Dreaming of being home alone?
We all enjoy playing happy families, knowing everyone will soon return to their own homes – but sometimes they decide to move in
Over the festive season, millions of us entertained grown-up offspring – but how would we feel if those young adults – often plus partner – decided to move in for the indefinite future and not go home?
That’s the puzzle facing well over a million households whose empty space means adult children and partners remain there months or even years later.
Welcome to the world of landlord parents (or landlords-in-law for partners)
Figures from Churchill Insurance show one in eight of 20 to 30somethings together with partners live with these family landlords, equal to 2.5million people or 1.25million couples.
Some parents love it – others do it through gritted teeth and pray for final departure day.
Equally, younger folk have a range of emotions with almost all expecting to leave – but only when they have saved enough to put a deposit on a home. The survey shows one in four couples moved back to mum and dad to save rent, and save up enough to consider buying their own place.
One in eight returned with a partner to “home comforts” – the washing machine, central heating, and the dishwasher – directly after university while a similar number returned to childhood homes because renting elsewhere became too stressful.
A key question – and one often leading to inter-generational rows – is rent. Only one in five pay anything – according to the research, the average is just £115.60 a month, around one-eighth of the typical commercial rent.
A second possible point of dispute is how other household costs such as power bills, cleaning materials, food and maintenance are divided between the two generations. Most boomerang couples work and have incomes.
Initially at least, most parents welcome their children home with open arms. More than a quarter are pleased to spend more time with their offspring and get to know their partner with a similar number pleased to give them the opportunity to save for their own home.
With couples often spending £1,000 a month or more on rent, living rentfree for two years with other saving accrues more than £25,000 – enough to get onto the housing ladder in many parts.
However, many got fed up with their re-nesting kids after a while. One in three said the younger people failed with household chores such as washing up, cleaning clothes (especially bedding) and keeping the place tidy.
Parents with adult children living at home spend £456 a year extra on children, according to insurer Scottish Widows.
More than a fifth pay adult children’s phone bills, a quarter buy their clothes, and many never expect loans returned.
It’s great if everyone gets on and has a great time, but arguments frequently erupt and it’s not unreasonable for Mum and Dad to expect to have the home to themselves when the kids are grown up