Here’s a question for you. If one of your grown-up kids works five days a week while still living under your roof, should you charge them rent?
You may have heard the screams earlier this month when we told daughter #1 that while she’s on her “Gap Yah”, saving up to go travelling around South America, the house she treats like a hotel comes at a cost.
We thought £100 a month seemed fair. Daughter #1 did not. During what was supposed to be a civilised dinner, the outrage button was pressed and hell was unleashed. While eating the home-made chicken korma, made by yours truly from scratch from our well-thumbed copy of The Hairy Bikers’ Great Curries cookbook whose pages are splattered with splodges of korma and tandoori sauce, she dictated her terms of the deal.
And this is what she said. “If I’m paying rent, the food had better improve.”
Dear reader, you could have knocked me down with a feather. As well as the use of the boss’ car whenever she wants, dinner on the table every night and her own en suite bedroom since she was seven, we thought £100 might even have been a bit light considering what she’s earning.
But it turns out there’s a reason why she’ll be off to university to study law this time next year. She absolutely loves arguing and like Jay Z said in 99 Problems, she ain’t passed the bar but she knows a little bit, and yelled: “I’M SAVING UP TO GO TRAVELLING. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DO THAT WHEN YOU’RE CHARGING ME RENT?”
And that, m’lud, concludes the case for the defence. But it’s always worth reaching a settlement before a case gets to court so we agreed a compromise. £100 rent on the first of every month, but we’d save it all up and give it back to her before she jets off to the other side of the world for months on end next February.
And that’s another thing. What kind of parent lets their 19-year-old daughter wander around South America with her friend for months on end? Have they never watched the news or Banged Up Abroad?
Yes we have. And you try stopping her.