You're about to move into your new digs. Congrats! You've found an affordable apartment, a roommate and you're figuring out how to split the chores. But before you go too comfortable, don't forget to discuss one important thing - the rent split. Oftentimes, future roommates neglect to discuss how they will split rent fairly.
They move into a new place and find that one person has the better end of the deal. They may begin to feel resentful or that they didn't make the best decision.
The truth is, figuring out each person's share is really easy. Nowadays, you have many tools, including rent splitting calculators, to help keep everything simple. For tips on how to split rent fairly with roommates, and awesome rent split calculator ideas, keep reading below - you'll be glad you did!
Some different ways you can split rent
There are a ton of ways to split rent with your roommate and stay within your budget. Each method depends on the space and the relationship you have with your roommates. There is no right or wrong approach. However, what matters most is that you all agree on the criteria for splitting. Below are some ways you can split rent to get you started.
1. By the space you use
Many apartment bedrooms come in different sizes. In some cases, one person will have the master bedroom while the others will not. Some rooms might come with a walk-in closet, while others will not. Whatever the case, size plays a big part in determining rent.
To keep things fair, you might want to consider splitting rent by the amount of space you use. For an easy way to figure out a fair payment process, try these three easy steps.
- First, measure the square feet of private space in the entire apartment. This will include bedrooms and bathrooms - anything that isn't shared.
- Next, measure how many square feet each person has.
- Lastly, divide each person's square footage by the total private square footage. This will give each of you the percentage of the rent you are responsible for.
Sounds fair right? If you do this, you'll never feel like you're over or underpaying for the space you have.
2. Using an income to rent ratio
Another way to split rent is to do so based on income. To get started, figure out the total income for all the roommates. You can use either gross or net income - it doesn't matter. The key is to be consistent. Next, divide your income by the total household income. This will give the % share you should pay based on income proportions.
This method is good but it can come with complications. For instance, I've seen situations where someone with a higher income is also expected to cover a large share of the non-rent expenses such as toilet paper and paper towels. Be clear which shared expenses will be subject to the income to rent ratio. Remember there are other expenses such as utilities, bathroom, and cleaning supplies to take into consideration as well.
Lastly, you can split rent evenly. This is one of the most common methods used by roommates. In this scenario, each person pays the exact same amount of rent. One room might be larger, or one person might have a bathroom all to herself but the rent is the same. This arrangement works best among friends. It works ideally when all the roommates are friends and feel comfortable sharing the common areas at the same time.
Use a rent split calculator
You might be scratching your head wondering how to split rent evenly. If this is you, you'll be glad to know that there are rent split calculators that make things very easy. If you and your roommates can not seem to agree on the fairest way to handle splitting rent, online calculators could be a neutral approach.
Calculators come in all forms and there are many that use different criteria for splitting rent. Some calculators divide everything by the amount of space each person gets and others will divide by income. The calculators are smart and will also factor in the number of rooms, bathroom size, closet space, and other features. If a calculator is right for your situation, you have many options to choose from. Here are a few to get you started:
- Splitwise Rent Split Calculator
- Good Calculators Rent Split Tool
- New York Times Rent Split Calculator
How to avoid rent split issues
You've done the math and agreed to an action plan with your roommate. However, sometimes the best-laid plans fail. Perhaps one party is having second thoughts about the original plan. Or, someone might want to change to a new plan. Whatever the case might be, you can put measures in place to avoid any issues.
Get your agreement in writing
Have you ever heard the saying "if it isn't written down, it didn't happen?" This is so true especially when it comes to sensitive topics like money. Whether you're splitting rent with a roommate, budgeting with a spouse, or buying property with friends, it's important to have written agreements.
If you don't write anything down, you'll keep the door open for everyone to change their minds every month. Before moving in with a new roommate, put together an agreement, and share the signed version with all parties in advance.
Create a payment schedule
Another way to avoid issues with roommates is to come up with a payment schedule. People typically pay rent on different timelines. Some pay a few days before the end of the month. Others, pay on the 1st of the month.
It can be difficult to coordinate payments with roommates. One way you can streamline the process is for one of you to pay the landlord for the entire apartment. Each roommate can then pay the person who paid the rent back for their share. However, this method only works if you trust your roommates to pay back.
Another solution is to set up an online payment process. Your landlord might not currently accept online payment. However, the truth is many landlords are not against online payment. Rather, they just don't know how to set it up.
There are many tools out there such as Zillow Rental Manager or Trulia's online rent payment tool. This is a great option because it allows your landlord to easily receive payments online. It also lets the landlord see which tenants paid on time and lets the landlord deal with others directly.
Splitting rent with your roommates does not have to be difficult. If you're about to sign a lease or need a new way to manage your rent with roommates, try the simple steps above. The key is to find a formula that works for you and your roommates and to stick with it. Another pro tip is to write everything down in advance to prevent any issues from popping up. Once you do this, you'll be well on your way to living peacefully and amicably with your roommates!