New to renting? How to share the costs with your partner or room-mate

Whether you are moving in with a new partner or simply looking to move out of home and move in with some flatmates;

learning about the best ways to share the costs associated with living together can be difficult.

Heating, phone lines, council tax and TV licence are just some of the bills that you need to keep in mind alongside your rent, which will need to be paid on a regular basis.

What happens if we don’t pay?

Failure to pay these bills can have a negative effect on your credit scoring. This will make it harder for you to take out a loan or mortgage in the future. In some circumstances, failure to pay a particular bill can even result in you being taken to court and even facing prison. A terrifying thought.

This is why we have put together some top tips on how to make sure that you can divide the bills fairly and make sure that they are paid.

Sit down and work it out

Sounds simple right? Despite this it seems to be something that many couples or housemates forget to do.

If you write a list of all the things that need to be paid out relating to your home then you will know exactly what should be shared out.

Your list is likely to include:

  • Utilities such as gas, electric and water
  • Council Tax
  • TV Licence
  • Broadband and phone line rental

Once you have an idea of what will need to be paid then you can begin to estimate how much you can expect these to be; dividing the total cost by how many people live with you.

The way that you do this is entirely up you. Create a spreadsheet, write it on a chalkboard or scribble it down in a notepad. Just make sure that each and every member of the household (whether that’s 2 or 10) can understand what is expected of them.

Setting up a kitty

If you have all agreed exactly what it is that needs to be paid then the time will come to decide how you are going to make those payments.

Some households may decide to have a physical kitty into which you place your allocated amount. This cash can then be taken out and used to pay all of the bills.

You can also use this kitty (or in fact create a separate one) to cover the essential items that need to be bought in the house. Popping a pound in every other day will ensure that you all have toilet roll and other luxuries!
Kitties are a great idea for a shared house but whilst this is a simple idea it can be open to issues with trust and of course one person will also need to be responsible for the money.

Direct Debits

Instead you could all agree to set up a standing order to be paid into one person’s bank account. This bank account can then be used to pay the bills via direct debit; minimising the risk of missed payments and arguments within the home.

When it comes to living together the important thing to remember is that it should always be fair and no one person should ever feel that they are not getting a fair deal.

Although of course this doesn’t alleviate the problem of who gets the smallest room!

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