. My dad too for that matter.

#14 Posted by bybeach (5143 posts) -

No. How could one ever charge their Mother? It's the social interactions that could possibly be a problem. Family can be wonderful, manageable, or just a friggen disaster.

#15 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (3575 posts) -

I would allow her to pay for the addition, and I would then ask for 'at cost' maintenance for a rent. That 'at cost' rent is to pay her bills, heat, electric, water, sewage, trash collection and cable...whatever applies in your area. So, all the bills come to you and she pays 'most' of what they costs you.

What your mom gets because you are her son is care, and she gets your immediate help and protection. What she gets is when the money runs out continuation of care.

I have said this before, family gets help when they need help. Family received free help when free help will HELP. Drunken uncles, dishonest siblings, parents with drug problems, aunts in jail don't get money and instant forgiveness...they get help. Help for troubled people being things like short loan for rehab, a transitional pace to stay for a few weeks, guardianship of their kids while they are in prison OR dead, etc. If you have to bend over backwards to help a family member repeatedly you are problem because what you are doing is not helping them you are ENABLING them, you are WEAKENING them.

If your mom has no been abusive in the past and if your sibling are not shrugging off all responsibility I see no problem with paying for the addition if she had no money, or even not having any rent. But, she has the money and the best use of the money is to assist who will be her primary caregiver - you. But I woudl be crystal clear with all invoved parties. You are building this addition to house her while she is well enough to be cared for BY YOU IN YOUR HOME. I don't know your situation, but a small family (let alone a single person) does not likely have enough members to take care of 'an elder' who needs a lot of care. Thus you need to discuss the "what if" scenarios completely with all siblings and close family.

My sister and I get along extremely well. If our parents needed care they would get it with very little fuss because we are ALL honest, hardworking people. My sister would no more take advantage of my parents than I would, she would no more shirk her responsibility to help them than I would be dealt with correctly. Who gets what, who does what in the most common crises is clear to us, despite changes that might occur year to year. Other people are not that lucky, they have crappy parents, crappy siblings, and crappy extended families who would fight over money and stuff.

#16 Posted by Clonedzero (4206 posts) -

You'd charge your MOTHER rent? The fuck? Did she charge you rent when you were a kid? No? Then don't be a greedy dick. It's your mom.....

#17 Posted by Camelizer (141 posts) -

For me it would depend on the motivation behind letting/having her pay for the addition and potentially later costs. The way I'm reading the original post makes it seem like the mother is the main motivating force behind having her pay for the addition. I can understand if she wants to pay for the addition because she doesn't want to be a burden and has the available funds to pay for the construction. I'd probably let her pay for the addition mainly because it seems like something that would make her feel better about you then taking care of her.

My grandfather refused to accept financial aid right until the end and spent the year before he died just paying for improvement project after improvement project for the family camp house. My mother and her siblings had the financial means to help but he refused them every time and made sure that he also paid off his medical bills with his own money before he passed. So I can kind of see where the mother may potentially be coming from in her attitude towards the addition. As people get older and become less physically able sometimes they turn towards other ways of showing others that they can still take care of themselves or be "useful".

If she's the one who offered to pay rent then I thinks that's once again an expression of the desire to not feel like a burden. But the idea of asking/allowing one of my parents to pay rent seems really strange to me. I don't think I would be comfortable with it honestly but I haven't been in that situation before. If they forced the issue and insisted on giving me money I think I would try and put that money aside for things like medical bills for my parents/family and pay the regular house bills with my own money.

#18 Posted by TooSweet (436 posts) -

In my family the older folk like paying for little things when they can. If my mom decided to stay It's for free. She took care of me now I take care of her. But knowing her she'd like to pay for groceries etc... But I would never charge her rent or have her pay utilities. Same goes for my dad.

#19 Posted by JasonR86 (10000 posts) -

It would really depend on a lot of variables. I'm lucky enough that I can live pretty comfortably so I wouldn't need my Mom to pay me. But knowing her, if this were to happen, she would try to repay me however she could whether it would be monetarily or not.

#20 Posted by Raven10 (2050 posts) -

If she wants to pay for an addition I would let her assuming she could afford it. As far as paying rent, even if my Mom insisted on paying me rent for whatever reason I would simply take it and put it into a separate account that would be used solely to pay for any sort of medical emergencies she might have that she or I could not otherwise cover. Upon her death I would then not have to pay an estate tax on that money, but I would have kept it secure if she needed it at any point before then. If she isn't demanding to pay rent, though, then I wouldn't even consider it, even if it meant additional hardship on myself.

#21 Edited by Karkarov (3643 posts) -

I would let her pay for the expansion and depending on her income maybe let her take over one monthly bill like groceries, but that is about it. My mother for sure would not let me just let her live there, she would feel like a mooch and demand to be allowed to help with something.

#22 Posted by Veektarius (5297 posts) -

If the money's an issue, you can defray the costs by splitting groceries.

#23 Posted by NoK (359 posts) -

Some really wonderful responses on this thread, nice to see people want to help their parents.

#24 Posted by Demoskinos (16189 posts) -

My mom has never asked that much out of me and always gave me more than I ever deserved. I would never charge her money if I ended up in this scenario.

#25 Posted by Corvak (1201 posts) -

It really depends on a lot of factors. If she can afford it, then sure. It helps her feel independent. That she is supporting herself, even in your house. People want to feel useful, even when they can't live on their own.

Of course I don't think I will see myself in that situation mostly because home ownership has become such an impossible goal with these house prices.

#26 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (6265 posts) -

I could never do something like that to my parents. I would take care of them to the best of my extent without them having to pay me anything. Knowing them they'd want to help out in some way or another, so things like groceries I'd let them pitch in on if they offered. I'd never charge them for rent though, even if they offered.

#27 Posted by Vrikk (1091 posts) -

I wouldn't be able to pay her bills, or for the addition, so yes... she would have to pay.

#28 Edited by HerbieBug (4228 posts) -

If she is offering this on her own accord, this may not be so much about money as it is about pride for her. She does not want to feel that she would be placing a real or imagined burden upon you with this arrangement. She may be insulted if you refuse her financial help.

My advice is to let her help you with money if that is what she wishes.

#29 Posted by Kevlar101 (51 posts) -

You'd charge your MOTHER rent? The fuck? Did she charge you rent when you were a kid? No? Then don't be a greedy dick. It's your mom.....

You seem to be under the impression that I (the TC) am implying that is what I would do. It is not. This is simply a question I am asking based on events taking place in another part of my own family.

#30 Posted by dudeglove (9125 posts) -

Guys, in some places in the world it's actually extremely common for several generations to cohabit in one household. The American/Western idea of "turn 18 and GTFO" is viewed kind of odd by a bunch of cultures, who sometimes see it as less of a sign of maturity and more of either bourgeois behavior or a "what the hell is wrong with your family? You can't even live together? I'd fucking hate to live without my grandma's [insert dish of choice]".

I would not have my mother pay for living in my home, if anything I should be paying HER and my father for the countless expenses I've exacted on them that I shudder to calculate one of these days.

#31 Posted by Hunter5024 (6294 posts) -

Absolutely. I've had to pay rent since I was 16. My parents made me go to college when I was barely 17 so that I could take out student loans and give the money to them. When I got a credit card I let them use it for necessities while my dad was out of a job, so long as he agreed to pay it off when he got one. He maxed it out and never paid a cent on it, even though he got a job 6 months later. That was nearly 5 years ago. It sounds like your relationships with your parents are all pretty different from mine.

#32 Posted by Oldirtybearon (5184 posts) -

Man. This seems like the most uncomfortable situation possible.

#33 Posted by believer258 (12690 posts) -

Whether she can move in or not at all depends on the state that my family is in at the time. Right now I'm 22 and I'm not going to lie, some part of me is screaming "Nursing home!", or "at-home nurse!".

If she actually could move in and she somehow became rich between now and then, and she wanted to pay me? Sure, I'd take it. If she were barely afloat financially? No. Or, I might take it and save it to buy her what she needs.

#34 Edited by MattyFTM (14593 posts) -

If she couldn't afford it, I would of course let her stay completely rent free. I would put a roof over the head of any of my close family members if they come into hardship and I'm in a position to help out (i.e. I have a home myself and at least a sofa they can sleep on).

But in a situation like that, where there are presumably no circumstances of financial hardship, I would absolutely expect that anyone staying in my home contribute to the household. I wouldn't expect a lot, but certainly a contribution to cover extra utilities costs and a small portion of the rent/mortgage. And more to the point - she would want to pay that money. She wouldn't want me to be out of pocket due to her staying there, whether I can afford it or not. She'd want to contribute. She would probably want to pay more than I would expect her to.

#35 Posted by mracoon (5083 posts) -

My grandma lived with us until she died. In South Asian families it's kind of expected of you to look after you parents when they get older, although families also tend to be larger so the burden of care is spread between more people. If they could afford it I would accept their money for the extension but I would never ask them for rent or bills. This is all assuming I have my own house in the future anyway.

#36 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (6265 posts) -

Absolutely. I've had to pay rent since I was 16. My parents made me go to college when I was barely 17 so that I could take out student loans and give the money to them. When I got a credit card I let them use it for necessities while my dad was out of a job, so long as he agreed to pay it off when he got one. He maxed it out and never paid a cent on it, even though he got a job 6 months later. That was nearly 5 years ago. It sounds like your relationships with your parents are all pretty different from mine.

...fuck. Sorry duder.

#37 Posted by LawGamer (408 posts) -

The answer to that questions is "it depends." What does it depend on? Off the top of my head, I can think of a few things:

1. You said you are financially OK yourself, but what about mom? Can she afford to pay for the addition and then also pay rent, utilities, etc. on a regular basis? Can she do that potentially long term?

2. What is the approximate value of the addition? Because it is your home and not your mother's, and an addition would be adding value to your home, there is a chance that the IRS might consider the addition at least a partial gift, which means there is the potential for gift tax consequences.

3. Is you mom on, or likely to be on, Medicaid in the next five years? If the answer is yes, that opens a whole 'nother, very complicated, can of worms. On the one hand, adding on an addition would be a good way for her to "spend down" to eligibility. On the other, because it's your home and not hers, I'd be worried that the powers that be would consider money spent on an addition a divestment that would render her ineligible for benefits.

4. Can you stand to live together and not drive one another totally insane? I live with my parents right now, and although I love them both dearly, there are definitely days I wish they'd decide to up and move to Florida.

5. Perhaps most important - if your mom needs a lot of care, are you capable of putting in the time and effort to provide it? If she needs something beyond help getting around, do you have the skill to provide it? I know we like to think of retirement homes as kind of yucky and depressing places (generally with good reason based on the ones I've been in), but they at least (purport) to have professional medical staff who can perform complex care.

#38 Posted by crithon (3518 posts) -

some sort of fantasy world where grandma cookie clicker is real

#39 Posted by Hunter5024 (6294 posts) -

@themanwithnoplan: No worries man. I was mostly just getting the point across that peoples relationships with their parents are all unique and complicated in their own ways.

#40 Posted by NoMoreMutants (79 posts) -

Ideally I guess I'd let her pay for some of the shopping and things like that. Let her feel like she's contributing and not a burden without anything severe or too formal

#41 Posted by Humanity (11395 posts) -

IF she wanted to pay I would let her - my mom will still insist on paying me back if I buy her milk or some small groceries - otherwise no, it's my mom.

#42 Edited by tourgen (4568 posts) -

finances, what do other siblings think?, past history with mother, her alternatives, her finances, your finances, ... so many questions dude.

MY mother is awesome so and I will do what I need to do to make her later years not-miserable. But it's up to her. Some other people's mothers are inhuman monsters and the most humane thing (if it were allowed) would be to dig a hole.

money. got to sit down and discuss that shit as no-nonsense as possible as soon as possible. her money is her money, not yours. don't treat it like it's yours. how much can you really take on? have you actually looked at the retirement home deals out there? has she seen all of her options?

providing care for an elderly person is no joke. She is asking for a substantial thing from you. Depending on your history that might be fine, but you should consider this honestly and know what you are getting into.

#43 Edited by Slag (5456 posts) -


Like most people have said, it entirely depends on the situation. There is a tremendous number of variables at play here.

There's no hard & fast right or wrong answer here.