min read
· Posted on
February 21, 2024

Splitting costs in a share house without the added dose of drama

Living with house mate doesn't have to come with serious drama. We're sharing the best ways to avoid money-conflict with your house mates.

What's the key learning?

  • Different ways to split your rent
  • How to set ground rules on day 1 and start your share house experience off on the right foot
  • What topics to discuss with your house mates before moving in together
  • Making splitting bills convenient and easy

Friends and New Girl make living in a share house look like an absolute blast. 

You’re living independently with your best friends, smashing chips and Pepsi in your room at 2am, buying way too many houseplants, and coming home with some weird-ass dating stories.

But - sitcoms don’t always show you the tougher side of living in a share house...the costs, the conflicts, and the 4 month fungus-filled loaf of bread in the back of the fridge.

Most share house conflicts arise from one of two things; cleaning and bills.

We can’t help you with the cleaning thing, that’s your personal problem - soz.

But bills? That we can help with.

Splitting your rent

In some cases, this is easy peasy, where you split the rent equally amongst everyone who lives in the property.

But sometimes, it can get tricky.

What if one person has an ensuite, and a bigger bedroom than another? Equal split doesn’t exactly work then.

Or what if one bedroom is occupied by a couple and the other by a single occupant? 

Here’s four ways you can split your rent:

1. Do it your way

Bit of a no-brainer, but if everyone agrees, you can come up with your own agreement with your housemates to split rent when it’s not equally divided. 
2. Square meterage

Another way to go about it is to divide the rent based on square meterage of each bedroom and divide that by the total square meterage of the property to give you a percentage of the space that each room takes up, and then allocate rent according to that percentage.

3. Assign costs

You could assign costs to different amenities eg. windows, aircon, ensuite etc. and split the rent according to the amenity costs.

4. Blind auction

If more than one person wants a specific room, you can run a blind auction. 

In other words, each person writes how much they are willing to pay on a piece of paper and then you open them all up. The person who is willing to pay the most wins the room. 

This means that the winner gets the room, but the others also get a discount on the rent of other rooms.

Whatever way you go about it, be sure to communicate with everyone who lives in the property and make sure the whole household is comfy with the agreement.

And splitting the bond

Don’t forget to discuss with your housemates how you'll be splitting the bond too. The easiest way would be to split it the same way you split your rent.

Set the ground rules from day 1

This can be hella scary. You might be moving in with people you barely know. It can be a bit intense to start off your relationship on ground rules.

But, without that communication from the get-go about your lifestyles, it’s way too easy to run into hot water.

You want to chat about:

  • Which bills are regularly paid
  • Who’s name the bills are under and how they’ll be split 
  • How will you make sure that payments to providers and/or each others aren't missed
  • How are you splitting groceries and shared items? 
  • Lifestyle choices that might impact utility bills eg. sleeping with the aircon on every night, taking long showers.

It’s also a good idea to chat about how changes to your living situation might play out. For example, what happens to the bills if someone goes on holiday? Or if a housemate has a partner that stays over frequently. 

Put it in writing

It sounds a bit extra, but human memory really isn’t that great. It’s not hard for people to forget what they’ve agreed to. Putting household expectations in writing can help ensure you’re on the same page and navigate any future conflict.

The actual splitting

Will you stick bills and grocery receipts on the fridge to keep track of what needs to be split? Or post in the household group chat when money is owed? Or rely on cash splitting apps like Splitwise or Beem It?

Whatever way is your vibe, have an agreed system with your housemates on splitting the bills. 

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