How to write up a contract for adult children living at home

firma contract 10509 image by pablo from

You've raised your kids, but they won't leave the nest--- or perhaps they're boomerang kids. Whether the stay or return is due to financial hardship or convenience, your relationship has changed, and you can navigate this new territory with clear expectations on either side.

Your adult child needs to act like any adult would in your home: adhere to your house rules, contribute financially when he's able and show respect to you and any other person living in the house. Write up a contract so your and your child's responsibilities and expectations are clear.

Sit down with your partner, if you have one, and discuss your expectations for your child living at home. Decide if she's going to pay rent, what a fair amount would be and how long you expect her to live with you. Consider if she'll pay a portion of utilities, groceries and cable, Internet and other amenities she'll use while living with you. Talk about who's to cook and clean, what the rules are regarding sex, alcohol, overnight guests, smoking and parties. Decide who parks in the garage and where the extra car parks. After you've agreed on expectations and responsibilities with your partner, discuss them with your child to arrive at a reasonable agreement that works for both child and parent.

List each topic individually. Your contract might read something like this:

  1. Jodi Johnson agrees to move into 123 1st Street's basement bedroom on June 1, 2010. She agrees to pay £65 for rent and £32 for groceries on the first of each month.

  2. J. Johnson agrees to pay one-third of all utilities and amenity fees, due by the 15th of each month.

  3. J. Johnson agrees to park on the left side of the driveway.

  4. J. Johnson agrees to clean her own room and bathroom at least once a week and more often as necessary. J. Johnson agrees to clean common areas of the house at least once a week and more often as necessary. J. Johnson agrees to clean the kitchen after she uses it.

  5. J. Johnson may have overnight guests, but must be quiet after 10:00 pm on weekdays and midnight on weekends.

  6. J. Johnson may host parties with no more than 10 guests. She must get approval from her parents at least 2 days in advance. J. Johnson is responsible for cleaning up after her guests and restoring property to previous condition.

  7. Smoking is not allowed in the house or garage. Smoking is permitted on the deck, porch and other outside areas. Cigarette butts must be disposed of in an approved receptacle.

  8. This contract is valid for 6 months. This contract expires December 1, 2010. If J. Johnson does not have other living arrangements at that time, this contract may be renegotiated.

  9. Any violation of this contract may result in eviction.

Sign and date the contract. Your child needs to do the same. Make two copies. Keep one in a safe place and give the other to your child.