How much to pay my temporary hosts as I sublease my place for a week?
February 20, 2009 5:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm renting out my apartment for a week-long festival and staying with a former roommate for the week. I expect this arrangement to be lucrative for me and I want to share some of the wealth with former roommate. What's an appropriate amount to pay my temporary hosts?

The festival is actually 9 days long and attracts lots of visitors to town, visitors who want a place to stay near all the action. My apartment is located very near all the festival activity and can sleep two comfortably (or sleep four if you don't mind sharing full-sized beds). I'm planning on renting it for $150/night.

For the week, I'm moving most of my personal stuff out and staying with C. and her housemates. Last year I lived in a house with C. and two other people; C. now lives there with A. and a third roommate who is about to leave and be replaced (will happen around the time I'm staying with them).

I was planning on staying in the living room, but turns out A. will be out of town, so she's offered to let me stay in her room (which has its own bath). Perfect! Money's tight for all of us, so I'm glad to pay them a portion of what I'll be making for the inconvenience of having me in their space for a week. How much is appropriate? Should I pay the same amount to all three roommates?

My relationship with C. is good but casual. We like each other and are friendly, but don't really hang out now that we don' t live together. I've met A. a few times and we got along, but again, we're not close friends or anything. I'm a pretty considerate houseguest, so I don't think it will be a big burden to have me around. So, what's my magic number, hivemind?

Sorry for all the detail; trying to anticipate follow-up questions. Anonymous b/c my landlord probably doesn't want me doing this and I'm paranoid he'll find out somehow.
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (12 answers total)
You're renting A's room. Pay A whatever her prorated daily cost is. More isn't necessary, as she was going out of town anyway and didn't expect to recoup the cost. For her roommates, buy dinner one night.
posted by orthogonality at 5:51 PM on February 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Rather than cash, why not take your time there to look around their apartment and give them something they could use as a gift? Or buy them groceries. Or take them all out for a nice meal. Or...something that's just not straight cash. I would think that as a friendly acquaintance and considerate houseguest, a gift would be more appropriate.
posted by phunniemee at 5:54 PM on February 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

If I was in C's place I would probably be pretty uncomfortable and maybe even mildly offended if you offered me money. Like orthogonality says take C out to dinner and maybe some rounds out the bar. A you could offer some money to but even there I think a nice gift like a quality bottle of her favorite spirit or some other luxury item that she might not buy for herself would be more than sufficient. Friends (even ones who aren't super-tight) do each other favors, offering money can often spoil the spirit in which the favor was intended.
posted by Bango Skank at 5:59 PM on February 20, 2009

If they know what you're up to (renting out your place for a week and looking for a place to crash) and have invited you to stay without asking for a piece of the action, I don't know that it's necessary to give them anything, and I'm with Bango that it might even be offensive depending on how they view the relationship. At any rate, the precise amount is something you should work out with them after discussing it to see if they're even interested.
posted by rkent at 6:03 PM on February 20, 2009

I would look for something both nice and useful that you could give that would be shared by everyone with budget of maybe $50. For example, could they use a wall clock in the living room? I know everyone uses their cell phone tell time but it might be nice to be able to just look up and see what time it is (and then they would also be reminded of your visit). Or maybe some plush hand towels and soap for each bathroom? Or good quality pot holders for the kitchen? You would have to wait until you had been there is see what is needed and what would fit their taste and your but I would go for an enduring object (not food which might be gone before A gets back) and which would benefit all of the housemates (or at least A and C).
posted by metahawk at 6:33 PM on February 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

How about a gift card to a place like Trader Joe's or something along those lines?
posted by cwarmy at 7:06 PM on February 20, 2009

Since you're staying with them in order to make money off of renting your place (lemme guess, SXSW ;-), it would not be unreasonable to offer them money. I agree with prorated rent or some fraction. You should probably ask C what would be best as far as how to split it. A gift card for food or supplies would definitely be a great idea, too.
posted by fructose at 7:24 PM on February 20, 2009

update from anonymous:
Thanks for the input, everyone. A nice gift or dinner/drinks on me would be nice. But I should have mentioned in the original post that I don't think the roommates are offended at the idea of getting money. When I proposed the idea to C., I said, "I'm going to rent my place out, but I need a place to stay. I thought I could stay with you guys and give you some of the money," and she said, "That'd be awesome." So they're down with getting a crass wad of cash; we just haven't talked about an amount yet. (I am doing this whole thing to make money, after all.
posted by mathowie at 8:58 PM on February 20, 2009

I like the dinner idea, but unless you already have people lined-up, that you don't know how much cash you're going to get out of this. If that's the case, I'd offer dinner (not expensive, but an opportunity to get out isn't bad) + X% (to be negotiated) of what you make by renting-out the apt.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 10:40 PM on February 20, 2009

If they're expecting cash, then I don't know exactly how much you should offer them. I like the idea of going grocery shopping and filling up the fridge with things that you won't feel guilty while eating there and that everyone can share. I'd go for convenient, snacky foods that most everyone likes and that feel a little wasteful/luxurious when you're buying them for yourself and telling yourself you should be eating nothing but rice and ramen BECAUSE OH GOD THE ECONOMY WE'RE ALL GOING TO BE SELLING APPLES ON THE STREETS AND LIVING IN CARDBOARD BOXES.

-stock the freezer with frozen pizzas

-crusty french bread

-brie, sharp cheddar, smoked provolone

-a little selection of cured sandwich meats; salami, capicolla, etc.


-milk & granola

-assortment of fruit
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:29 AM on February 21, 2009

Here's the deal -- if money's relatively tight, it may really be nicer to get cash. Not that the other things aren't great, but you can't pay credit card bills with a nice dinner or a clean apartment.

(this is sorta like how tipping in certain situations seems awkward, til you work for tips. then it doesn't seem awkward anymore.)

I'd give roughly 1/4 of what you make or, as someone else suggested, whatever A would pay in rent for those days. So roughly $250-300 of the ~$1200 you'll make, and maybe $50 to C "for utilities". Not that you owe that, but just a contribution.

That being said, it really depends on the social situation. If you weren't making money renting your apartment, or if everyone had plenty of money, I'd give a different answer. But bottom line, if money is tight, $50 is a week's worth of groceries.
posted by mercredi at 9:56 AM on February 21, 2009

What immediately came to mind was the payscale on a ship. 1/3 to the captain (you), 1/3 to the ship (your apartment) & 1/3 to the crew (your friends/hosts)
posted by thekiltedwonder at 11:43 AM on February 22, 2009

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