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? Who is responsible? There are plenty of factors to consider, so let’s take a look at some of the best tips to consider when it comes to dividing rent with a roommate.
1. 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 (i.e. even if your roommate moves out in the middle of the night). So find out landlord’s policy on roommate responsibility in advance and check the lease to confirm it states the same thing.
2. 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. You will then need to decide who is the main point of contact to pay the rent and how to manage payments amongst roommates.
3. 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. Set up this expectation before moving in with your roommate so there are no surprises later. Splitwise has a calculator you can use in advance to help determine how much you should pay.
4. Decide How to Split The Bills
Should you pay equal rent? If one person has a bigger room or bigger closet, it is not uncommon for that person to pay slightly more (maybe 5% more). Figure out how to split the rent, and also utilities. Utilities usually include water, trash, electricity, Internet and TV. 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. For example, if you live in a bigger bedroom with more electrical equipment and facilities, you may have to pay more rent and utility bills compared to your roommate. However, if everything is the same in the house, it is fair to split it equally. If one person prefers HBO on the TV, perhaps they agree to pay for the HBO.
5. Organize 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. While this agreement likely won’t help you get off the hook with your landlord, it can help avoid disputes with roommate and can be effective in holding them responsible.
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.