When renting a property with other people, sharing housing costs is always a subject of concern. It is vital to work out a system of sharing bills and know what to expect on your monthly outgoings. Failing to design a plan could get you in major financial trouble even when you have played your part. In fact, bills are the most likely causes of conflict in shared properties and can become a barrier to living in a successful and harmonious home. Also, remember to discuss the variables such as what to do when a housemate decides to sublet or move out.
Water, electricity and gas bills should be split equally. It is likely that you may get into disputes when the heating and cooling bills come in, especially if one party is using advanced appliances. For instance, if your roommate uses facilities such as a floor heater, it is only fair for them to pay a higher amount to cover the energy bill. Think of ways to conserve energy such as recycling if sustainability is important to you. Whenever you feel your energy bills are unreasonably high, have your appliances checked to ensure they are in good shape.
Broadband costs should be shared equally. If the account happens to be under your name, you are responsible for paying the bill. Some companies only name one person on the account, while others allow several names. It means that any account holder can be asked to pay. If you are the only one appearing on the bill and your mates refuse to give their share, you will be entitled to covering the entire bill. When you have a mate who works from home and another who downloads videos constantly, they should take the larger share of the bill. So make sure you pick the right broadband provider that has a good reputation in the business.
Living in a shared space means being careful with every item in the house. Even with a second-hand TV or couch, people tend to be overly protective of what they own, especially those purchased new. With that, it is necessary for all members to treat every item as if it were their own. For instance, ask your partner if it is okay to use their blender without assuming you have every right to everything that’s in the house.
Agree on a means of payment that does not burden one person to take care of late rent. Keep records of the payment as it is a way of securing tenancy and preventing future disputes. If you have a flatmate agreement and you pay your rent via the bank, there is already a good record. Get a written receipt each time you pay. The following details should appear:
- The period that payment relates to
- Amount paid
- Date of payment
- Name of the person completing the payment
- Name of the person receiving the rent
When it comes to splitting rent, several factors need to be considered. Some rooms, for instance, may be larger than others, have better lighting and features, among others. If all rooms are of the same size with the same features, it may be fair to share the cost equally. For efficiency, make the payments into one third party account through automatic bank deposits. Your property manager should set the account for you.
Working Out How To Share The Bills
It is a good idea to sit and decide on the mode of bill sharing with your housemates for a fair system of dividing the costs and ensure they are paid on time. First, make a list of shared bills every person will be expected to contribute to and make an estimation of monthly costs. Then, add the total cost of the bills, divide it, and ensure every member gives a fair share of their contribution. Draw up a spreadsheet for an easy view of what’s expected from every member. Direct debit is a great way to pay, especially since you can be assured that bills will always be completed in good time provided the bill payer’s account has enough funds.
Sharing house bills can be complicated, and this is why the agreement should be put into writing and emailed to every player. Friendly emails, for instance, are great at establishing the rules. People have different approaches to splitting bills, but having an open communication can help in alleviating bill-related arguments.