Roommate Dilemma: How to Split Rent Fairly When Rooms Are Not Equal

When you’re sharing an apartment with a roommate/roommates and you all get rooms that are equal in size and desirability and you all share the common space equally, splitting the rent and the bills isn’t that complicated. Most of the time, the rent is just divided by the number of roommates and everyone pays the same amount. However, when you end up renting a space where the rooms aren’t all the same size or one is more desirable in some way (has better windows/view, has an awesome closet, has a private bathroom, and so on…) it’s not so easy. Throw in the extra monkey wrench of sharing rooms and such, and it’s even harder to figure out who should pay what amount. Before you give yourself a headache trying to come up with a plan (you’d be amazed to hear the super complicated methods we’ve heard over the years) to divvy up the rent in a way that’s fair to everyone or jump into a heated roommate battle, let’s talk about easy ways to divide your apartment rent when the rooms are different in some way.

THE ROOMS ARE ALL DIFFERENT SIZE

split rentOften, when you rent an apartment that has more than one bedroom, there will be at least one larger “master” bedroom. Sometimes, the biggest bedroom even has the benefit of having a private on-suite bathroom and a walk-in closet. If you’re in a renting a place where this is the case, here’s some suggestions for dividing the rent in a way that’s fair:

Everyone Pays by Square Footage | This is the most simplistic way to divide the rent when the bedrooms aren’t equal in size. Simply measure each bedroom (including closet areas and bathroom, if private to that bedroom), add up the square footage and calculate what percentage of total bedroom space each roommate will have. Apply that percentage to the total rent and you’ll have each roommate’s rent share. You do not need to consider the common areas at all, since each roommate will have equal right to use those areas.

Example: total bedroom area 500 sq.ft. and monthly rent $1,000.
Room 1: 250 sq. ft. (includes closet and private bath) = 50%  of area, rent $500
Room 2: 150 sq. ft. (includes closet)= 30% of the area, rent $300
Room 3: 100 sq. ft. (includes closet)= 20% 0f the area, rent $200

Leave It To A Rent Calculating Tool. If you and the roomies aren’t fans of math, there’s also an easier way — an online rent calculator. There are plenty of good ones available on the web (and yes, they work even when the space isn’t divided evenly). Here’s some of our personal favorites: RoomieCalc.com, SplitWise.com, and Spliddit.com.

If you guys are having a hard time agreeing who should get which room, then we recommend using The Rent Is Too Damn Fair, an awesome website that let’s each roommate bid the max they’re willing to pay for each room in the apartment. After everyone bids, it computes the best, most economical arrangement and assigns rooms. It’s great because it’s fair and leaves the decision up to someone else!

ROOM ARE NOT EQUALLY DESIRABLE

If you end up in a situation where all the rooms are roughly the same size, but they aren’t all as desirable, i.e., one has a better shape, a cool brick wall, better natural light, then we recommend  a two-step process:

1. Use a rent calculator to set the prices of the rooms. The three online tools we mentioned above will all take cool additional factors into consideration and will set the price accordingly.

2. Decide who gets each room. You can do that simply by drawing room assignments out of a hat, using the Rent Is Too Damn Fair bidding tool, or simply deciding together once the calculator has set prices. You never know when one roommate is willing to take a suckier room if it means paying less in rent. Whatever you do, don’t be bullied into taking a room you don’t want. And, don’t be the bully yourself.

SOME ROOMS WILL BE SHARED

Figuring out rent payments when some of the individuals share a room in the apartment is crazy hard to calculate on your own, unless you simply split by bedroom square footage and ignore the fact that one room is shared. So, once again, we 100% suggest using one of the handy dandy rent calculators we recommended. You can add details about the rooms, if one or more people are sharing the space, etc. and it computes a fair payment using the info you share. If you really wanted, you could likely figure out a deal together, but to keep things neutral and strictly non-personal, we’re all for deferring to the calculator above all else!

Readers with roomies — how have you tackled these issues in the past? Share in the comment section below!

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Author My First Apartment
Audra

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Audra is a recent college graduate and an aspiring writer based in her home state of Georgia. She’s a lover of the sweetest Southern tea, warm weather, and decorating with lots of color, DIY projects, and shabby chic pieces. Her apartment living journey is still young, so she’s busy navigating the ups and downs and learning along the way. For more from Audra, follow her on Pinterest or check out her website shepenspretty.com.

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Comments (140)

  1. Kayla

    Hello. Need advice!
    We have a 2 bed 1 bath for $2000/month. The rooms are about the same size but room A has beautiful floor to ceiling windows on one side (that open) overlooking downtown and a bigger closet- room B is darker, has a smaller closet and the window is facing to the outdoor condo hallway and the window does not open. There is currently one parking spot so we will have to split parking when her car arrives from the east coast and find a garage.
    What’s the best way to split room A and B?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Kayla,
      The beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so valuing the views is something that has to be negotiated and agreed to. Start with the actual square footage of the rooms and then negotiate adjustments for darker room, etc. Also, plan in advance how to deal with the parking spot and build that into the split.
      Let us know how you did it and good luck with you new digs.

      Reply
  2. Sarah

    Hi – advice would be appreciated

    Friend and i have just moved in together (stupidly before agreeing on rent)

    She has the bigger bedroom with a walk in wardrobe but feels we should pay 50/50 as i use the car spot. We car pool to and from work together everyday and use the car to get groceries house stuff together regularly

    Reply
  3. Elissa

    I need advice please! I recently moved in with a male friend and his two children (week on/week off ages 8 and 6) into a 3 bedroom place for $4200 (it’s San Diego). There are two master rooms with one being larger as mine, and the kids share a room. We are splitting everything equally… it’s starting to bug me that I’m basically 25% usage in this house. I spend 90% of my time in my room and 10% in the kitchen/patio. In addition he is a serial dater and there has been a plethora of women staying over. Most recently the same one 4 to 5 nights a week. We don’t cross paths, but it is annoying for sure. Trust me there is no jealousy; we’ve only ever been friends.
    Does anyone have suggestions how to approach this topic neutrally?
    I ADORE the kids but they leave lights on, shower nightly, eat and leave crumbs everywhere… Since I am female – I do the majority of cleaning (no, I just can’t leave the mess – that’s gross).
    Thank you in advance!

    Reply
  4. Ashley

    Hello! We are struggling to determine how much we each should pay for our new apartment. Our apartment is 1245 sqft for $1800/a month. Her room is 12′ which doesn’t include the measurements for a walk in closet, a second closet, vanity and bathroom. My room is 11’3 x 13.8. How much should we pay for each room?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Ashley,
      Compare the sizes of total private living areas to start with. Then consider different amenities. Who has a walking closet? Who has an en suite bathroom. Adjusting for different amenities is a negotiation that each should feel is fair. However you split the rent, just remember that once it’s agreed to move on. Good luck!

      Reply
  5. Laurel

    Hi I was wondering what you thought. My boyfriend and I wanted to move in together but we needed a third roommate to afford it. I found someone I already knew but her budget was way under ours $1000 (San Jose). Because I really needed a roommate and I thought she’d be a good choice I said I would be willing to pay $200-$300 more in order for us to afford something and for me to have the master. Now that we found a good deal on a place she wants me to pay $300 (so $950 and $1250) more than her because there will be 3 people. The master is maybe 3-4 ft bigger has two closets (one for me and one for my bf) and a private bathroom without a bath. She has a room a little bit smaller with a closet and a private bath in the hallway with a bath. I asked her if she could do $1000 and I could do $1200 so there was be a $200 difference. And she said no it’s fair because we have 3 people. We are splitting utilities 3 ways so having 3 people shouldn’t really affect the rent much I don’t think. I feel a little ripped off since I was trying to help her out and get her a place and I have less space because it’s shared with my bf. Do you think this is fair? I was thinking of taking the carport since the rent is so disproportionate. How could I go about mentioning that?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Laurel,
      We are with your roommate on this. There is a big difference in sharing apartment with one person vs. two. Even if that third person shares your room, they’ll be still using the common areas. The most important thing is that you all get along and start the relationship thinking that it is fair. Discuss the carport use before you sign anything. Let us know how things work out. Good luck!

      Reply
  6. Betty

    Hi! Wanted to get your opinion on how rent amount should be split between 3 people for a 2 bedroom townhouse with 2 car garage. Technically, the 2nd bedroom is more of a den since it does not have a closet and is very small. He rent is $3375. The person in the small room with no closet and no garage space agreed to pay $1250. The other 2 who will get the 2 garage spaces for their cars would split the remaining amount of the rent which is around 1064.50. One of the roommates now want to change the terms and feels the person not sharing room should pay more, like $1300. This does not seem fair.
    Would really like your opinion. Thanks!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Betty,
      What is the market rate for a garage space where you live? Based on information you shared, the current split does not seem unreasonable because the split room shares include the garage. You could look at the splits also in two parts, first separately for the bedroom areas and then add a reasonable adjustment for the garage. Whatever you do, after you agree on the amounts, move on. Good luck!

      Reply
  7. Lily

    Hello, I’m living with 2 others in a 3 bed/2 bath that is more expensive than what I would have liked so that my roommates could be within biking distance of their college. Before signing the lease we agreed that I would pay almost $100 more per month than either of them so I could take the master bed/bath. None of us wanted the master as we all wanted to save money and take the smaller rooms, but I offered to pay more and they agreed to the price I said I would pay. Now that we’ve signed the lease and moved in, one of my roommates wants to renegotiate how we split rent saying that I should pay more for the larger bedroom. If I’d been told that before signing the lease I would not have agreed to take the master bedroom since the new asking price is out of my price range. I’m not particularly attached to the room so I’m willing to let her switch rooms with me and pay the price I currently pay (or more if she believes it’s worth more), but I don’t think she wants to do that. It seems as though she wants us to keep the rooms we have but is asking me to pay more than what we agreed upon prior to signing. What are your thoughts?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Lily,
      Deal is a deal. You called her bluff by agreeing to switch rooms. You already agreed to pay more than you wanted by taking the master. In general, if the rent split is agreed to by all with full knowledge of the room sizes and layouts and amenities, it’s time to move on. Save renegotiation to the rent renewal time. Let us know how your resolve this situation. Good luck!

      Reply
  8. Janice

    Hi there, three of us are moving into a 3-bed apartment in London for which the rent is £675 a week. There is a master bedroom with an en-suite half-bath, and 2 bedrooms (1 & 2) for which the tenants will share a full bath. As the only girl, we have agreed that I would take the master bedroom as it has a private bathroom but we’re figuring out how to divide the rent. We first divided it according to the room size, but one of the guys is asking to include the private bathroom into the rent for the master bedroom because “the bathroom is in the room and it is more convenient.” Right now the split is Bedroom 1 £229 and Bedroom 2 £199 (although they are actually pretty similar in size) and £247 for the master bedroom.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Janice,
      We are with your roommate on this one. The bath is part of your private space, so it should be included as part of your room measurement.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  9. Karen

    Hi there!

    So my friend and I moved into a 3 bedroom home with a tenant who has been living in the home for a few years now. We all signed a new lease together. She has the master and the two of us share a bathroom and have slightly smaller rooms. When we moved in she told us her rent was cheaper (over $400 less than what we are paying) because she has lived there the longest.

    We agreed, signed the lease and moved on because we didn’t want to fight. However our apartment also comes with a tandem parking spot (garage space and driveway space). She will not allow us to park in the driveway because it’s a hassle for her to remind us to move when there is a time we might be blocking her.

    We know we got screwed over in the rent and are living with that but how do we make the parking space fair and go about this the right way? (Also the tandem parking space comes with the apartment, no one is paying for it).

    Thanks for the info!!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Karen,
      Would you trust your roomie to move your car if it is blocking hers?. Could you keep the spare car key in a certain spot in the apartment, so she would know that she could always get out, even if she forgets to remind you? That should give her peace of mind, so maybe she will agree to share the parking area. As far as the uneven rent, it’s water under the bridge now, move on. You’ll know better next time. Let us know how you resolve the parking situation. Good luck!

      Reply
      • Karen

        Thanks for the quick response! Yes and also offered moving her car as well as parking on the street as often as possible unless there was no where else to park. The other roommate however, will not budge. She just expressed it was an inconvenience to remind us to move or to have to more cars back and forth.

        Reply
        • MFA Editors MFA Editors

          She is being unreasonable. You can either live with the situation or get tough. Are you all on the lease or is the lease in her name and you are her roommates? Is her right to the parking in writing in any agreement. We are not lawyers, but it seems that if you are all on the lease equally, and there is no other formal agreement, then you have also equal right to the garage, like you have to use the kitchen and bathroom. In this situation, whoever gets in first parks in the garage and the next one takes the driveway. The keys are in an accessible location so nobody gets blocked in.
          Of course, the risk is that the roomie could retaliate and your living situation could get very unpleasant. Hope you get this all worked out. Good luck!

  10. Kayla

    Hi, my roommate and I found a place near our school so that she can walk since she doesn’t have a car. The rent costs 2,200 monthly (more expensive than other places that I wanted to live but required a car) and comes with one free parking space. One week before we move in she tells me that she’s getting a car and wants me to share the cost of the $100 extra parking space. I don’t think I should have to pay this seeing as I’m already paying for a more expensive apartment because of her situation. Thoughts??

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Kayla,
      You went along with the more expensive place for her benefit because she needed to be in a walkable location. Now she has changed her mind and is getting a car. To be fair, the cost of that extra parking place is her expense, not yours. But life is not fair, so consider if this parking spot situation will sour your relationship for the next year and act accordingly. Good luck!

      Reply
  11. H

    Hi my roommates and I are renewing our lease. We are currently splitting our $2552 rent as 35%, 33% and 32% however I think that it is an unfair split so moving on with the new lease I wanted to rearrange the rent percentages.

    Roommate A lives in the master bedroom with a private bathroom and a walk in closet (room size is is 13×17) Roommate B lives in a 12×16 room and has a nice shelving unit built into her walls and shares a bathroom with Roommate C. Roommate C is in a 14×12 room and shares a bathroom with Roommate B.

    How should I bring up the fact that the rent split is unfair?

    We didn’t use a website to generate the rent percentages or calculate by square feet. I calculated it by square feet and it came out to be 38%, 33%, and 29%.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi H,
      Clearly, the old split favors A because he has a much bigger room with a private bath. The new split looks much more fair and it does not even give any extra value for the private bath. If A is reluctant to change, point out that this is only based on sq.ft. and does not include the other features. Good luck!

      Reply
  12. Phil V

    Hi,
    I need some advice on how to split my rent with my roommate and the point of contention is the parking. Our apartment comes with an included parking space (aka we do not pay anything additional) along with other included amenities like basic cable, internet a gym etc.

    My roommate works in NYC and takes the train to work and does not have a car nor does he plan on getting one. I work in the suburbs which has no public transportation access and requires a car. Because I need a car I obviously will get the spot. My roommate is trying to tell me though that he is subsidizing my parking spot because he is paying for it but is not using it despite the fact he does not need it. I get the spot has value to it but we are not paying for it, aka it is included in the rent. With that argument I could technically argue that if I did not watch tv or use the internet that he should be paying more because basic internet and cable have value…but that is ridiculous and I wouldn’t even think of doing it.

    To put numbers and some more perspective, the apartment is $3250 a month. He is getting the master bedroom and bath with a walk in closet and my room is technically a den (not even a bedroom) which is significantly smaller, has a small closet, has french doors and no natural light. I do have a bathroom but its also connected to the living room. His space is doubled mine. Parking spots are around $200 where I live for other perspective.

    The other thought is asking how much would the rent be without the parking spot (shocker its still $3250). That would be like asking how much rent would be if we didnt want to use the gym or have basic internet or cable…all the same price. I do understand that all of these amenities has a value to it and a price but our rent would not change if we didn’t use them which I get has value regardless.

    Some unbiased opions would be appreciated!!
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Elizabeth H

      Hi Phil,
      Just wondering how you are currently splitting it? Is he paying substantially more for the substantially larger space? Sounds like he’s not comfortable with the amount he’s paying and could just be using the parking as a reason for argument; would it help for you to offer to take the larger room and pay more? Since he doesn’t have a car and doesn’t plan to get one, it seems like an unfair bargaining chip.

      Reply
      • Phil

        Hi Elizabeth,

        We have not decided on who is paying what yet. But how much he is paying is not the issue…we almost had another cheaper apartment with the same included parking where he would get the master and again brought up the issue. In that case we decided that he would pay $300 more overall a month than me. We havent decided on this but he brought up paying $200 more this time but I’m going to stick to the $300 as the precedent considering my new room is technically a den.

        Reply
        • MFA Editors MFA Editors

          Hi Phil and Elizabeth,
          All amenities have some value built into the rent. Did you choose this particular place because it came with the parking spot? Was that one of your “musts” when you were looking? In that case your roommate is paying a somewhat higher rent because of your need for parking. You might adjust the rent split a bit, not that full $200, but maybe $50-$100, for your getting exclusive use of the parking spot. That way, you are in the clear if your roomie gets a new job that requires a car. The most important thing is that your two agree on the splits going in and then don’t look back. Good luck!

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Phil V,
      You are not saying how you split the rent, but if it is equally, then your roommate is already getting extras that make up for the parking. He has the better/bigger room and your extra is parking. Sounds fair to us. Good luck!

      Reply
      • Phil

        Hi,
        We decided on him paying $150 more. I dont see how us paying equal is fair at all though? He has no desire at all to get a car (hes talked about it before) so that wouldn’t be an issue moving forward.

        But like I compared before. Since other amenities like cable, internet and a gym are provided let’s just say hypothetically I dont workout or use the internet but my roomie does. Am I gonna make him pay more (the price of a gym membership or basic internet for example) for something that would cost the same regardless if we used it? No that’s crazy.

        We also wouldn’t be able to rent the spot either if neither of us had a car since the spot is in a garage that only those that live in the apartment building can access.

        Reply
  13. Elizabeth H

    @ MFA Editors, just wondering if you have had a chance to read my last post and whether you have any suggestions for me?

    Reply
  14. Elizabeth H

    I am considering moving into a 5 bedroom house. The rooms vary drastically in size. One girl from the previous lease is staying. She calls herself the “house captain” because she is doing all the work to find 4 new roommates and organize everything with the landlord. I do see that it is quite a bit of work, however other peole are having to take over at this point because she is traveling for work now. She is the one who decided that the rent would be split evenly. Since I was the last person she found, I would be getting the smallest room. It’s about 13’x16’, so not really a small room, but this “captain” girl’s room is around 24’x15’. It seems that they have always split the rent evenly, and she wants to keep it that way—lucky for her since now she will have one of the largest rooms. It’s a really great house, and they allow dogs which is important for me. I spoke to her and to the girl who would have the largest room (that’s right, there is a room larger than 24×15!); In justifying splitting the rent evenly, the responses were “I don’t get paid from the landlord for being the house captain,” and the other girl “had overlapping rents for 2 weeks.”. I was also told that since other people already agreed to the rent, they wouldn’t be willing change it just because the fifth person is “the only one who has a problem.” :( :( (of COURSE the one who is getting the bad deal is the one who has a problem with it. everyone else is gleefully congratulating themselves on a job well done getting the better deal).

    I had decided 2 weeks ago this would bother me too much, so I wasn’t going to take the room. But after looking around, I’ve realized there isn’t that much out there that allows dogs, and that price for that room, despite being split unfairly, isn’t a bad price. The landlord pays all utilities except for cable/internet, so if they weren’t willing to budge on rent, asking we split the utilities in a different way instead isn’t really effective. Also I spoke to the guy more recently who has the second smallest room, and he was unaware of how disparate the room sizes were. He also didn’t know that he and I (the two people with the smallest rooms) would have to be sharing a tandem parking spot. He wasn’t really happy with the situation, but he had no other options for places to live, as he’d agreed to this place several weeks ago.

    What should I do? Push harder for a change in rents, or move onto something (probably smaller and not as nice) that feels more equitable?

    Reply
    • Sarah Sarah

      Hi Elizabeth! I’m sorry to hear about the situation you’re in. A friend of mine recently went through something similar. With such large rooms, your roommates likely wouldn’t be comfortable paying by square footage, but perhaps you could suggest that you pay a small percentage less than the other girls since you have the smallest room and the tandem parking spot. Even something like $50 that the other girls can split amongst each other may feel fair to you and to them.

      In the end, you should also consider how important this apartment is for you. If it’s reasonably priced and allows for dogs, it may be best to grin and bear it, remembering that you couldn’t get this good of a deal elsewhere. And, of course, your last option would be to find a new apartment without roommates or find a new person to live with. That may be the most difficult option, but if you think you’ll resent your position in this apartment, it may be best.

      Hope talking it through helps!

      Reply
      • Elizabeth H

        Hey Sarah! Thanks for your reply! I ended up writing a long email to everyone, saying I really loved the place and wanted to live there, but outlining that I hoped to negotiate and why. I mentioned I would be happy with even just a small change in rent, or in some other way of making things more equitable. I hadn’t mentioned that the guy with the other small room also was unhappy with the even split; I wanted to let him speak for himself. He hadn’t been aware when he agreed to the price that the rooms were so vastly different in size. I had considered that it might not be such a bad price for the area, which is why a month after my first viewing I’d still kept coming back to it. But I know myself and know that it would bother me if I didn’t bring up my concerns.

        It took me around 3-4 hours to write this email. Two days later one of the girls finally writes back and says “we showed it to someone last week and decided yesterday to go with that. Hope to see you around!” I had hoped for at least some conversation to let me know they weren’t willing to negotiate. They had previously told me they really liked me and if I wanted it it’s mine!

        Oh well. Clearly I don’t share the same values as these people, and I’m better off not living with them. I’ll find something better :)

        Reply
        • Sarah Sarah

          Elizabeth – Sorry that it worked out that way, but I love your perspective! From the start, it didn’t seem like this group was going to be the right fit for you, and you don’t want to be stuck! Best of luck on the rest of your hunt for a fair and FUN apartment!

  15. M

    Hello,

    I rent a 2bd 2ba apartment and the only one on lease. I am looking for renting my 2nd bedroom which is not a master bedroom but has its own private bath. My master bedroom’s size is 10”9’ x 11”2’ and the other bedroom’s size is 9”9’ x 9”11’. Also my bathroom is way smaller than the other one.
    Also the other toom will be shared by 2 girls. So how do i split the rent here?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi M.
      The easiest way would be split the rent 50/50, so the girls will pay 25% each and you pay 50%.
      Another way is to figure out the total square footage of apartment and $rent/sq.ft. Charge the girls for their bedroom = bathroom by sq.ft., same for you. Then split the rest of the square footage = all common spaces by 3 because you all have equal access to use those areas.
      Example:
      Total apt 1000 sq ft. $1,000 a month rent, or $1 per Sq Ft.
      A solo BR + Bath = 200 Sq ft = $200
      B and C share BR = Bath = 250 Sq ft = $250 or $125 each
      Rest of Apt = 550 Sq ft. = $550 divided by 3 = $183 each
      A pays $200+$183 = $383
      B and C pay $125+ $183 = $308
      Or you could figure out another equitable way. The key is that all have to agree to the split going in. Good luck!

      Reply
  16. T

    Hi, MFA. 3 friends and I are aiming for renting out a space that has minimum 2 bedrooms and a minimum of 800 sqft. Our proposed max rent (minus utilities is about $2,000-$2400). I have found a few places that offer 3 bedrooms within our budget and we don’t anticipate signing any leases until July. Also, we’ve all agreed that those who share the rooms will get the largest room. When it comes to the 2 bedroom place, we’ll just have to negotiate as to who is going where. That said, I’ve been reading through a lot of comments and understand that you guys suggest setting the amounts that each roommate would pay prior to signing. So here arises a few issues. One of the roommates wants her own room, wants her cat, and doesn’t want to pay more than $600/month. Honestly, this seems pretty unreasonable to me. She knows that pets come at an extra cost and is willing to pay for that. Also, having an animal limits our options in the spaces that are available to us. Given that it may come down to a 2 bedroom place, that means someone will be sharing a room with her and maybe her cat and apparently she is bringing a queen bed? How should we handle this in terms of rent? I honestly don’t want to drop her as a roommate before she is a roommate because we all decided to look for places back in March. Any advice?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi T,
      Because Cat Girl only wants to pay $600, let’s hope you find a 3br place with one disproportionately tiny room for her. Most likely she has to share the largest bedroom (needed to fit in her queen bed!) with someone else to stay within her budget. Is there another cat lover in the group? Without allergies? We think you are headed into very tough rent negotiations and roommate situation. Cat Girl is making unreasonable demands. Just hope she does not stick the litter box duty to her roommates.

      One way to split the rent is to charge by actual rent per sq.ft. for bedrooms and split common areas rent by number of roommates.
      Example:
      Total apt 1000 sq ft. $1,000 a month rent, or $1 per Sq Ft.
      A solo BR + Bath = 200 Sq ft = $200
      B and C share BR = Bath = 250 Sq ft = $250 or $125 each
      Rest of Apt = 550 Sq ft. = $550 divided by 3 = $183 each
      A pays $200+$183 = $383
      B and C pay $125+ $183 = $308
      Good luck!

      Reply
  17. decipheringdays

    My daughter and three friends will be moving into a house next month. The house has three equally sized bedrooms, each with a private bath and closet, also all the exact same size. Months ago, we all agreed to take the total cost of the house which is $1595 a month and divide it by three, the number of bedrooms. Since my daughter and another girl will be sharing a bedroom, they all agreed to divide that room’s rent in half. Now, three weeks before move -in, one of the girls wants to split based on total square footage of the house, and then divide the square footage of the shared bedroom, which increases our rent by $100 a month. And also creates a situation where the two private suites, are only $100 more a month than the squished shared suite. I think that if the people in the shared spaces want cheaper rent, they too can find someone to share their rooms with, especially since they were the ones who came up with the initial payment arrangement and we all agreed months ago. Thoughts?

    Reply
  18. K

    Hey, I am re-signing a lease on a house. One of the previous housemates are staying but the rest will be new tenants. Previously, the rent was unfairly split and we are hoping to fix that this year. It is a 4 bedroom, 3 full bath house for 2800. We split utilities per person (as that is very fair), but the issue we are now having is whether having two people in a room should increase the rent for that room, solely because there are two warm bodies. The room in question is the master with an attached bathroom, and would be spending 850. The next largest room with a private detached bathroom would be 800. The two smaller share a bathroom and would be 600 and 550. These prices seemed to be fair when made, but now because the master would like their partner to move in, others are saying they should pay more. I think it is unfair due to the fact that the extra person would pay their fair share of utilities and the room would not increase in size. The roommates who want the room to be increased are calling it a “wear and tear” cost, even though the house rent is a set price. Is asking for more this increase reasonable, or being that they are already spending more for size and amenities should rent not change.

    Reply
    • Tiff

      I realize this is a few months after your post, but here’s my take on increasing the rent when a second body is sharing the room even though the room size stays the same. There is another body sharing the common spaces in the apt (ie living room, kitchen, etc), thus they should partake in an increase of rent due to that. While they are taking up 50% of a room, and room size hasn’t changed, but now, common areas in the house are being shared between 5 people instead of 4, thus a slight increase in rent for the occupants of the double room should still increase a bit.

      Reply
  19. Ryleigh

    I am about to move in with my boyfriend who already lives in a house share with another couple. It is a 3 bedroom house and they have been splitting the rent equally (which isn’t fair in my eyes but anyways), However now I am coming in and its going to be two couples I think that they should pay more rent as they are in the huge master with walk in wardrobe and bathroom en suite, and have stored all their crap in the cupboards in the spare room. When I suggested they pay slightly more I sensed the girl of the other couple got a bit angry and she said she would move all her stuff from the spare room but we should pay the same amount of rent as we have same use of the common areas. I still believe if you have the master you should pay more, we have no use for the spare room we would rather prefer they pay more as they have more space than us and an ensutie. Am I being ridiculous??

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Ryleigh,
      Sound like your BF was too nice when the rents were split. He has been paying as much as a two people who have the best room. Now, the problem is how to adjust this when it’s has actually gotten a little more fair. There are now two people in each room. Forget the spare room if nobody is using it. Maybe the solution is that since they have bigger closets, etc. you and BF get to use the spare room closet for your extra stuff.
      In any case, it’s tough to renegotiate rent splits after the fact. Let us know what happens and good luck!

      Reply
  20. Jessica

    I am about to rent an apartment with my friend. I was going to move by myself, but she currently stays in the basement of my moms house. i suggested we move together. i have been the one searching and calling around for apartments. After i found one and set up a meeting to view the apartment i told her the night before we went to view the apartment that i want the master, and i am willing to pay the internet bill. She agreed.

    The next day we went to view the apartment she liked the size of the first bedroom and the closet until she saw the master. Once we got downstairs to apply for the apartment she voiced how she thinks paying the internet bill isn’t a fair deal for me to get the master bc my room and closet are bigger than hers.

    Its a two bedroom one bath and all the utilities are included. She wants me to pay $100 more in rent.
    I suggested i could pay the internet bill, or pay the full security deposit myself, or pay $50 more in rent. Or pay the security deposit plus $25 more in rent and i will be responsible for keeping tissue i the house.

    She thinks none of those are fair, and I feel like $100 is a steep number for a slightly bigger room, plus she’s never home. She’s always over her boyfriends house.

    Rent is 1315 all utilities included,

    Reply
  21. T whit

    Me and my buddie got a place. It’s 1 big master bedroom with bathroom and 2 ruglar rooms with a bathroom. Its him, his girlfriend, and baby. He gots the 2 bedrooms and I got the master which sq foot adds up to the same. However in the living room and kitchen he has all his pet and baby stuff all over. Should rent still be the same when I can’t even find a seat in the living room? And should electric be split 50 50 if there is his stay at home girl and baby with him vs me. I’m home about 10hours a day?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi T,
      As we have said before, splitting rent is part math and part negotiation. Perhaps you can suggest that the baby stuff and pet stuff will be kept out of the common area, so you’ll have equal use. In terms of the electric, one way to do it would be to split by person (but give the baby a break on this!), especially as they occupy two rooms. But, keep in mind it’s very difficult to re-negotiate rent after you have already agreed on a split without causing hard feelings.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  22. J

    This is completely wrong for method 1. You absolutely must calculate the square footage of the common area vs private area separately. Since either are not equal to each other, you cannot equally split. If you divide the common area by number of roomates equally, and divide the bedrooms square footage equally, your result won’t be the same if you do method 1. With method 1, the more square footage a bedroom contains results in paying for more of the common area, since you are not separating the two. Meaning if you are doing method 1, you are not equally dividing and the person paying the most “percentage” of the rent has claim to own usage of that percentage. Obviously this method does not work for it does not equate the common area.

    Reply
    • Kevin

      @MFA Editors, why are you ignoring this question? Looks like you got back to everyone else in a day to a week. It’s been a month and a half here.

      Reply
    • Kevin J Christ

      However, J, your method is also flawed. So imagine that 2 roommates are splitting an apartment that is absolutely enormous, and the common space is the size of a football field (obviously not realistic, but to demonstrate the point). Now the master bedroom is 20×20 feet and nice and roomy, but the other bedroom is closet-sized, like 6×6 feet, and doesn’t have much room to do other than stand up out of bed and walk out. Are you saying that their rents should only be a fraction different because compared to the overall common space, including the football-field sized common area, their percentages of the total are nearly equal? No, because the 20×20 bedroom is awesome, and the 6×6 bedroom sucks ass. I would think that a 2/3rds or 3/4 weight out to be given to the size of the bedrooms to account for the fact that person space is more coveted.

      Reply
      • MFA Editors MFA Editors

        Kevin and J,
        Not ignoring, just missed that one.
        Splitting rent when the rooms are different size and have different features is not only a math problem. It also requires negotiation between the roommates. Someone might want to pay more for the small room because it has a fabulous view, or a great closet. If the roommate with the tiny room, spends all his time hanging out in the common space, should they pay more for their common space access? Do you start keeping track of the hours on the couch vs. hours in their own room? The only totally fair way to split the rent in this case would be to have each roommate bid for each room, including their access to the common areas, until you arrive at “market prices” for the rooms. Sometimes in life, you can make things more complicated than they need to be. To us, the most important thing is that all roommates agree to whatever split is arrived at and then moves on. But, other points of view are always welcomed here at MFA.

        Reply
  23. Shuga Martin

    Hey there,

    I have a house with a self contained granny flat out the back. It is a very large room with a walk in robe, and bathroom. Split cycle aircon/heater. Detached from the house. Access to laundry and internal kitchen.

    Our rent is $390 per week.
    Bills on average $110pw

    Myself, my partner and we have 2 young children. We occupy the house and I have leased the granny flat to my brother. He was down and out so $50pw was the initial offer (which includes all bills and internet, Netflix and Stan) till he started working again.

    Now he’s working, should I split it 5 ways and count the children each as adults since they have their own rooms? Or 4 ways since 4 rooms are occupied?

    He’s had a decreased rent for nearly 6months

    I’d appreciate any advice

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Shuga,
      Rent is related to space not number of people, so splitting it by rooms used would make more sense.
      As it is, he is still getting a great deal because he really has his own apartment. If you were renting to a stranger you could probably charge more. Then again, he’s your brother and he is just getting back on his feet.
      Whatever you do, make sure it’s very clear so that nobody thinks they are getting an unfair deal.
      Good Luck!

      Reply
      • Kevin

        MFA Editors, why are you ignoring J’s comment about how you didn’t include the total common area in with the total area of the apartment? Seems like J has a valid point.

        Reply
  24. Sydney

    Hi i and my two other friends move in a two-bedroom apartment. One of them has the slightly smaller bedroom with a private bathroom. I and the other girl have the slightly bigger bedroom (you can say 55/45 comparing the two bedrooms’ sizes) and the other bathroom. Both of the two bathrooms are same size. The total rent is $1250. The one who lives in the single bedroom pays $525 and us two pay $362.50 each. Now the girl who has single room said all the common area should not be equally split by three (including the fridge and kitchen counters, etc.) but she should has 40% of everything because she pays 40% of the rent. Is that true? Other than that, what will be the fair rent for all three of us? Thank you

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Sydney,
      What does she mean? Will she claim 40% of the couch when you watch TV and 2 chairs around the kitchen table? How does she plan to monitor that you two do not invade her 40%?
      She pays 40% because she has bigger, single bedroom and private bath, not 40% of the entire apartment.
      Typically, common areas are shared equally. Try to find out why she is making this request. It does not make much sense. Good luck!

      Reply
      • J

        This is completely wrong for method 1. You absolutely must calculate the square footage of the common area vs private area separately. Since either are not equal to each other, you cannot equally split. If you divide the common area by number of roomates equally, and divide the bedrooms square footage equally, your result won’t be the same if you do method 1. With method 1, the more square footage a bedroom contains results in paying for more of the common area, since you are not separating the two. Meaning if you are doing method 1, you are not equally dividing and the person paying the most “percentage” of the rent has claim to own usage of that percentage. Obviously this method does not work for it does not equate the common area.

        Her sense comes from the fact since method 1 did not equalize the common area, meaning the tenants are not equally paying for the common area since it was not included in the calculation. You cannot simply leave out a very important factor in an equation in terms of math. Since her bedroom has the most square footage, and the common area is not equalized; method 1 would imply that she could claim to own her fair share of paid usage

        Reply
  25. Alex

    So I currently just moved in with my long time friend that I’ve been knowing since I was 8 years old, however we moved in a two bedroom apt her room is double the size of mine with a walk in closet and a massive bath tub my room is decent size with a walk in closet and a bathroom that I would be sharing with guest that comes over to visit etc i would like to add she does share the room with her son who’s 9 years old. we do split the rent in half we pay 560 each we split the bills evenly aswell my question is if she should pay a little more since she has the master or if it’s fair since she does have her son that she’s sharing the room with?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Alex,
      You obviously negotiated that even rent split and knew about her son when you moved in together, so fair or not, it’s now too late to go back on that. Since there are two of them (or more like one and a half) maybe you can discuss a different than 50/50 split on utilities. You have been friends for a long time, so whatever you do, don’t let this situation permanently sour your friendship. That relationship is worth more long term than a few dollars. Good luck!

      Reply
  26. dana

    me and my boyfriend are both on the lease of a 2 bdrm townhome. We are recently having issues and he has threatened that he can put me in the other room. He pays more in rent but i pay for many other expenses on his behalf. Is this true? Can he just decide i cant be in the master anymore?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Dana,
      It sounds like this is more of a relationship issue than a rent issue. Why would you insist on sharing a room with someone who is “threatening to put you in another room”? He is treating you like a child. It may be time to start looking for a a new place and find a subletter to take over your share.
      As a legal matter, depending on how your lease reads, you may each be responsible (jointly and severally) for the full rent and have equal rights to the entire apartment, or perhaps your lease makes you only responsible for your share of the rent and may state that you have the smaller room as you pay less. But as we said, this is more of a relationship issue than either a legal or money issue.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  27. Zack

    Hi, thanksfor the article. I have a question!

    I’m going to be renting out a 3br with 2 friends. Two bedrooms are decent sized with great lighting. They’re approximatey equal in desirability. The thirs is smaller with much worse lighting. It’s also right off of the kitchen. The total rent is $1350.

    One roomate is a terrible sleeper and has to have the room furthest from the kitchen – one of the nice rooms. This leaves the worst room between myself and James. What, in your opinion, is a fair rent split? Does the first roommates “disability” come into play here?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Zack,
      You should have priced the splits before anyone claimed a room, but that did not happen. It sounds like two of the rooms are about equal, so all you need to do is to figure out the discount for the worst room. Maybe the fair split is $500/$500/$350. The “sleep-disability” roommate has to pay the price for his room that you all agree to. Another way could be to do an even split on rent and the roomies in good rooms agree to cover all utilities. Whatever you decide, after you all agree, move on and don’t let any disagreements sour your relationship. Let us know what you did. Good luck!

      Reply
  28. Vanessa

    I am going to be living in 4 bedroom town home and 3 of us will be paying for singles at 615 per month and those in the master bedroom are sharing and are paying 423 a month. Us in the singles also brought essentials such as tables, chairs, and a couch. Does that seem fair? We also had agreed to this amount but now a roommate in the double is trying to change it.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Vanessa,
      The time to disagree with the splits was when you were initially negotiating them. You must have used some logic to come up with the amounts. Has something changed? Of course, you should hear the roommate out, but usually a deal is a deal.
      Let us know how you resolved this situation. Good luck!

      Reply
  29. Eve

    Hello, my friend and I are thinking of renting out our spare bedrooms in our apartment. We live in an area were rent easily goes for $2,500+ for a two bedroom. We got an amazing deal with only paying $800, as the landlord has known us for quite awhile. We were thinking of making are second living room into a shared bedroom for my roomie and I. So we wanted to rent out the addition two rooms for $375 each. Because that just about covers are rent, we would give them free laundry and parking. They would not have to worry about utilities as we would pay for all of them. Also we have decided that we would buy the laundry detergent and basic groceries (milk,eggs, etc). Is this a fair deal? Or would we be reprimanded for asking that price for the rooms? The rooms are equal size, shared bathroom.

    Reply
  30. Lexi

    Hi there,
    I have a question about rent splitting. I have just found a rather nice apartment after searching for a while, and I quite like the girl I’d be living with. The apartment is 2BD/2BTH, but one bedroom is almost triple the size of the other room, with two closets, a larger bathroom, and a large bay window. The total rent is $3,050. Right now she has the smaller room, and when her current roommate moves out she will take the larger room and it is the small room that I went there to view.

    She would like to split rent equally – $1525 each. To me, this seems a bit unfair, as the other room is so much larger. I haven’t signed anything yet, but I’m morn sure how to bring this up. She might feel slighted, as she might currently be paying equal for the small room. Or, she might be trying to get out of paying more for the larger room when she moves in. Or she can tell me to piss off and I can’t move in! If she can’t afford the larger split, I can, and would like to mention that, but don’t know the appropriate split to mention (I was thinking $1725 v $1325), but she might feel she has every right to the larger room after having lived there already and all of the common area furniture being hers.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Lexi,
      There are many ways to split the rent in your case. You could do 50/50 or split by square footage or split by valuing the extra amenities. You could even each one bid for the bigger room. Or you could flip a coin for the bigger room and split the ring evenly.
      The problem for you is that she has the apartment and you are the new subletter. You have to decide if you like the place enough to take the small room at a rent that you feel is unfair. But, before you go that route, if you truly can afford to pay more, make the offer. She might be very happy to accept a $200 reduction in rent. The most important thing is for you both to agree on the split and then not look back and be unhappy about it.
      Let us know what you decide and good luck!

      Reply
  31. Diego

    Hi, I have a question regarding how to share council tax, water and internet: Me and other two flatmates are living in a 3 bedroom flat in London. However, my bedroom is sensbly bigger than the other two. We split the rent (1950 pounds) in a way that I pay 816, and my flatmates 598 and 537 respectively. The problem comes with the “fixed” utilities (the ones that do not rely on a meter but they´re always the same amount): council tax, water and telephone/internet. Here, I am paying double than them. In short, they are split in 4, I pay 2 shares and they pay 1 each. They say that´s the way it´s done, not only here but in other places as well: since my room is a double room, I pay for the full “potential” occupancy of the room, regardless of being one or two people. However, I don´t think this is fair, the way I see it, those kind of bills should be payed per person: if we are three people living in the flat, it´s split by three. Why should I pay double internet or water than them?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Diego,
      Utilities are typically split two ways:
      1.) In same proportion as the rent, in your case 42%/31%/27% or
      2.) Equally among the roommates.
      It sounds like the second method makes more sense in your case, because none of the expenses vary by amount of space, except maybe council tax (whatever that is??) may be related to size of the apartment.
      The most important thing is that you all agree to the method you use, so that there are no lingering hard feelings. If you cannot agree, flip a coin to randomly choose one of the splits.
      Good luck! Let us know what you decide.

      Reply
  32. Dave

    Can someone please calculate rent for me and my college roommate given the following information?

    1. Rent is $830 per month.
    2. We agreed that I would pay $15 per month extra since my room is slightly larger.

    How much would each of us owe for rent per month? Thanks!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Dave.
      And you thought you’d never have to use your basic algebra!
      X+X+15 = 830
      2X=830-15
      X= 407.50 – Roommate
      X+15 = 422.50 -You
      Total = 830

      Reply
  33. Kati Jackson

    Hey!

    So my roommate and I just signed a lease on an apartment that we looked at a few weeks ago. I had found the apartment and was originally looking for my own place, but my best friend suggested we should look together. I am completely willing to admit we should have looked more thoroughly when we first viewed it, but as it was a little out of our price range we didn’t think we’d end up leasing it. Before we officially had it we had talked about which bedrooms we would take and I had discussed potentially taking one of them that had french doors versus the other one. The floor plan on the ad didn’t actually give dimensions but it had both bedrooms drawn the same size. After we signed the lease we went back and realized that the bedroom I had thought about taking is 132 square ft and the other one is 186 and has a closet. My roommate insists on having the bigger one but as we already agreed on splitting rent she doesn’t want to pay more than half, whereas I offered to pay more for the bigger room, but she declined. I’m wondering if you have any advice as to other ways to make the situation fair? I also reluctantly agreed to her bringing two dogs, and I thought maybe because she will have her dogs, I could have the bigger room. Not to mention that I am the one who found the apartment. However she insists on each of us having our respective rooms and splitting rent/utilities. Any advice would help, thanks!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Kati,
      You already caved in on the dogs, so what are you planning to use as leverage in negotiations? If we consider fairness, of course she should pay a little more, especially since she has brought in her 2 dogs. Actually, it may be good for you that she has the bigger room to keep her dogs out of common areas. Realistically though, you have to live with the deal you made when you signed the lease and you both agreed to split the rent. You have just moved in, so you’ll have an unpleasant year ahead, if you don’t make peace with the situation and just move on. As your mom said, “Life is not fair.”
      Good luck!

      Reply
  34. Joe Joe

    Hi, any advice on how to divide a rent increase?

    My flatmates and I moved in at different times so the differences in rents have already been established (2 large rooms, 1 smaller room. The rest of the flat is shared by all of us). Now the rent is increasing by £75.

    I find it logical to divide the increase evenly (£25 each), this way we’re maintaining the percentage of the existing divide, which is roughly %35/35/30. However my flatmate is adamant the increase should be split according to the percentage of our room divide (bigger rooms increased by £26.25, smaller room by £22.50). But if we split it his way we’re ultimately changing the percentage of how we divide our rents in the flat, which seems wrong to me. Am I missing something here?!

    I realise these are small sums so not a big deal, but we’re trying to agree on a formula to go by for future reference as we’ll incur further rent increases down the line.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Joe,
      This is an increase in the total rent for the apartment, so it seems to us that the correct way to split the rent increase is to figure out what % it is on the total rent and then increase each person’s rent by that percentage. Basically, we are saying that your flatmates are right and that split should also result in maintaining the original 35/35/30. Test it. Good luck!

      Reply
  35. Farica C

    Hi Audra,

    I am living in a house with 3 other girls for college. There are 3 bedrooms. The total rent cost is $3,900. The girls living in the single bedrooms want to be paying $1,075 each and the shared bedroom has me and my friend paying $875. They are all about the same size except we may increase the cost of one of the single bedrooms because it is slightly larger. Is it reasonable for me and my friend to be paying that much for a shared bedroom? We would like to lower what we pay.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Farica,
      The starting point should be that each bedroom costs 1/3 or $1,300. Then a small adjustments for the slightly larger room you share, so let’s say that’s $1,500. You two split that and pay $750 each. The other roommates with singles pay $1,200 each. Now, if you have already negotiated the splits, it may be tough to change, but right now you are paying $1,750 for your shared bedroom, while the other girls are paying $1,075 for a single. It does not seem fair to us. Good luck!

      Reply
  36. Chris Frank

    Hi!

    I am moving into a new condo with a roommate. Rent is a total of $3000. We originally negotiated that I would pay $100 more for the parking spot and $100 more for the bigger bedroom. When it came time to write cheques, he contended that our negotiated split meant I pay $1700 (equal share + 200) while he would pay $1300 (equal share minus $200). This however leaves me paying $400 more than him. My position is that I should pay $1600 and him $1400 (representing the $200 difference). He argues that by paying 1400 he’s only seeing a $100 saving in relation to even split. I disagree. I dont know what convention is in these circumstances and any help would be appreciated!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Chris,
      It seems to us that your roomie is right. You started with even split and then you agreed to pay $100 + $100 more. Your roommate is paying $200 less than even split and you are paying $200 more. The point of reference is an even split cost, not how much you pay relative to each other. Any other interpretations?

      Reply
  37. Rob Baratheon

    Hi Audra!
    We’re four guys sharing a 3 bedroom apartment, two of us would share a 180sqft master room with double closet, one would live in a 108sqft single room with a closet and the other one would live in a 96sqft single room with closet. How should we split the rent? The calculators that you posted seem good, but they don’t really justify the savings for the one splitting a 180sqft room vs the one using the 96sqft room. (only 50 bucks of difference).
    Thanks!!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Rob,
      Splitting rent with uneven shares is always partly a negotiation between the roommates. Usually someone sharing a room will pay less that someone having the same space, but their own room. We don’t know if that $50 difference is off a $1,000 share or a $300 share, so we cannot judge if it seem too little. The most important thing is that you all come to an agreement with the splits, so no bad feelings fester. If you feel $50 break is too little, you need to figure out with the guy you are sharing the large room with what would be fairer amount and let the other roommates know. Maybe you’ll end up somewhere in the middle, but if not, just move on. Good luck!

      Reply
  38. Amy Dodds

    Hi there! I’d like some advice if you wouldnt mind terribly.
    I moved in with my best friend about 2 months ago. Apparently everything bills mortgage etc comes to about £1000 pcm, so I initially agreed to split it down the middle and pay £500. After time however I’ve realised a few things:
    – the house technically has 3 double bedrooms, 2 of which smallish. I have one of these. She therefore has a slightly larger double, with en suite, as well as a double as a dressing room.
    – she has a very expensive tv package which I would never have agreed to and do not use (still don’t know how to use the tv!), and she has cable in her room when I do not.
    – she has a mortgage which I am paying half for which is an investment on her part, not just living expenses
    – and as such, the dynamic of the house is still it is ‘hers’ for example, getting annoyed when I move ‘her’ stuff when cleaning.
    I guess it’s like to know whether I am overpaying, and what portion of the full £1000 would be reasonable given this is purely for a 7.5″×12.5″ room.
    Thank you :)

    Reply
  39. Howard

    I found out today that I have been paying 80% of the rent. I live in a 2 bed 2 bath apt. I saw the lease today and it said $1775 a month. I have been paying $1300 monthly and my roommate $475. Plus I don’t even have the master bedroom. Utilities are like $100 a month so he is paying $575 total. What a rip.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Howard,
      We agree, it looks like you getting ripped off, but was that $1,300 the market rent for your share? If it was, then you are paying a fair rent and your clever roomie who somehow scored a below-market apartment, is getting the benefit of his good fortune.
      Of course, things are different if you two looked for a place together at the same time agreeing to split rent and your roomie went on the lease and hid the real rent from you. Did you have anything in writing? In real estate dealings verbal agreements are worthless. In either case, it does not hurt to ask for reduction. Life is not fair. Take this as a lesson for your next rental. Good luck!

      Reply
  40. Dana

    Hi
    My sister and I have been roommates the last 5 years. We have found apartments with a rent we would agree on and divid the rent in 2.
    Last year, my sister purchased a 3 bedroom home. And when we moved in my boyfriend also moved in with us. We divided by 3. (I always kind of thought it was overly helpful of my boyfriend and I to be paying 2/3 her mortgage with one of the smaller rooms, she has the master with attached bath and large walk in closet, double in size comparison.
    So we broke up, now she handed me this months “rent” which is half the 2500$ mortgage (including all bills, elec, trash, etc). I told her I can not afford more than 1000$ a month (she also makes double the amount salary I do) I said now with the changed circumstances, I feel it’s fair my rent is calculated by room charge + all other bills divided by 2. She then brings up the past ways of rent distribution and I do not feel that is fair. It’s her mortgage, she has the larger room, makes more, and she made the decision to buy this home and tells me she can handle the bills herself but can’t understand my Point of view. I told her that’s fine, then I need to move out and find a more affordable dwelling. Please help, we are fighting over this.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Dana,
      First, keep in mind that apartments come and go, but sisters are forever! That said, the house is her responsibility and splitting the mortgage does not seem fair. We would even say that $1,000 for one room in a 3BR place is generous on your part and your sister would be wise to accept it.
      Has your sister considered renting out the third BR, so that both of you would get some rent relief? You have been living together for 5 years, so whatever you decide, try not to cause long-term damage to your sisterly relationship. Good luck! Let us know how things work out.

      Reply
      • Dana

        We have agreed on me moving out. She is allowing the 1000 to be paid for the month, but thinks my request in totally unreasonable.

        There’s only so much you can do.

        Reply
        • MFA Editors MFA Editors

          Hi Dana,
          So sorry to hear that you cannot come to an agreement to stay together. You are now $250 apart in rent split. What about if you try to split the difference. Neither one gets exactly what they want, but at least you are not ending up living with stranger roommates. Maybe your sister feels that she bought the house with the understanding that you would live together and share costs. She risked her money on the down payment, but she’ll also get all the upside if the house is sold for more in the future. One day, the two of you may be trying to figure our who’ll take mom or dad for the next doctor’s appointment. It will be easier if you remain friends. Hope you get over this bump in your relationship.

  41. lonj24

    Hi everyone, I just want to get some thoughts. I am occurring renting an apartment with 3 bedrooms, kitcken and livingroom are open spaces and a bathroom. We are 4 girls and are paying 1875 a month. When we signed the lease everyone agreed to pay 468 even the people who were sharing the biggest room. They caused a very big dramatic scene and things changed to 625 per room. Now one of my roommates is having a hard time paying the rent due to the fact that its alot more than they originally agreed to. My questions is can anyone give me a sugestion on how to handle this situation and share the rent equally.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Lonj,
      Neither split seems totally fair, but you really should have thought this through when you signed for the apartment. The original even split is not quite fair to the girls who split the room. The new split is not quite fair to the two of you with smaller rooms who now pay twice what the girls in the largest room pay, after all everyone has equal use of all the other space in the apartment. Try to negotiate something in the middle, maybe something like $400-$425 for the split room each and $525-$550 for the single rooms. Your aim need not be to share rent equally, but share it equitably. Let us know how you resolve this and good luck!
      Anyone else with advice?

      Reply
  42. Optimistic

    Please help: My friend and I are moving into a 4 bedroom 2 1/2 bath home. She has three children all teenagers. I have one child, teenager. I will have the master with bathroom en suite and she will have 2 bedrooms, bathroom and one bedroom is split with my child and one of hers. So, question is:

    What is the most fair split for rent on each side?
    I, with master and 1/2 bedroom (1 adult, 1 child)
    She, with 2 1/2 bedrooms (1 adult, 3 children)

    Also, I wanted to know if splitting the utilities 6 ways is fair since they are all teenagers using a fair amount of water, elec, cable, etc as adults.

    Thanks!

    Optimistic

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Optimistic,
      So, one adult has own bedroom with en suite bath and the other one will have own bedroom but will share bathroom with 4 TEENAGERS! Let’s hope she does not have to get to work on time.
      What you could do is to start with splitting rent on the basis of bedroom shares used, so 1.5 of 4 is 37.5% and 2.5 of 4 is 62.5% and then make an adjustment for the bathroom situation. Maybe rather than 37.5/62.5 rent split, make it 40/60, to give a little break to the person who has the shared bathroom. And regarding utilities, split the same way to keep things simple.
      Good luck! Let us know how it all works out.

      Reply
  43. Ron

    Hi, so my 2 other roommates and I rent an apartment at school. I pay $740/m because I have the master bedroom whereas they pay $630/m each. Now we will be leaving for the summer and our apartment will be unoccupied so the rent is half as per the contract which would make it $1000. So I believe that everyone should pay the same amount since the apartment is unoccupied but my roommate seems to believe that we should pay half of what we are paying now which I believe to be unreasonable. What are your thoughts?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Ron,
      We are with your roommate on this. Half is half for everyone.

      Reply
  44. Aliyah

    Hi,

    I’m about to move in with a roommate and her sister in a 2 bed 1 bath. The rent would be about $950. When we talked about how we would be splitting it she said that I would be paying $500 and them $450. She and her sister would share a room and I would be getting my own. Does this sound about right?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Aliyah,
      Why should you pay more? You will be one person using your common kitchen and bathroom and they are two people. If the bedrooms are about same size, the rent could be split evenly. If they have bigger room, they should pay more. Whatever you do with the split, just make sure everyone agrees, so it does not cause problems later on. Good luck!

      Reply
  45. cake

    Hi,

    I am sharing an apartment with my friend and its 2 bed room, 1 bath, 1 living room and Kitchen. My roommate has the master bedroom (16/11.5) with walkin closet space. I have a small bedroom with small closet (not enough for my clothes to hang even). The rent is 940 and we share equal. I think it is not fair for me to pay the equal amount as her as she got the more space for the same amount. Although I am leaving this issue to her conscience to make a decision, she pretended as if she doesn’t care. What share of rent would be fair enough for me to pay????

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Cake,
      This is the reason why you need to negotiate fair rent split going in. If you decided to split equally, you could have flipped a coin to decide who get the clearly better room. Or, you could have done the rent split based on square feet of each BR. Or placed bids for the bigger room. The longer you wait to try to rectify an unfair split, the more difficult it is. You say she pretends she does not care. Maybe she does not know how unhappy you are. You need to have a talk. Maybe you suggest that your roomie pay all the utilities to even things out. Think what you want before your talk, but also have a fall back if your roomie balks. Let us know what happens and good luck!

      Reply
  46. Jamie

    Hi, got some questions. My bf and I have been living with a long-time friend of ours. We just moved to this state and this friend kindly offered to let us stay with him for free for a while til we got on our feet. It is a 2 bed 2 bath apartment, one is a master bed with an on-suite bath. When we moved in his mother lived here as well so he could care for her. She had the master bed & our friend had the smaller room, so since he works overnights we all basically shared a bed with no space of our own. Living out of bins, which was fine because we planned on moving out when we were able.
    Fast forward to now. Our friend moved his mother in with other family members, so he offered us to stay here and rent a room. This is where it gets tricky. He wants to split rent equally 3 ways, but he wants to keep the master bedroom, and he also spends pretty much all of his time sleeping in the living room so nobody else can use it.
    Rent in $1400/mo, so he is asking each of us to pay $470. I do not think it’s fair that my bf and I pay a total of $940 for a room that’s half the size of his, with an unattached bathroom (that our friend still uses), and we do not get equal use of the common areas. I feel that we need to calculate the value of each bedroom and pay based on that, not based on how many people are living here.
    While I realize he did us a huge favor by letting us stay here, that was something he insisted on doing. We contributed towards rent even tho he said we didn’t need to, always helped out with his mom, etc etc etc. Am I being unreasonable thinking this is crazy unfair?? I don’t want to be a jerk but I don’t want to be ripped off!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Jamie,
      Of course it’s not fair. However, who says rent has to be fair. Maybe your friend feels that since he let you stay there free (even if you informally contributed) he will now make up for it. To us a fair split would be 50/50. He has the bigger room but there’s two of you using all the common areas of the apartment. Roommate rent is a negotiation. You need to talk to your friend. Tell him you love to share the apartment, but that you’d like to talk about the rent split. Don’t use words like “ripped-off”, acknowledge how generous he was letting you stay free when you were in a bind, etc. You want to remain friends even after the conversation. Good luck!

      Reply
  47. Elceeem

    Hi, I’m currently renting a 1+ study apartment for about over half a year.

    Our rent is 570 per week with 1 bedroom with a full ceiling window and a proper built in closet and heater while the other room market as ‘study’ comes without any of the mentioned

    I’m currently paying 280 for the ‘study’ room without the mentioned features and was considering for renegotiation.

    Is the rate fair or am I paying too much for the room without a window+closet+heater?

    What is the proper percentage distribution for both rooms?

    It is currently about 280 to 290 for the ‘study’ room to the bedroom which is 49% – 51%. Is 45%-55% a fair rate to ask for negotiation for the ‘study’ room? Which is about 256.5 – 313.5

    Would love to hear some feedback and insights

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Elceem,
      We assume that you mean rent per month. Unless you live in England where the rent is often given as a weekly amount. In any case, your room is clearly less valuable of the two, which you knew when you took the room. As a general rule, it is always better to negotiate fair rent split up front. That said, you can always ask to renegotiate. To us a room without a heater or window or closet, no matter what size, is much less valuable that a normal bedroom. Your proposed new split still looks very generous to the roomie, but if it works for you, why don’t you suggest that you pay a nice round 250, leaving your roomie to cover $320. Let us know how it works out. Good luck!

      Reply
  48. Soulbrova

    This is my situation….I am living with my girlfriend and we have been engaged now for about 2 years . I also have her brother staying here with us…in the 2nd bedroom

    Our rent is 1250 per month plus another 400 lights and cable

    I was paying 1000 towards the rent leaving 250 each for her brother and her to pay….
    I feel I am being way too nice and I am being taken advantage of.

    I have 1 dresses drawer and about 14 to 26 hangers …. Very little space to store any of my things .

    So to be fair I have ask to pay 850 per month leaving 400 a peace for the other 2 working adults.

    Would love to hear some feedback

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Soulbrova,
      Of course you are paying too much, but that’s the deal you got yourself into. Renegotiating deals is always more difficult than getting it right the first time. Even the new split is giving your GF and her brother a great deal, so they should be happy to agree. But, if they don’t, what will you do then? Kick them out? Not likely, so what’s your leverage? Is a good relationship with GF worth $150 a month? Let us know how it turns out. Good luck!

      Reply
  49. travelphorne

    Hi, I am renting a 3bdr, I get the smallest room, it’s about 2/3 of the size as the other 2 rooms, faces the sun, get the smallest section of the fridge and about 1/12 space of the pantry. My name is not on the lease but the agent is well aware I live here, I pay 200/wk inc bills and do not use the common areas (I don’t cook or watch tv, mainly in my room when I am home) I don’t get to use the garage as the main renter stores his stuff there and can never park my car in the driveway coz it’s his spot, I’ll have to park my car a 3min walk away.
    The other 2 are paying about $170/wk not inc bills, (id say $250 max inc bills) and they will split what I pay, so I end up paying more than they do, ($150/wk inc bills). I don’t mind paying more but given all the space I get, as I don’t want my name on the lease but even if I split what space I get (the only that bothers me is the driveway and garage) I feel so cheated! Or am I wrong?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Travelphorne,
      Yes, it looks like you really got the short end of the stick in this deal. But, you agreed to the terms when you moved in. You have 3 options now – try to renegotiate the rent, find a new roommate share, or stay where you are, being unhappy in your room. Our advice is to try to renegotiate and if that does not work, find a new place where you negotiate better deal up front. Good luck.

      Reply
      • travelphorne

        THANks! I did not realise I was paying more than them until one of our previous housemates left and told me how much rent he was paying. Hopefully I can find a better deal.

        Reply
  50. Vicki

    I have a question
    We rent a 3 bedroom condo its me and my fiancee and our 4 month old son. We moved in my fiancees brother. They originally agreed to pay rent down the middle since at the time was hardly works due to be pregnant. Unfortunately I had to quit work and take care of my sick mother who I moved into the spear room at the time. His brother then wanted to split rent 4 ways we went ahead and did it since my mother was helping out unfortunately my mother has passed and I’m out of work only income is now from my fiancee. He only wants to pay 1/3 of rent. Normally I would be ok. But he wants to say who uses the bathroom in the hall and uses the kitchen mind you he doesn’t own any of the pots n pans dishes anything only thing he owns is the stuff in his bedroom. His cats also ruined all my furniture couches kitchen chairs all leather and ruined he thinks its ok to leave the cats in the living room and kitchen. I’ve told him his cats are only to go to his room but he doesn’t listen he thinks because he pays 1/3 he can do what he wants. I just need advise on what to do.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Vicki,
      If you have 3 bedrooms and your family occupies 2 of them, then it seems fair that the brother pays 1/3 of rent, unless the bedrooms are very different sizes. As to his use of kitchen and bathroom, he should have equal right to yours on the use of common spaces. The cat is a different problem. The cats that destroy your belongings should be kept in his room and he should compensate you for the ruined furniture. He needs to be respectful of the shared spaces and not monopolize them. What does your fiancee think about all this? Have you had a talk with him? Good luck!

      Reply
  51. Deb Watkins

    I have a question:
    My best friend, my sister & I are about to rent a fairly large house and so far, we’ve been able to divide the living spaces equitably and to our satisfaction. The issue seems to be with the garage, though. The best friend will get the master bedroom an onside suite and office space (because she works from home). My sister and I will obviously share a bathroom. The best friend believes she should also occupy one of the (TWO) garage spaces and without paying extra for it. I am of the opinion, the person without a parking space should pay less. How do we resolve this issue?
    Thank you

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Deb,
      It does seem that the garage value should be adjusted. Find out what a garage space goes for in your area and figure out an adjustment based on that, maybe not for full amount, but a portion. If a garage space is worth $100, maybe adjust $50. Where does the third person park, anyway. Street parking or driveway is rougher on the car than garage parking. Let us know what you decide and good luck!

      Reply
  52. Sandra Wright

    I have a question….I am renting a room from my friend. It is a 3 bedroom apartment with one bathroom, living room and of course a kitchen. Our rent is $490/month. I have the smallest room in the apartment and she has the two larger bedrooms. I have no space in the bathroom to even put my things because she has occupied most of the space, along with the living and kitchen. In the kitchen…she has occupied the freezer ( I can’t fit anything in there because it is jammed pack with her food) and I have 2 small cabinets that are half the size of regular cabinets to store my food items.
    She has twin girls that occupy the large 3rd bedroom but they only come to the apartment on the weekend. Right now I am paying $330/month. This includes half the rent plus $50 for electric and $30 for wifi and an extra $5…not sure where she calculated that in at. Would it be reasonable for me to ask her to lower my rent to a 1/3 since she occupies almost 90% of the living space? I personally feel like I pay to much considering the amount of space I use…but I would like someone else’s opinion.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Sandra,
      It looks like you agreed to a really bad split on the rent, but there is no law that would require the rent to be equitable. It’s a free market transaction. It would not hurt to ask to renegotiate the rent, but what would happen if you have to move? Can you find another place with better terms? Your friend probably thinks that since her daughters are there only on weekends, it’s fair to split the rent in half. Maybe you can suggest that she gives you a little more space in kitchen and bath and adjust the rent some, for the fact that on weekends you have 4 people vs 2 people in the apartment. It does not hurt to ask. Good luck!

      Reply
  53. Maggie Feng

    Just beginning the horrible September 1st lease turnover in Boston, and the drama that was last night occurred when discussing which rooms the three of us would have. We are all recent graduates from undergrad, so I admit to being new to this, but honestly the internet soundly supports what I have done.

    As the add in on a pair of friends who found the place, they saw the apartment and I didn’t until the day before the lease started, when I moved my things in. I had previously asked which rooms they had a preference for, and one of them had a clear choice while the other wasn’t sure. So I put my stuff in one room that wasn’t the one already “chosen” and asked if that could be my room. Turns out that’s what the unsure girl wanted but would be “willing to talk things over to make everyone happy,” and so I reiterated the one thing I wanted (north/south facing room) to which she basically said she’d buy me a set of curtains if the sun was an issue for the last, west-facing room. We weren’t reaching a compromise on room selection, so I turned to a more logical approach – okay, I’ll take the room no one wants if I get to pay less for it (in her words, it was smaller – though apparently that “doesn’t say much since they’re all big rooms anyways!” – and was too awkwardly shaped for her artistic liking). I suggested apps like Splitwise to help with making this fair and reasonable.

    Turned into a whole discussion about how this isn’t in our lease (of course not! landlords don’t care how rent is split amongst tenants!), how they are looking for full time work (too bad! Your income has no bearing on how we all divvy up rent on a shared space, and frankly my income and employed status should not mean I have to pay equal for less space!) of which basically, after a night stewing over it, she and her friend, the third roommate, basically told me that absolutely no they would not split rent unevenly based on room size since apparently we were “splitting the shared space equally.” I said, ok, if this is the case let us make this somewhat more fair by randomly drawing a lottery for the rooms, to which she said, no we are not going to do that either. At this point it is pretty blatant that they had rooms selected, previously said things vaguely (imo, this is just a girl thing to do to make things sound nicer, as if they were actually considering my input), and didn’t care what I thought and gave me last dibs on everything.

    So at this point, on the first day of the lease and to which I haven’t even moved into, I am being told that they can find another subletter easily and that I should move out because apparently I am the one with issues (of course it seems like that way – they’re friends! Pitting against me the outsider!). At this point I just think that they’re stupid, because again, TOO BAD I have signed the lease so any subletter they find can suck it because if I don’t want to do anything, I have no obligation to do so.

    I brought in the agent, told him the situation, and thankfully we are allowed to find someone to take over my lease. Oh and subletting is a hard no, because of liabilities on my and the landlord’s part. Says explicitly in the lease, and somehow these two girls thought otherwise as if it was “weird” it wasn’t the way they thought it would be.

    I will be losing out on money (most likely the broker’s fee and part of rent, since I cannot stomach living with these girls and I will probably find another lease to stay in ASAP so overlap of dates might occur) but at this point I’d be paying for peace of mind and a drama-free, irrational children-free household. Once I find my new lease – and I am recognizing how lucky I am that just the day before, someone I had previously messaged about housing in early August, who didn’t respond at the time, responded to my message asking if I still needed housing now. I am getting responses even so late into the lease turnover in Boston (80% of leases turnover 9/1, I read somewhere), to which I would be paying less for similar amenities in similar apartments anyways, so there’s the silver lining to all of this.

    Lessons coming from this – talk prices and negotiations before signing, make sure you even the knowledge field when joining an established housing group for preventing being taken advantage of like I am now. My fault was in jumping on a lease since I was finding housing in Boston in mid-August and panicking over not having housing. But honestly, what kind of power trip is this, for them to select the two better rooms, seemingly give me an option, take it away, and pay the same rent for everything? The power trip of two vs. one, what-we-say-is-how-it’ll-be-done, dramatic immaturity to not approach this how it is commonly done when rooming cannot be smoothly discussed.

    Thankfully in the short period I will be staying here while looking for other housing, I told this girl that I would take the room we both wanted and she can move in later – compromise, since we are still paying the same rent. When I move out, I am sending a patronizing letter with online research infused into a statement about how they should know better about splitting rent unevenly when rooms are more desirable than others, and to not be immature and irrational about it like they were. I don’t care if they don’t read it – it’ll be cathartic enough to just make it and send it.

    Thanks for reading to this extent, if you did – this is happening in real time and I just needed to vent.

    Reply
  54. Ariel

    I have a question I need someone to answer. In the two bedroom two bathroom apartment i live in i live with my fiance in the master bedroom and my roommate has the room across the living room with his own bathroom across his door. My roommate wanted to split the rent 3 ways but my fiance and I want to split the rent down the middle. What’s makes more sense and why? Please help

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Ariel,
      Neither approach seems fair. The master bedroom is probably bigger than the second bedroom. You may have en suite bath, roommate’s has outside his room, a minor detail, but still. Also, the two of you will use common areas (kitchen/LR) twice as much and two will use more utilities than one. To us the fair split is somewhere in between. Or to make things simple, maybe you split in the middle, but you and your fiance pay all utilities.
      Let us know how you resolved this and good luck!

      Reply
  55. missm

    Me and my boyfriend are just about to move in with a couple that we are really good friends with through work and get on really well for 2 years now. Their flat mate moved out and we saw the room available and were really happy to move in and the rent is decent. Today i went to take some measurements for furniture i am ordering and i saw their room- IT’S DOUBLE THE SIZE and en suite.. but we have agreed to split the rent in the middle.. Now I feel a bit cheated as their room is double the size, but we have agreed to pay everything half way – what do I do ?

    Reply
  56. Wolfe

    I moved in with someone whose roommate had moved out about a year and a half ago. It’s 2 bedroom, 2 bath. Her room has it’s own bathroom. We verbally agreed to split everything down the middle. I just saw on an apartment site that the rent is $25 cheaper than what she originally told me so I pay $25 more than she does. What are my options with this besides moving out?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Wolfe,
      Just because the rent on an internet site shows $25 less doesn’t mean that it is what your roommate signed for in the lease. You need to talk to her and find out if the apartment site was correct. If it is, then you can negotiate to get a monthly adjustment for $12.50 (half of the amount.) If your roommate refuses for some reason, you’ll have to decide if it makes sense to endure the hassle of moving out for $12.50 a month ($150 a year) dispute.
      Good luck from the MFA Team. Let us know what happens.

      Reply
  57. Julia

    I signed a one year lease with a couple I’ve known for a few years. We all verbally agreed to split the rent and utilities 3 ways since there is 3 of us. Prior to moving in I had no idea how much stuff she had, and she didn’t make an attempt to notify me of that either. We have a 1025 sq ft manufactured home, a master bedroom master bathroom a laundry area kitchen living room coat closet and a small bedroom and bathroom. I use the small bedroom and bathroom only, I have a couple small cabinets in the kitchen and rarely cook. The living room is completely occupied with a desk and computer two fish tanks two couches two coffee tables their tv a giant Hutch with collectibles, the walls are completely covered in my roommates strange nightmare before Christmas and spongebob posters( she is 24, I am 20) and snow globes and the list goes on. My second rommate(the boyfriend) is home all day and is claiming disability due to scoliosis. He wakes up at 10am and is in the living room with the tv on until late in the morning waiting for his girlfriend(the other roommate) because she works nights at a gas station. Even when I have friends over he does not leave the living room. My roommates were being loud at 2:30am on a Wednesday night and refused to move to their bedroom when I told them they were being loud and asked them nicely to watch tv in their bedroom(my work schedule is M-F 8-5). Very disrespectful people. We have had many disputes with noise and sharing and bottom line my roommates are not willing to share the common spaces with me equally at all, nor are they willing to be respectful enough to set rules for the use of common spaces either. I told her if she isn’t going to give me the 1/3 of the apartment that I am ENTITLED TO per the lease then I won’t be paying 1/3 of the rent and utilities. I told her I would be sliding the scale of compensation to a square footage basis. That ends up making my share of rent/utilities 25% instead of about 33.5%. Is this fair?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Julia,
      Fair or not, you agreed to split the rent equally, so it is now difficult to change it. Try to have one more calm talk with your roommates, although it sounds like they are not the type of people who are going want to see your reasonable point of view.
      Are you all on the lease or is it in one person’s name, with other two as roommates? If your name if not on the lease, depending on how much time is left on the lease, you might consider subletting your room and finding another place. Living in a constant conflict zone is not healthy for anyone.
      Hope you get your situation resolved soon, one way or another.

      Reply
  58. Erica

    What if my wife and I get a roommate? Since we share a room and everything else should the rent still be divided 3 ways?? When our roommate is single and gets his own bathroom amd bedroom. It’s a 2 bed 2 bath equal sized rooms is it fair to us if the roommate only pays a 3rd of rent?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Erica,
      If you are the tenants of record and you take a roommate, you should be able to charge whatever the market will bear, or in this case, whatever your roommate is willing to pay. You could just ask the roommate to pay half of the rent.

      Another way would be to consider the actual area of each bedroom and the common areas. You and your wife split the rent for your bedroom and then pay 1/3 each of the rent applicable to the common areas. If each bedroom+bath is 200 sf. feet and total of common areas is 600 sq.feet, for 1,000 sq.feet total apartment, and the rent is $1.000/mo. or $1 per sq. foot, the calculation would be: you 100+200 = $300, your wife 100+200 = $300, roommate 200+200 = $400.

      Let us know what you decided. And good luck with your new roommate. MFA Editors

      Reply
  59. Melissa D

    I am in a sticky situation too. There were a number of verbal agreements that my roommate and I made before moving in. Before we moved into our apartment we only saw the model, and at the time it made sense to split everything 50/50 because the rooms looked about even. The reality is that her closet is 3x the size of mine and her private bath is at least double the size of my bathroom, with a storage closet. Now 6 months into the lease, our friendship has ended because many of these verbal agreements are being denied by her (i.e. you made that up, I never said that, you misunderstood), and so in light of this I feel that we should renegotiate the rent split. Her bedroom is almost double mines square footage when you add in the HUGE walk in closet and her own private bath. She refuses to consider a negotiation. My question is, am I the one in the wrong here? I feel like I am losing my mind! Why is it that all the other verbal agreements are “nonexistent”, yet this one about the rent split is still binding? I feel like Im either being screwed out of money on purpose or she is, honestly, crazy.

    Reply
  60. Lisa Townsend

    My daughter moved to NYC six months ago and is renting an three bedroom apartment with two roommates, unknown to her prior to moving in (found at a roommate site). I have two questions. (1) Is it appropriate for one of her roommates to now want to change the structure of the rent — in a way which will make it less for herself each month and more for my daughter? It seems as if she wasn’t in agreement with it to begin with, she should have spoken up at that time. However, there isn’t anything in writing amongst the three of them. Only a verbal agreement that the rent be split evenly three ways. (2) Upon moving in, my daughter put her TV and accessories in the common room/living room (a TV which she purchased alone). This same other roommate is now telling her she can’t move it into her bedroom because it is now “common property.” The reason my daughter wishes to move it into her room is that she can’t comfortably watch TV in the common room or hang out in the common room because her work hours differ from the others and the noise bothers this other roommate (but not the third roommate). It is an item she purchased prior to moving in and the other roommate has no problem with her moving it into her room as she has a TV in her room. Thoughts, comments and suggestions appreciated.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Lisa,
      Changing rent in the middle of the lease period does not make sense. What is the justification the roommate is now using to cut her share? Anyway, they all agreed to the deal so they should live with it. As to “common property” TV, your daughter bought it and paid for it so it’s hers to do whatever she wants. Just realize that this may start an unpleasant situation with each roommate hauling their furniture to their room from the common area.
      The good thing is that half the year is already gone, so the girls only need to manage to live together for another 6 months.
      If you read some of the other comments on our site, you’ll realize that as roommate conflict goes, this situation is not that bad.
      Good luck. Let us know what happens.

      Reply
  61. Tia

    What if it was a 3 bedroom initially and I had to make half / less than half of the large living room into a bedroom with a partition wall ? Should I still have to pay an equal rent amount ?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Tia,
      When the rooms are unequal, you can use various formulas to figure out rent shares, but in the end it is a negotiation with your roommates. How are the other rooms? Larger? Better view? Closets? Start with the various ways the post suggests to split rent and then figure out what a fair rent would be for you,then present your reasoning to your roomies and negotiate for the best deal.
      Let us know how it goes and good luck! The MFA Team

      Reply
  62. Tom

    What if all of the furniture in the common area is mine? The coffee table, the couch, the kitchen table and the TV all belong to me (I have the larger bedroom). Could this be taken into account?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Tom,
      If you split the rent 50/50, the bigger bedroom can be your compensation for providing all the furniture to the common areas.
      MFA readers, any other ideas?

      Reply
  63. The Californian Apartments

    This is always something hard to decide. As apartment managers what we do is allow our tenants to usually make this decision for themselves and often times they will split it the best they can or trade off other amenities like an extra parking space or something like a meal out every week on the other roommate. Bottom line is that everyone needs to be happy. If you have happy roommates and they take care of the apartment and each other you will never need to worry. I agree that the rent calculator tools probably help a lot. Great post.

    Reply
  64. The Invisible Hand (@TheInvisibleDan)

    “You do not need to consider the common areas at all, since each roommate will have equal right to use those areas.”

    I disagree with this. The fact that everyone has equal right to use them is why they SHOULD be considered. Because the house contains areas that are shared by everyone, it decreases the relative advantage of having a big bedroom, so the rent difference should be decreased, too.

    This would be calculated by taking the total non-bedroom area of the house, dividing it equally among the roommates, and adding it to each of the bedroom sizes. To continue your example, if the whole house is 1400 square feet including bedrooms (so 900 in common areas -> 300 each), this would mean the person using Room 1 has a total of 550 square feet (39% of the total), the one in Room 2 has 450 (32%), and the one in Room 3 has 400 (29%). Assuming everything else is equal (and leaving aside that #1 should probably pay more for having a private bath), #1 would pay $393, #2 would pay $321, and #3 would pay $286.

    (This system is also how the RoomieCalc link above calculates it.)

    Now, here’s another question: I’m about to be entering a scenario like this (four bedrooms, four single people). I’m confident we can sort out the room size calcs, but there is an additional wrinkle: the house comes with a single-car garage. How much extra should the person who uses the garage pay?

    Reply
    • Admin Admin

      Hi Invisible Hand,

      How much would it cost to rent a garage in that neighborhood? What is alternative parking situation for the other roommates? How many of the roommates want the garage? All of that will determine the price.
      For example, if you are in brownstone Brooklyn and the alternative to garage is circling around the block to look for a parking space, the garage has a lot more value than if you are in suburbs and the alternative parking is in the driveway. If all the roommates are angling to get the garage, you could have sealed bids and the highest bidder gets the garage at the price they bid.

      If only one roommate has a car, then consider could you rent the garage out and at what price. (In some hard-to-park areas of NYC, it is common for people to rent out their garage to a neighbor.)
      If only one roommate has a car and there is no market for renting the garage out, then any amount that roommate proposes acceptable by all should work. Perhaps start by offering to pay double share of utilities. Let us know how you resolved the situation.

      Reply
    • charlottestephens

      How on earth would it decrease the “relative advantage” of having a bigger bedroom if everyone shares the common area equally? Then, won’t the other people just have less space that they can call their own? Especially if they share a room. I mean… no matter what you still have a larger bedroom and should pay more.

      Reply
  65. Kate

    Hi. I’m moving into a 3 bed 2 bath house with a couple & their toddler. The couple will have the master room with walk in robe & ensuite, the child will have the room beside mine and I will have to share what is essentially “my” bathroom with them to bath the child & if they should like a bath themselves. They suggest we go thirds in the rent. Is this fair? For their share of rent they will have a large master with walk in robe & ensuite, their child’s room plus use of the main bathroom. I will have one regular sized room and have to share “my” bathroom with them when they want it. I suggested I take the master with ensuite so I’m self contained & that they have the room adjoining their daughters with exclusive use of the main bathroom, but they want the master bedroom.
    I’m friends with this couple & don’t want to start a fight or resent them. I just want to be fair.
    Please help!

    Reply
    • Audra Audra

      Hi Kate!

      Good question. I can definitely see how this set-up would make things more complicated in terms of splitting the rent fairly. In your situation, I’d say the fairest way to figure out how to divide the rent is to use one of the rent calculators I mentioned in the blog above. They take into account room size, whether or not some spaces will be shared (in your case the bathroom), and other important details. Play around with them and see what turns up! Once they’ve given you an idea what’s a fair amount based on your situation, I’d show the pay breakdown to the couple you’re moving in with. This will help alleviate any conflicts (you can explain you used an unbiased online tool) and it’ll help you get a fair deal.

      Best of luck!
      Audra & The My First Apartment Team

      PS. You could also start with the thirds and then adjust your share by some amount ($100-150 a month maybe) to compensate for the bathroom situation and smaller room.

      Reply
  66. jana garrett

    what if your roommate isn’t on the lease because he doesn’t have any income?

    Reply
    • Audra Audra

      Jana,

      Do you want this said person to pay a portion of the rent? Depending on what you guys have worked out/what he makes, you can work out a deal where he pays a small portion to help out with utilities a month. In cases like these, it’s best to work out a payment plan that you both can live with. If you can provide more info, I can probably suggest more ideas.

      Thanks,
      Audra & The My First Apartment Team

      Reply