If you’re planning to move into an apartment with a roommate, you’re probably wondering how to split monthly rent. How do you make the payment to the landlord? How to fairly split rent to make sure everyone is happy?
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1. Decide How to Split The Bills
Generally, roommates should pay an equal share – that is 50-50 split in the case of 2 people living together or 33.3%-33.3%-33.3% in the case of 3 people living together (or about a third each).
However, if one person has a bigger room or closet, it is not uncommon for that roommate to pay slightly more (maybe 3 to 5% more). Figure out how to split the rent, and also utilities. Depending on how you use the home, you may choose to split the utility costs equally with your roommate or one person may pay more if they use more facilities in the apartment (i.e. if one person requires super TV package).
If you want to get really technical, you could calculate total square footage of each bedroom, and then divide square footage of each bedroom by total bedroom square footage to figure out who should pay more. In practice however, it’s best to use the eye ball approach and be fair. If there’s not a noticeable difference in the space (size and features) of each person’s bedroom, it’s likely not worth getting into.
2. Know the Landlord’s Policy
If there are two or more occupants on the lease, the legal responsibility for each occupant is usually joint and individual. In other words, if your roommate fails to pay rent, you are likely responsible for paying for the other half, regardless of the reason. Know this policy.
3. Ask if the Landlord has an Online Payment System
Some landlords have online payment systems where each individual can pay their share of the rent. This is easier so no one has to worry about dealing with manual checks and the mail. If this is not an option, you will need to coordinate rent checks with your roommates.
4. Check for Any Third-Party Apps for Rent Splitting
Some third-party apps, such as Splitwise, make it easy to coordinate rent payment with roommates. Splitwise has a calculator you can use in advance to help determine how much you should pay. You can also just use paper or excel.
5. Get a Written Agreement with your Roommate
It is always best to have everything in writing so there are no misunderstandings once you take possession of your apartment or home. Have him or her sign the written agreement so you can both refer back to it in the event of a disagreement. The agreement should also have a statement on what happens in case one party breaches the terms you have both set out. There may be some leeway for late payments, but it should be stated in the agreement.
Splitting rent with a roommate doesn’t have to be difficult, but it is always a good idea to decide all the important things ahead of time to avoid any conflicts while you are living together.