How do I calculate the amount of rent to charge my father-in-law?

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If the man is your FIL---why would you want to charge him room & board?

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Sometimes it's not a matter of "want to" versus "have to." My parents have lived with us for almost 4 years. They have special foods that they like, over the counter medications that they use, a special phone line just for them, as well as a cell phone with a 911 button, in case of emergency. On top of that and I know this sounds silly, our heating bill has gone from $300 a month to almost $800 a month. I don't begrudge them any of these things, but their helping with the finances makes it possible for them to stay with us, rather than go to a medicaid supported facility. I know the government frowns on children taking money from their parents for caring for them, but I'm not even talking about an ambiguous amount for their care; I'm talking about help with day to day expenses. pbmjtm, your question is not out of line at all.
Sounds like your FIL has assumed that being "family" entitles him to live FOB at your expense. If he has not even offered to help with the expenses, then you will have a hard sell no matter what formula you present to him. I would start by having a frank but non-judgmental discussion with him about the cost of keeping your home running on a tight budget. Do not accuse him of freeloading or anything like that but let him know that these days it is very difficult to make ends meet. If he gets the hint and offers to help, then you could just present your total monthly budget for keeping the house (utilities, home repairs, meals, telephone/TV etc) divide that by the number of people living in the house and suggest that he contribute that amount. So if it is you, your husband and FIL--divide by 3. He might claim that he does not eat as much as you both do, so you deduct a few dollars from his share. If he goes along with this--problem solved. If not, suggest that you and your spouse are thinking of moving into a 1-bedroom apartment because you cannot afford to stay in the place you have now. He may get the hint then. If not I would start looking for suitable apartments in your area.
But under no circumstances should you turn this into a confrontation. He will play the "family" card and you will be out in left field.
Dont charge your Father-in-law for living with you. He can contribute to the food that he eats...but you dont charge your parents or your in-laws to live with you.

Sharing expenses, paying their own expenses or CHARGING a parent to live with you is just a matter of a choice of words. We all know that there is much more involved in caretaking than expenses.

First, is it legal? Gabriel Heiser, attorney on this site, says in most states it is legal. There should be a written contract and it can not exceed what private care would cost.

Is it moral? This is totally a personal decision and I strongly feel that it is not anyone elses place to tell any of us what we should or should not do when it comes to personal finances between the caretaker and the elder as long as there is no illegality involved. No one else is in your shoes. There are many reasons to "charge" parent or in law to live with you. Is it better for them to pay their expenses (whatever it is deemed to be) or to place them in a facility and let the state pay for them after their funds are depleted? I am sure that most elders would prefer to contribute to the household and remain with their family if given a choice.

It is difficult enough to take care of an elderly parent without having to worry about finances also. Thank the Good Lord that I am comfortable and do not have financial difficulties. My heart goes out to those who have to perform all the tasks I do daily , have no respite and above all that, have to worry how to pay for things as well.

I don't understand why some readers have to insert negative comments and add guilt to the caretaker as well when they don't have any idea of the total situation. I would like to remind everyone that under ADD YOUR COMMENT, IT SPECIFICALLY STATES, ONLY HELPFUL TIPS, SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE SHOULD BE ENTERED HERE.

I come to this site for education not criticism. If there is a negative comment to say, let it stay unsaid. Let us all try to support each other and share our knowledge and empathy.
havin a family members living with you sure does raises up a bill . if you can afford it then that sfine . but if ure strugglin topay the bills i would ask for help ,
my dad doesnt pay to live here inmy home but he does buy grocries every other week and i buy grocries at every other week . it works out well .
like i said if ure strugglin to pay for something then it wont hurt to ask if they could help out .
I had two representatives of the government (one county social worker and one Social Security rep) not only tell me how much to rent to charge my mom but **encourage** me to do so!! It is not about being greedy or soul-less. In some cases, it can be to your parents benefit. Rent payments count as part of their expenses and can lower their income more and help them quality for government help (like Medicaid).

The advice that I was given by both of these people was that Mom should pay up to a third of mortgage, utiilties, taxes, phone, etc. (we didn't include food as she pays for about half of her own). They said a third because there are 3 adults of working age in the house (mom, me, my brother). My brother isn't working, but because he technically can it counts.

When we applied for Medicaid for mom, one of the documents we had to send was the rental agreement. They did take it into consideration when determining her spend down.

In the end, her spend down is still so high that she doesn't have enough extra at the end of the month to pay me anything. BUT if she did, I would accept it. It is not about profiting. My costs have gone up greatly since she moved in. It is about paying the bills and keeping a roof over our heads. If I were to lose my house, she would have no where to go.

In addition, if she did have money left over, she could eventually lose her Medicaid (if she saved more than $2000). That wouldn't be good for her at all.

pbmtjm - I hope this helps you determine how much is reasonable. As someone else said, everyone's case is different.

Take care.
Your response is exactly what I was talking about. I was so pleased to read that your response was a bulls eye on the target. You addressed the original question and your advice was extremely good.

To take this one step further, since so many of the people reading this are unable to retain a lawyer, do you know of any web sites that have a sample of an agreement?

Does anyone else have samples of this document that they would be willing to share after having removed all the personal information?

10 Stars to you !!!!!!!!
If the person being cared for is a veteran or spouse of a veteran, there is a possibility that there may be Federal aid.

Go to
Click on the blue "long term care fast facts" link at the bottom of the page

Also try

Lots of good information on this site
If he has an income, he shouldn't be exempt from contributing to the household just because he's your FIL. First, find out the going rate for renting a room in someone's home (including utilities). A grocery store receipt would give you an idea how much it costs to feed him if he's on a special diet and how much to charge him if he needs constant care and supervision.

Still, in the interest of fairness I'd charge him a flat rate based on his actual income and put it in plain English so there aren't any misunderstandings or "bochinches" (Puerto Rican slang for "gossip") among family members who might think you're only trying to take him for a ride. And don't forget to put it down in black and white to cover your a__ and his at the same time; otherwise it never happened.

-- ED

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