Splitting rent with a roommate (or roommates) is an easy way to save money when renting a house or apartment.
But of course, anything that involves transferring money between multiple people can raise questions and concerns.
It's helpful to set some guidelines on splitting rent and coordinating rent payments simply and conveniently for everyone.
We wrote about best practices for splitting rent payments and why using Braid Money Pools is the best way to split rent between roommates.
- 3 Best Practices when splitting and paying rent as a group
- Why use Braid Pools to split rent?
- 4 popular methods to decide the best way to split rent between your roommates
- Roommate money and relationship management: things to avoid
- Tips on how to split rent and live with a couple
3 Best Practices when splitting and paying rent as a group
If you want to set up a smooth financial system with your roommates, follow these simple best practices:
1. Draft up a roommate agreement and put your plans in writing
Your lease is in writing, so putting your rent payment plan in writing makes sense, too!
Apart from all the paperwork involved in the lease, take some time to write a roommate agreement.
The document can outline how much each roommate will pay, who gets which room, and what you plan to do if someone cannot pay their portion of the rent or their financial situation changes.
This method is a great way to prevent unnecessary conflicts and help navigate any unexpected changes.
2. Determine how your household will pay rent
Talk to your roommates and set up a payment method that works for everyone to keep finances streamlined.
Keeping your finances streamlined will ensure that your rent gets paid on time, and you won’t have to deal with late fees or create issues with the landlord!
It’s also recommended that one tenant should take the lead among the other roommates and transfer the collected money each month to the landlord.
Consider these questions when determining how to split your rent payment:
- When will you all send your rent payment?
- How will you make sure every rent payment gets paid on time?
- Where will you send your rent money?
- Who will be in charge of ensuring rent gets paid each month?
3. Decide where & when everyone will send their payments
After you’ve decided who will submit the rent payment each month, decide how you will transfer money to each other, like having everyone contribute their portion into a Braid Money Pool.
With Braid Money Pools you can easily collect money from all the roommates each month to pay your rent.
Here’s how it works:
- Start a Braid Pool
- Invite your roommates and housemates
- Have everyone contribute their portion
- Use the pool’s card or account and routing number to pay for rent directly from the pool
When you’ve decided on the date that everyone will send their funds, set a reminder in Braid so that everyone will get a notification when it’s time to pay.
Why use Braid Pools to split rent?
Braid Pools make living and exchanging money with others easier and less stressful because they’re transparent, convenient, and a great place to keep your rent fund. Here’s why:
- Roommates can see who paid their portion of the rent and when the rent was paid.
- The bill can come directly out of your pool using the pool’s account and routing number.
- The Braid Pool functions as a separate fund to keep your roommates money and rent separated from your personal funds.
Want to set up a Braid Pool? Click here to get started.
4 popular methods to decide the best way to split rent between your roommates
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to splitting rent—viable options may hinge on personal situations, finances, income, and room size and amenities.
Here are some popular options:
Split the rent evenly
Splitting the rent evenly among your roommates is the easiest option.
Everyone splits the rent at an equal discal level. This way makes sense if all roommates have reasonably similar room sizes and amenities.
This method doesn't factor in individual incomes, cost of living adjustments, or variations in room size.
Split the rent by room size and amenities
A popular option is to split the rent by amenities or room size.
This is a wise choice if there are apparent differences between the spaces where each roommate lives and what resources they have access to.
For example, if one roommate lives in the master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom, they may pay more than a different roommate taking a smaller bedroom and sharing a bathroom down the hall.
Try Splitwise's rent split calculator to make the calculations for you.
Here’s how the calculator determines the split:
- Enter your total monthly rent and number of bedrooms
- Enter room size and amenities
- Enter the size of the common spaces (like living room, kitchen, bathrooms, etc.)
Then, the calculator works its magic to figure out fair splits.
Split the rent by income
Another way to split rent is to adjust each roommate's portion of the rent payment depending on their income.
Although this can be a sensitive topic around roommates, it is best to figure out how much rent each person can shoulder depending on their financial situation. If one roommate is taking home higher paychecks than the other roommates, they may be willing to contribute more in rent.
This rent-splitting strategy isn't as common but tends to work best between couples moving in together who are already sharing other expenses.
Split the rent by responsibilities
For example, if your rent and utility are approximately the same each month, you can decide to split rent by offering to pay for the utility bills instead.
In this circumstance, the bills for the house are evenly distributed, and everybody knows which part of the finances they're responsible for paying.
Discover how Braid Money Pools can help your roommates pay rent and other shared bills on time, easily and efficiently here.
Roommate money and relationship management: things to avoid
Peace and harmony in a household are essential. Watch out for these common roommate money management pitfalls.
Don't pay shared bills until everybody contributes
In addition to paying rent as a group, there may be some shared expenses and resources everyone in the house shares. Consider not paying these bills (like water, utility, or gas) until all other roommates have paid their portion.
If you let these payments slide, it doesn't force the issue at hand. Roommates can keep skating by and leave you in the position of debt collector.
If you pay for shared bills and collect from roommates, make it clear that you need their contributions in advance, or you're going to have to replace them as a roommate. Keep records of all payment receipts and confirmations to prove that they paid bills.
Remember, if one roommate causes late bills, that roommate becomes responsible for the entirety of the late fee. Write that clause into the roommate contract.
Create a Braid Pool for each of your shared bills, like electricity, gas, or internet services. With your Braid Pools, you can see who and when everyone has contributed, how much, and pay for your utility bills directly from the pool.
Don't be passive-aggressive
Toxic roommate situations are no fun, especially when passive-aggressiveness is chosen over direct communication. Some hard-in-person conversations include:
- Confronting a roommate who doesn't pay bills on time
- Having a conversation about all those dirty dishes in the sink every night
- Talking it out over loud music or disruptive guests
Part of being a responsible adult is learning to openly and directly solve problems, even when the conversations prove awkward.
If an issue arises, you need help, or you just want to see a change in the apartment, talk it out in person with all roommates present. Odds are, your housemates are happy to oblige as long as you're polite, understanding, and direct.
Don't split furniture costs
While it might sound like a good idea to split the cost of a plush, comfortable sectional sofa, it's not.
Roommates come and go, and living situations can change quickly. A roommate may leave one day, but you can’t cut the sofa in half.
To keep contributions to the house fair, discuss who plans to buy what pieces of furniture before move-in, and make sure everyone chips in beyond their bedroom.
For example, one roommate could bring the TV and TV stand, another roommate might bring a rug and dining room set, and another might bring living room furniture, etc.
This way, everyone can contribute while still holding clear possessions to take when they inevitably move.
Planning to live with a couple?
Living and splitting rent with a couple in a relationship can get a little complicated when keeping everything fair. It can be easy for couples to fall into a routine and forget that they're sharing a home with other roomies.
To avoid uncomfortable situations, here are some tips for fairly splitting rent and living with a couple:
- Set boundaries before moving in: It's easy for couples to take up the whole couch for movie date nights, but remind them to share the space fairly with other housemates.
- Calculate rent based on home usage and space occupied: Decide whether couples will pay more for their room depending on home usage and how big their room is.
- Create a weekly chore checklist: Double the roommates means double the mess. Creating a chore checklist ensures each person in the household knows their duties for the week.
- Coordinate storage for belongings and food: Couples may buy more food and beverages and need to store more stuff. Ensure they have the space they need without infringing on other roommates' ability to use these areas.
- Have a monthly check-in with all roommates: A check-in helps ensure boundaries are respected, and everyone can air out any issues before they fester.
Key takeaways for a happy roommate arrangement
Splitting rent and paying your landlord doesn't have to be an uphill battle.
Try the simple steps above if you're looking to sign a new lease with a group and need a way to manage your rent payments with housemates.
The key is to find a formula that everyone can stick to.