I prefer to offer all bills included when we have a property to rent by room. Obviously its has its down sizes - as tenants care less about whether the heating is left on all the time. But, overall it does cause less tension in the house, making finance simpler to manage between sharers.
Sharing properties is increasingly becoming a lifestyle choice, as renters choose to live in a house where they can also make new friends. It makes sense, renters can rent a lovely house in a super area (hello Muswell!) and cut costs of living in London.
If you are sharing and bills are not included, make sure you work out bill details with your house mates as soon as possible, and as clearly as possible.
If you don't, the repercussions are not just a lack of light and heat. Failing to pay your Council Tax bill or TV Licence could land you in court. Not only that but it can also result in a bad credit score which may affect your chances of securing a mortgage in the future.
So we suggest a house meeting at the start, you need to make a list of all the shared bills you will need to contribute to, budget for:
– Gas and electric
– Council Tax
– TV Licence
– Broadband and Phone
Estimate how much you will be spending on them every month. Add the total amount together and divide it so that everyone puts their fair share into the pot and there will be no troubles in your household.
If you’re forgetful then a direct debit is the easiest and cheapest way to pay your household bills. This way you do not need to think about when it needs to be paid and how much you need to pay. Nominate one of you to pay all the bills from their personal account and set up a standing order to pay your share into that person’s account each month. It is always best to set the standing order up to transfer the funds a few days before the invoice needs to be paid.
You could set up a joint current account into which you can all pay your share and you can set up your direct debits from there. However, joint accounts should only be opened with trusted friends as you are linked financially to the credit score of anyone who you hold the account with. Remember that the account should be closed when you move out.
Set up a kitty
Set up a kitty so that everyone contributes to essentials such as milk, tea, bread and cleaning supplies. It may also be a good idea to make a rule that any boyfriends or girlfriends staying over regularly have to chip in too.
Use an App
Splittable and Splitwise are two free apps that may be perfect for you. And this isn’t just used for bills; it can even split the rent fairly based on your room size and amenities. After all, it’s not entirely fair paying more than your flatmate who has a walk-in wardrobe and master bedroom with an en-suite. Pay for what you get.