Whether you know the people you will be living with or not, there is a lot to think about when you move into a shared rental property. Is there a cleaning rota? When’s bin collection day?
However, one of the most important questions is likely to be how to work out bills. Establishing this early on can ensure you have a smooth relationship with your housemates and even help you avoid getting into financial difficulties because of miscommunication.
If you have joined an existing house share, there may already be a process that you can slot into, but it’s important that you feel comfortable talking about how the bills are split. It’s also essential that you have a clear understanding of how much you need to pay each month. You’ll probably already have your own personal bills to pay, such as your mobile phone contract and your tenant's insurance, so you’ll want to know your monthly outgoings.
When you’re heading into shared living for the first time, whether it be at uni, or if you’re moving in with your mates, it’s a good idea to get the ‘money’ chat out of the way early on. Moving into a house share with some of your closest friends can be very exciting; you can cook and clean together, arrange movie nights, and have your own personal coronavirus ‘bubble’. However, moving into a shared house brings a number of shared expenses, such as rent and utilities. With this in mind, we’ve put together some tips on ways to manage splitting the bills.
What are the main bills to pay?
As well as establishing how to work out your gas and electricity bills, there are a few more outgoings to be aware of. Before you discuss the bills with your housemates, it’s worth having a list of what you are all responsible for so that you can go through each of them.
- Rent - Depending on the type of house you have moved into, you may have to share the rent between your housemates.
- Utilities i.e. Gas, Electricity, Water
- Council tax
- TV licence
- Internet provider
The way you pay for these and the amount you pay will depend on the current process in place in your new property. Once you know how these bills are covered, you can establish an appropriate way to split them.
Who is responsible for the bills?
So, how to work out bills for a new house share? Have a conversation with your fellow tenants as soon as you can so you know what the current processes are or, if you’re all moving in at the same time, what they’re likely to be. Here’s a look at how the key bills can work for your house share.
How to pay bills in a shared house
In some house shares, the landlord might cover the cost of the utility bills in the rent. However, it’s more common for housemates to share out the cost of these and take responsibility for organising them.
When it comes to splitting bills in a shared house, it’s worth arranging a separate conversation with your housemates to the one about rent. This keeps everything clear.
You’ll need to decide who will be the named person on the account. If you’ve moved into a house share, this might already be set up with the current housemates, or it could be that you pick up where the previous tenant left off in being responsible for one of the bills. Like the rent, it’s crucial that you have this conversation early on with your fellow tenants to make sure everyone knows who will oversee the TV licence and who will take care of the gas bill.
The bill payer on each account must make sure that they’ve set up a direct debit with the provider and that each of their housemates remembers to pay every month or quarter, depending on when the bill is due. To make this process as simple as possible, there a few ways to manage these payments.
Setting up a shared spreadsheet is a great way to keep track of when bills are due and how much everyone needs to pay in. It can be updated to reflect any changes, such as if you’ve overpaid and your electricity account is in credit or if the tariff is set to switch.
There are several bill-splitting apps that are designed to make sharing the cost of monthly outgoings easier and less awkward. Acasa, for instance, is a free app that helps with splitting payments and budgeting for other household expenses. Search for highly rated bill-sharing apps and try some of the free ones to see what works for your household. They can be a great way to check in on bills while you’re at work or on your commute.
? Joint account
Generally, it’s not advisable to get a joint bank account with fellow tenants as it could affect your credit score if one of the named housemates on the account misses a payment. Plus, there is risk involved here, as you will all have access to the account, so money can be added and withdrawn at any time. This is only an option if you’re moving in with say a partner with who you intend to continue to share finances.
Make it smooth
Whenever someone moves out and a new tenant moves in, there’s sure to be a crossover period. This means that you need to make sure the person who’s leaving settles their bills before they go, and the new housemate is ready to start paying in.
Having regular conversations with your housemates about how you all manage the bills is one way to make sure the times of transition are smooth and straightforward. In addition, the new person might have some great ideas to help make bill-paying easier.
Ultimately, working out the finances in a house share requires everyone to know who is responsible for each account, and make sure that they pay their bills on time to avoid any issues for the whole household.
If you are looking for an expert estate agent, Get in touch with us! We can help you find the perfect home for you and your flatmate. Visit Fortess Homes and view our available properties.