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Kids are moving back home with mom and dad more than at any time in recent history. The Census Bureau reports “More young people today live in their parents’ home than in any other arrangement: 1 in 3 young people, or about 24 million 18- to 34-year-olds, lived in their parents’ home in 2015.” And that’s up considerably from 10 years earlier when arrangement “in 35 states. . . the majority of young adults lived independently in their own household,”

The numbers are staggering. The Census Bureau reports that 31 percent of 18-35 year olds live with mom and dad. What’s more, “almost 9 in 10 young people who were living in their parents’ home a year ago, are still living there today.” Add to that another 21 percent who have “Other” living arrangements. The Census Bureau doesn’t break “Other” out, but it includes people living with relatives other than a spouse such as siblings and grandparents. So the percentage of young people living with relatives including parents could exceed 40 percent.

And some of them are just mooching off parents and relatives. One in four of the people living “at home” doesn’t have a job and isn’t going to school. What’s more, even those who have jobs sometimes don’t see any need to contribute to the family by paying rent or buying food. But that’s their parents’ problem.

The reason for this mass moving home is of course that young people today are often facing huge debts and can’t find jobs that pay enough to cover everything such as rent and child care. It’s in the news almost daily. And we have to feel bad for those who are saddled with huge student loan debt and poor employment prospects.

But claiming to live at home can be a convenient ploy for people who may have worn out their welcome in rental housing. So when someone applies to rent and says he or she has been “living at home,” for the past however many years, are we to take that claim at face value?

The maxim “verify everything” is more important than ever. We have to find out if they actually are and have been living with mom and dad, or grandma and grandpa, or a brother or sister, or if they are just covering up a questionable rental history. We have any number of ways to ferret out the truth.

First, on their application they will list where they live and the phone number to reach parents. Many times it will be a cell phone number and a determined bad tenant will have a friend claim to be mom or dad. First, check county tax records online to see who owns the property they say is mom and dad’s. If that checks out, see if there’s a landline for the house. If there is, call it instead of the cell phone number on the application and talk to mom or dad.

They will probably claim that they haven’t lived anywhere but at their parents’ home since they got out of college or whenever. But to rent, they have to have a job or other verifiable, consistent income. When you call the employer, not only verify employment but also ask, “just to be sure, I have their address as. . . is that the same as you have?”

By Robert L. Cain

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