23 Jan Splitting Rent With Roommates
When moving into a new house or apartment with roommates, it’s important to find a fair way of determining how much each person should pay for rent. As a matter of fact, this should be discussed and agreed upon before even applying for the apartment. Application fees can add up, and not having a plan to divvy up rent payments (and utilities) among roommates is a sure way to let that money go to waste when people have unwavering opinions on how much they should pay.
There are several strategies you may choose to fairly determine what each roommate should pay for their portion of rent. The following are some of what I have found work best.
Size is the most common way to divide rent payments. It is also one of the fairest methods. Someone renting the master bedroom should probably pay more than the person occupying a smaller room. Instead of estimating the value of a larger room, it’s a good idea to calculate the cost by something measurable, like square foot.
Here is an example:
Monthly Rent: $1,500
Square Footage: 2,000 sq ft
-Bedroom 1: 300 sq ft
-Bedroom 2: 200 sq ft
-Bedroom 3: 100 sq ft
-Common Area: 1400 sq ft
In this example, the cost per square foot is $0.75 (1500 rent/2000 sq ft). The common area (size of the house NOT including bedrooms) is 1400 sq ft (2000 sq ft -600 sq ft). So, each roommate should pay at least $350 for rent (1400 sq ft * 0.75 cost/sq ft). Then, add on the additional cost of each bedroom (bedroom size * cost per sq ft). Bedroom 1 for example, would cost an additional $225 (300 sq ft * .75 cost/sq ft) on top of the base cost of $350. Total rent, therefore, would be $575 for Bedroom 1, $500 for Bedroom 2, and $425 for Bedroom 3.
In addition to size, you will sometimes need to factor in other amenities to determine each roommate’s rent portion. Having an attached bathroom, for instance, might be worth a lot more than having bathroom located down the hall. Other amenities to consider include walk-in closets and garage spaces. It might be more difficult to determine the value of each of these. Ask for some third-party opinions if you and your roommates can’t agree.
Most utilities can be split equally among everyone in the house. On some occasions, however, this might be an issue. For example, what will you do if one roommate prefers Netflix over cable but you can’t live without the news or sports channels? This is an important factor to consider.
Figuring out how to split up rent between roommates can be a frustrating process, but it’s important to find a solution that everyone feels comfortable with to avoid resentment down the road.
Don’t forget to sign an agreement after reaching a decision so that all of the details are in writing. While this might seem like overkill, it will eliminate any confusion or disagreements that might occur later on.