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‘My adult girls won’t pay share of household bills’

Dear Coleen

I’m a 51-year-old single mum to two daughters aged 24 and 28, who still live at home with me.

My eldest shares my room and bed with me, as I only have a two-bed home, and the girls do not get along so sharing with each other is not an option.

I have a good job and put them both through university where they did very well. They also now have good jobs.

I’ve always supported them financially and asked very little in terms of contributions towards bills and food.

However, at their ages I feel they should now contribute more, so I’ve asked them for £300 a month each towards rent, bills, food and petrol, as one of them doesn’t drive, so I take her to and from work and anywhere else she needs to go.

They have reacted very badly to this, saying it’s not their fault I earn less than them, and that I buy expensive food, which they don’t need or want, even though they eat it all. My eldest daughter is now saying if she’s paying towards the house it becomes a third hers, and she can do as she likes in it.

She also claims she can’t pay the money because she uses her overdraft every month. Am I being unfair?

Coleen says

No, I don’t think it’s unfair to ask them to contribute, but I do believe you need to be realistic in terms of what they can actually afford.

I think you should sit down with them and have another discussion about it. Compile a list of all the household expenses and ask them to give you a breakdown of their incomings and outgoings, too.

Then see if you can come to an arrangement that works for you and that they can both realistically afford.

I think they’ll be very surprised if they can see in black and white what it actually costs to run the house every month.

It’s not just food and utility bills – it’s tons of stuff they’ve never had to think about, from toilet paper to bin bags.

So I don’t think you’re being unreasonable, but you do have to be practical and there’s no point in them paying you £300 a month if they can’t afford if it and it means them getting into debt.

As far as owning a third of your house goes, you can tell her to dream on about that!

Dear Coleen

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