Living with Housemates
Moving in with housemates can be great fun. You have people to chat with after a long day at work, and there are people to share the cost of rent and household bills with throughout your tenancy. Before you move in with housemates, however, you need to make sure everyone is on the same page about the tenancy, splitting rent and bills.
How the costs are split will vary depending on the property and what kind of arrangements you have with your housemates on things like electricity usage.
Here are the things you need to talk about when you’re splitting rent and expenses with your housemates.
Tip #1 Who should be on the Tenancy Agreement
The answer is everyone intending on living in the property, should be equally accountable and responsible for the Tenancy.
When applying for a shared house, make sure you all put in an application and are all on the Tenancy Agreement. This will then ensure everyone is equally responsible for the rental throughout the Tenancy, and most importantly when it is time to end the Tenancy as the Tenancy Agreement is a legal document.
Tip #2 Work out How Much Rent Each Person Will Pay
The best way to splitting rent and ensure payments are easily tracked among housemates is to open a joint account which each individual deposits their rent into, and then have a direct deposit set up to the agency, this will avoid discrepancies should one housemate say they have paid, however, in reality, have not.
Working out how much rent each housemate needs to pay will vary based on how the property is set up and which housemate has particular bedrooms and access to amenities. For example, the master bedroom with an ensuite is going to be more expensive than one of the smaller bedrooms with a shared bathroom. If there’s only one garage space, however, you may choose to let the housemate with the smaller room park their car in the garage. In this case, you may agree on paying equal rent. This all depends on the property and the facilities that each housemate will access.
Tip #3 Put your plan to split the rent in writing
You have your lease in writing; do the same with how you will split the rent. Once a decision is on paper, it’s more formal so no one is confused about who pays what and when
Tip #4 Discuss the Bills
It’s hard to track individual usage of utilities in a property. This is why most housemates will agree to split bills such as electricity and the internet evenly. Before you decide to split everything evenly, however, make sure you have a conversation with your housemates about their usage.
For example, if one of the bedrooms in your place has air-conditioning and your housemate wants it on each night in summer, then you may agree that the housemate with air-conditioning will pay a larger portion of the electricity bill. It’s all about coming to a fair agreement based on everyone’s typical usage of things like electricity and the internet.
Tip #5 Talk About Other Costs
The cost for other things such as staple food items and shared items such as cleaning products could also be split amongst housemates; it just depends on how your house is set up and everyone’s preferences.
Some people like to have a communal fund for basics such as milk, butter and bread, while other groups of housemates will just do their own thing. It’s worth a quick conversation upfront to see what your housemate’s preferences are to make sure everyone is happy with how costs are split for shared items.
While the conversation of working out how rent and expenses are going to split can be a bit uncomfortable, getting clear from the start about how you’ll organise the house will minimise the risk of disagreements down the track.
Get the best experience with living with your housemates!
Be sure to check out our other blog explaining “things you need to buy before you move with flatmates into a share house”