Roommates Splitting Rent Fairly

Updated on August 26, 2008
B.S. asks from Beverly, MA
6 answers

I'm not sure this is the right place for this request, but I thought I could get some impartial advice here. My daughter and an acquaintance are going to the same school and decided to get a two bedroom apartment together. The other mom and I are cosigners on the lease. The day the girls moved in, they chose rooms and my daughter got the 'master' bedroom (bigger closet, bigger bathroom, but not a huge difference.) That day the other mom told me her other daughter was thinking about going to the same school and would be moving into the apartment with them and sharing a room with her sister. Actually, she'll be sleeping in the living room. The other mom decided that my daughter could pay $100.00 less for the rent, instead of splitting it three ways. Does that seem fair? $100.00 less is about 42.3% of the rent. I haven't agreed to anything yet, but she's very pushy and is insisting on having this her way!!

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So What Happened?

Thanks to everyone for great ideas and advice that helped us realize this was a disaster waiting to happen. I realized since I had signed the lease, that I had to agree to this change, so I just didn't agree. It took a few days for the other mom to realize I wasn't going to give in, and now the other daughter is sharing an apartment with another girl and my daughter's situation didn't change. Everyone is happy and hopefully will stay that way for the year!

More Answers



answers from Boston on

Hi B.,

I guess you have to decide if the third roommate is going to lead to overcrowded conditions.

If your daughter is getting the larger of two bedrooms and a larger/private bath then she probably should pay a little more than her other two roommates since they will likely share a bath and one of the girls won't even have her own sleeping space.

It wouldn't seem fair that your daughter would only pay 33% of the rent if she is getting more of the space. The bottom line I guess is do you really want the additional roommate at all, afterall this was kind of sprung on you and does change the accomadations considerably.

Best Wishes,
J. L.



answers from Boston on

It doesn't matter that the two girls are sisters but it DOES matter that there isn't a third bedroom. All three girls can't be expected to pay equal amounts if they aren't all getting equal sized rooms (although utilities should be split three ways). So that definitely makes it more complicated. And the fact that your daughter has a slightly bigger space needs to be factored into it as well. I am not sure what is appropriate as far as each girl's rent... does the third girl need to sleep in the living room? Will that cause problems? I would be a little hesitant on that. I guess in the end you are paying for space and if the third girl will be occupying the living room then I am not sure $100 is fair. But if she was to pay more for her I don't think it would be much more. I wish you the best of luck in figuring all this out.



answers from Boston on

Ihave never rented with a roommate but from friends who do the one with the bigger room usually pays a little more. But with that said if a third girl is moving in then that changes things slightly. Maybe your daughter should sacrifice the larger room so the two siters can share and noone has to sleep in the living room.

Lets say the rent is 1000. Then maybe it could be 650 and 350. The teo sitters can work out the 650 since they have the bigger room and its 2 of them. Then the utilities are split 3 ways. 3 people three way split no matter if they are sisters or not. The landlord must be notified though.

Also maybe you should have them sign an agreement amongst them as to how it will be handle so there are no issues. Once it is in writing it makes it easier.

Hope this helps



answers from San Francisco on

Hi B.,

I've been a life long renter, and have had to learn many lessons the hard way. Hopefully, this will not be true for you and your daughter. If 3 girls are living in the apartment, they should each pay 1/3 of the rent and utilities. It doesn't matter if two of the girls are sisters.(In fact, that could end up being a difficult situation in and of itself for your daughter, but I'm not going to go into that here.) Don't let this other Mom push you around. If she won't agree to what is fair, get the landlord involved. In fact, if a third person is going to be moving into the apartment, the landlord should probably be notified anyway. It doesn't matter that two of the girls are sisters- what is fair (and legal) is fair. Good luck with this. L. S.



answers from Boston on

I think the rent should be split 3 ways if the roommmates friend moved in it would be split 3 ways. Plus that's an inconveince having someone sleep on the couch. What if you daughter wants to be in the living room and the other girl is sleeping there all the time. I'ld run from the situation as far as possible. It seems to have disaster written all over it and it may ruin your daughters first experience of living at home. Good luck



answers from Boston on

Hi B.,

You and your daughter signed up for certain expectations and now the other mom wants to make things complicated - bummer! This could work out just fine, or get really messy - fast.

First I would look at the lease. Does the landlord know that there will be a third tenant? Can the apartment legally be rented to more than two people? If so, the landlord might want to raise the rent for everyone. I'm not sure but I think that in some states each tenant has to have their own bedroom. The exception might be if the tenants are related, but you definitely want to check into this.

Best-case scenario is that the 3 girls all get along and the sisters share the bigger bedroom while your daughter takes the smaller one so no one has to sleep (dress, study, etc.) in the living room.

Worst-case scenario - I would make sure you have a back-up plan for your daughter's living arrangements in case this doesn't work out - and it probably won't. Personally, I would be looking to find another apartment now. The last thing your daughter needs is drama in her home. The added stress she will face is not conducive to a healthy learning environment.

Good luck!


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