How to Split Rent with Roommates – A Complete Guide
What can you do to avoid unnecessary confrontations in the flat? The topic of how to split rent with roommates can result in heated conversations, especially as the economy puts many people’s budgets under pressure. So, what’s fair? Are there ways to divide expenses better, to suit everyone? Let’s help you figure this out.
You may be willing to pay a little extra for that jacket you adore but no one wants to pay more than they should for rent. Whether you’re the landlord, a homeowner with friends renting rooms from you or a flat mate trying to make ends meet, we’re here to help everyone!
Don’t be too quick to determine or accept the rent for a specific room or space. Many factors play a role in what can be seen as a fair monthly amount to pay for the privilege of staying there. Consider it all, to ensure a fair arrangement.
Equal Isn’t Always Fair
Perhaps you simply counted the number of people, added up all the expenses and divided it equally between everyone. Sounds fair, right? Or does it?
In truth, no two people in a house or flat have the exact same lifestyle or habits. Also, very few buildings are laid out in a way that gives everyone access to exactly the same amenities, space or features.
For example, rooms are shaped differently or can have different cupboards. Also, roommates have different dietary needs, so their grocery contributions need to be adjusted accordingly. Perhaps you want to make allowances for individuals who are going through a tough financial time?
It’s all important when you consider what’s really fair to charge someone for renting some space from you.
Who knows, the messy roommate who doesn’t do chores and seems to avoid any responsibilities may simply feel they’re paying too much rent? An open discussion and rent adjustment could improve the dynamics at home.
So, what are the topics to consider on how to split rent with roommates?
How to Split Rent with Roommates—5 Things to Consider
Few things in life can create tension between individuals as easy as money does. And you don’t want that between roommates who are in each other’s space on a daily basis. Consider the following before you even do roommate interviews. Or, if you’re already living in the same house or apartment, perhaps it’s time to reassess?
How Big Is Each Room?
Space is a valuable commodity in any home. It determines comfort, how much furniture you can have inside and how cluttered the space feels. Also, the size of the cupboards affects how someone can organize his or her life. All these factors can guide you in determining each person’s rent.
- Measure each room
- Add the square footage together—just the rooms, not the communal areas like the bathroom and kitchen
- Work out what percentage of bedroom space each room represents
- Ask the occupant of each room to pay that percentage of the total rent
Do Some People Have More Perks than Others?
You do need to take into consideration each flatmate’s entire experience though. As mentioned, the size of cupboards can require you to adjust the rent slightly. Other aspects to consider include:
- If only some roommates use parking facilities, those individuals should pay a little more for the privilege. Other roommates shouldn’t carry the burden of parking tariffs on their behalf.
- Do certain rooms have en suite bathrooms or walk in cupboards? These are luxuries that should impact the occupants’ rental fees.
- If one occupant has a pet that roams free in the house, discuss an additional fee, because you may need to deep clean carpets from time to time. Or perhaps a cat ends up damaging the curtains and couch with its nails? Otherwise, get it in writing that any and all additional expenses related to the pet will be covered by the owner.
Of course, these expenses depend on factors like what additional amenities are available and what the landlord charges you for.
Take Utilities into Consideration
When you determine each person’s rent, make sure the rent will cover all expenses that create your comfortable living environment. For example, everyone benefits from the utilities, so their rent must help cover those costs.
You can ask everyone a flat rate, or calculate each month’s rent based on the utility expenses of the previous month.
To prevent roommates blaming each other for wasting water or using too much power, discuss guidelines for utility usage. For example, no one should run the dishwasher unless it’s full and you can set a maximum time for showers to limit water wastage.
Enzo tip: you can make these guidelines part of the house rules and with Enzo it’s easy to share them via the app.
In general, dividing rent based on income doesn’t seem fair. But it is an option for couples who are discussing ways to budget in a 2-income home. With each person paying according to their available funds, both parties feel they’re doing their share, without putting one of them under too much pressure. For practical sharing of expenses, while ensuring both parties have a little left over to save or spoil themselves, this is a quick way to work out a budget.
Even close friends who rent a space together can consider this approach. If you want to help out someone who isn’t earning a lot, you can cover a little more rent with your own salary? Ask him or her how much rent they can afford and offer to pay the rest on their behalf.
If you use this approach in a setup with multiple flat mates, just make sure everyone’s aware of the arrangement. You don’t want a backlash from another roommate who feels unfairly treated.
Each Person Picks an Expense
The ideal budget plan is also easy to manage. So, what about one person paying the rent and another covering utilities and general food expenses? No need to settle your debt with your roommate and wasting time trying to figure out how much you owe each other by the end of the month.
Of course, this only works if rent is more or less the same as the amount the other expenses add up to. So, you’ll need data from the past few months to see what a viable agreement would be that’s fair to all concerned.
Enzo tip: if you do need to settle bills together, an app like Enzo makes it easy to track the data. You can capture receipts and easily enter who paid for which expense. The app will show you what to pay to which roommate after all expenses have been covered.
For most of these methods you can find online rent calculators and other resources to help calculate accurately.
How to Manage Expenses Apart from Rent
Of course, smart home management in a flat doesn’t stop at knowing how to split rent with roommates. There are many other expenses you may need to manage. Unlike utility expenses, they aren’t regular expenses, and the costs will differ vastly between months. To avoid conflict, you need practical solutions to keep track of these random monthly expenses, such as:
- Meals: Have a discussion. If everyone buys their own food, simply ask small contributions for basic items like milk or bread. You can also plan meals together. One roommate can buy the food and others can reimburse him or her for their share. However, this can be difficult to manage if everyone has vastly different dietary requirements.
- Take out dinners: One person can pay the restaurant and others can pay their share via electronic transfer or in cash. You can also have different roommates pay each time you order. Keep record and settle with each other at the end of each month, based on your calculations.
- Deep cleaning: Include the cost of a yearly deep cleaning in everyone’s rent or ask roommates to contribute once a year based on their room size. Alternatively, you can do the work yourselves and allocate the chores via a chore wheel or chore tracker app.
- Garden expenses: If there is a garden, all flat mates should contribute for general upkeep. Those who want to tend to a vegetable garden or flowers should cover the costs themselves.
- Parties: The expenses of a party should be covered by whoever organizes one, and that includes getting the place cleaned up. If you organize a party as a team though, everyone should contribute equally.
Enzo tip: use the Enzo app to list and allocate chores. The app also helps track expenses like take out dinners and can tell you who owes you money at the end of the month.
You can Make Roommate Money Management Easy!
Your priority in how to split rent with roommates should be fairness to each roommate and aligning their rental amount with the value they get. That will prevent unnecessary conflict. But also be fair to yourself and do thorough research on all possible expenses. Don’t make the mistake of taking on more expenses than your own budget can handle.
If you need assistance, the Enzo team can help you make our chore and bill tracking app work for your unique setup. And if you have a particular question, contact us via Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp.