What’s Fair?


When Jim moved into a house with his son, Ethan, eight years ago, they agreed to split the rent 50-50. Since then Ethan has married and had two children—effectively leaving Jim with just one space to call his own, his bedroom—yet they’re still splitting the rent 50-50. Ethan’s sisters feel he’s taking advantage of their father. What should Jim do?

--Have a heart-to-heart with Ethan about the unfairness of the current split?
--Find another roommate, preferably one without a family?
--Ask Ethan to pay for the household supplies since his family uses most of them?
--Ignore his daughters and keep paying half?

The Panel Weighs In

Walt: If Jim feels that he’s paying the same or less than he would be in another living situation and loves being with his family, he shouldn’t rock the boat by bringing up the subject of rent with his son.

Gayle: Ethan is no doubt snowed under with all the additional expenses of young children, but fair is fair. His family should at least vacate the living room at pre-determined times so Jim can have some grownup time in his own home.

Michelle: Jim should let Ethan know he has to pay more since he has four people living in the house to Jim’s one. If they weren’t related, would Jim stand for this?

Jeremy: Why am I the only one who thinks Jim should move out? It’s been too long, the circumstances have changed too drastically, and it’s now too awkward to bring up the rent split. Time for Jim to go.

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