father comforting son
Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
March 9, 2023 ·  6 min read

Man Asks Stepson To Start Paying Rent The Day After He Turns 18, Sparks Fierce Debate

If you are living at a stranger’s place, you are expected to pay rent. In fact, that is a law. But when you are staying at your stepdad’s house, should you still pay rent? Or when does it become acceptable for a stepdad to ask for rent from their stepson? In a recent post made on r/AITA, an 18-year-old guy from the United Kingdom asked the usual posters on the sub if it was fine if he refused to get a job and pay the rent at his parents’ house. “I had my 18th birthday 3 days ago. On the day after my birthday, my stepdad told me he wants me to start paying rent to “live in his house”. My stepdad is quite Christian and conservative.

I don’t expect to live rent-free forever but I know my stepdad is coming from a spiteful place. He and my mum have 2 kids in 9 years of marriage, I’m not his own and it’s clear I’m a reminder that his wife was a non-virgin divorced woman before him so of course I’m being treated like a guest and my mum is allowing it because she thinks the sun shines out of his a**. He doesn’t need my money to pay rent, plus I don’t have much and he wants £100 per month. We still have lots of time for this but I bet his own kids won’t be paying rent while they’re in school.

Step-Dad Asks 18-Year-Old Stepson To Pay Rent 

Judging by OP’s statement, it does seem like the stepdad is taking some misplaced anger, entitlement, and sadism out on the stepson. “My A-level exams (UK school system) start mid-April and last up to July. I’m doing STEM subjects and I’m hoping to fulfil my offer for a medicine course at a good university. I’m aiming for A* A* A* A which will take a lot of studying, and if I have to get a job it will be difficult to maintain that level of studying that I need to do.

Considering OP is actually not sitting idle and working towards a goal, it does sound quite surprising that the step-father is more interested in getting a payment, rather than encouraging his stepson to get a good job. “I’m literally moving out in September. (Idk if the university finances differ in the USA and Ik this platform is predominantly American, so in the UK uni is funded by loans, and these loans cover everything and are 100% my responsibility and my parents won’t be financing anything).

So it honestly just feels vindictive, and it’s not like I’m unproductive. I’m trying to save the money I had left from my last job for when I move out too and paying my step dad £800 when he doesn’t need it feels spiteful and like he’s punishing me and making my life harder for being born.” For a third party, either OP is making up quite a big tale about him having to pay rent, or his step-father is quite possibly a major piece of work. 

Thankfully, The OP Has A Thoughtful Aunt

“Basically my aunt (mums sister) who isn’t fond of him said he’s being ridiculous and told me to come live with her. Her house is an hour away but my school is in the middle (30 mins each way if that makes sense). She said she has a guest room free so I can save my money for uni. This benefits me most so I took her up on the offer. My mother keeps crying that I’m leaving already, so my step dad is annoyed. We got into an argument where he said he’s just treating me like a tenant to prepare me for the real world, so I said “do tenants not have the right to leave?” Which annoyed him further. My step dad says im hurting my mother and taking resources from my aunt because im “too entitled” to pay rent. This is just what’s best for me.

In our opinion, OP’s parents should be quite proud of him for the decisions that he has taken to ensure that he doesn’t spend more money on luxuries or unnecessary items. And if it helps him save more money by staying at his aunt’s place, his parents should encourage him to do that. 

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r/AITA Wasn’t Impressed By The Step-Dad’s Attitude Towards The Step-Son

So, what did r/AITA think about the whole conundrum of the stepfather asking his stepson to pay for staying at the stepfather’s house?

u/little500HondaCBR was quite detailed in their explanation as to how OP’s stepfather’s plan blew massively in his own face. “Actions, meet consequences. Your stepdad tried to flex on you… and his powerplay backfired. Your mother may be crying, but she LET HIM DO IT. That house is half hers, and so is the decision to charge you rent. She is not blameless here. Your aunt’s resources are none of your stepdad’s business. OP, move out without another guilt pang, okay? Work hard to crush your exams, and be super-considerate and make yourself very useful in your aunt’s household.

u/Altruistic-Motor-833 also commented in a similar vein- “You’re not the one upsetting your mum, your step dad is. You’re just being pragmatic, and finding a solution to the problem he caused. He’s a jerk for making you pay rent when you’re still at college. Your mum is a jerk for letting him treat you badly, and then being upset when you find a solution. Try not to fall out with your family, but ultimately you’ve got to do what’s best for you and your long term goals.” 

AITA Was Mostly Sympathetic With OP

u/Wholesome_Hyena mentioned, “I wish I had an award to give you for ‘do tenants not have the right to leave?’ I’m sorry you have to deal with situation but congratulations on figuring out a solution- you’re handling this beautifully. Best of luck with school!

u/SirEDCaLot summed up the comments by other posters- “Tell your mom you don’t want her to be sad and you don’t want to leave. But you are trying to save for school and paying £800 to live for the next 8 months is not something you can do- you don’t have the time to study AND work; it’s better to invest your time in studying so you can get a good career and good income. Tell her no matter what stepdad’s excuses are, you’re very aware of how the real world works, and in the real world acing your exam, getting scholarships, and getting a good degree will help you a LOT more than some ‘tough love’ life lesson that leaves you with worse grades and a worse education.

And while you wish she’d stand up for you, you understand she’s in a tough spot and wants to keep the peace in her new family. So she’s doing what’s right for her, you gotta do what’s right for you. That’s just how life works. You’ll always love her and she’s always your mom, and you’ll see her when you can. Then turn around and leave and go live with your aunt and f***** ace that exam and have a great career. And when you get your degree and career, you can look back at your stepdad and be glad you’re not a small petty man like he is.

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  1. AITA for refusing to get a job and pay rent at my parents house?Reddit. February 2023.

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