A Guide to Sharing Costs with Roommates


Moving into your first student apartment is exciting. You’ll finally have freedom, your own space, and the chance to prepare proper meals — no meal plan. Although there are numerous benefits to living off campus, all this independence comes with responsibilities. One such responsibility is splitting bills and other expenses with your roommates. Since this can be complicated, it’s important to work out the details from the start.

1. Look for an Apartment with Separate Leases

Your greatest expense will be your rent. Some landlords only allow tenants to have a single lease for the entire apartment. The downside to this is you may have problems if just one of your roommates pays late. It’s far better to find housing where the landlord is willing to give each of you an individual lease.

2. Decide How to Share Payments

Even if you all have individual leases, there will be costs you need to share. One solution is to use a payment app to reimburse whoever pays. Another option is for everyone to contribute the same amount each month to a checking account.

3. Specify How You’ll Share Food and Household Supplies

There are various ways to share food. If you’re all close friends, you may decide you want to share almost everything and even cook meals together. Alternatively, you may only want to share staples like condiments, milk, and bread. The least complicated option is to share nothing at all.

You’ll also need to think about how you’ll divide household supplies like cleaning products, toilet paper, and garbage bags. Decide which items you’ll share between you and who is responsible for purchasing them.

4. Choose What Utilities You Want to Have

Whereas you’ll certainly need basic utilities like electricity, water, and heating, you have a choice when it comes to things like the type of internet package and whether you’ll share streaming services to watch on the TV in your living room. Determine who will take out the accounts and what day of the month the rest of you need to contribute to ensure the account holder is able to pay on time.

5. Set Rules Around Guests

Having guests over often can increase your household expenses, especially if guests are eating meals at your apartment. You may like to set a rule that roommates who have guests over need to reimburse the rest of you for any food and other supplies the guests use.

6. Put Your Agreement in Writing

It’s worth putting your agreement into writing. Whereas this won’t be legally binding, it will mean you have a record, which could come in useful for avoiding disputes with your roommates.

7. Note Down Who Owns Each of Your Household Items

Another thing to have in writing is what everyone owns. It makes more sense to purchase large items individually, as you’ll then be able to easily divide them between you when you move out. Bear in mind that there will be fewer things you need to buy if you rent a furnished apartment.

Before you start thinking about how you’ll split costs with roommates, you need to find somewhere to live. You can find Brock University off-campus housing at Foundry Lofts. We have four- and five-bedroom fully-furnished apartments. You can share with friends or ask us to match you with roommates. Whatever you choose, you’ll only be responsible for your own lease. Contact us now to secure the type of suite you want while we still have some available.

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