How would you split the rent?
September 21, 2010 3:32 PM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend: I am considering moving into a two bedroom apartment with a couple. I would have one room (the smaller one), and they would occupy the master bedroom. Their room is very large -- close to twice the size of mine. What would be an equitable split of the rent? All utilities are included in the rent.
posted by bluefly to Work & Money (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd say either a third each or 30/35/35.
posted by yeloson at 3:37 PM on September 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

Tougher because utilities are included. If I were you, I would pay no more than a third, maybe no more than 30%, especially if they share a master bath. Possibly as low as a quarter. See how low they'll go. What the market will bear, right?
posted by supercres at 3:47 PM on September 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Forgot to add, there is only one bathroom -- it is not "attached" to the master bedroom.
posted by bluefly at 3:49 PM on September 21, 2010

You pay a third. They split the rest.
posted by dfriedman at 3:50 PM on September 21, 2010 [3 favorites]

I'm in a similar apartment, though the bedroom the couple (including myself) is in is no larger than the other room. We split everything by thirds.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:53 PM on September 21, 2010

You're using 1/3 of the included utilities, 1/3 of the shared space, and 1/3 of the private space. Pay 1/3.
posted by jeather at 4:00 PM on September 21, 2010 [7 favorites]

I'd say it depends on how big the communal space is and also what proportion of the rent the utility bills are, and also on how their relationship works.

If you'll all be spending a lot of time in the communal areas and utilities comprise a large proportion of the rent, and the couple lead quite independent lives, then you'd be looking at something closer to a third each (but not quite a third each - you should pay slightly more as you have your own room - and that's worth remembering).

If the communal areas are small and the utlilities are a small proportion of the overall rent, and the couple are joined at the hip (i.e. if one of them is out, they're both out) then you're looking at closer to 50/50 (but not quite, as two people do use more utiliities than one).

So somewhere in between 50/50 and thirds would be fair.

Discuss it with them and come to an agreement that everyone is happy with - this may involve some discussion about how their relationship works. If you know them already then you'll probably have a good understanding of this.

Depending on how negotiations go, think about whether you'd be happy to pay a few extra dollars a month to avoid a situation where one or both of your flatmates are feeling resentful about the division. Also, if you pay significantly less rent, you may find yourself in situations where your views on things like cleaning or parties are discounted. So make sure you discuss this sort of thing as well.
posted by finding.perdita at 4:11 PM on September 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

When I split with a roommate we did it by thirds despite the fact that my wife and I had a private* bathroom and a walk in closet.

The fact that you're wanting to move into a 2 bedroom with a couple makes the standard answer of 1/3 a bit fuzzy if you ask me. They have a bigger room, but they also share. Yours is smaller, but it's yours and that's it. I agree with finding.perdita, somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2.

* Where private means you had to walk through our room to get there. When we had guests over they still used ours and not the roommate bathroom that had a door to the shared area of the apartment.
posted by theichibun at 4:15 PM on September 21, 2010

somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2.

When I lived with a married couple we split the difference between half/half and third/two-thirds. I think we did it 60% (their portion) / 40% (my portion). Seemed to work out OK.
posted by dersins at 4:22 PM on September 21, 2010

I would find 60/40 (or more accurately 30/30/40) to be fair in line with the comments above.
posted by maryr at 4:30 PM on September 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

When I moved into my first apartment (a 3 bedroom with non-coupled roommates), two of the rooms were huge and one was very tiny. The three dudes who lived there before us split it evenly. I didn't care which room I had, but I for sure knew I didn't want to pay a third of the rent. So I pretended like I wanted a big room (knowing the other girls wanted the big rooms), made a small fuss, then "relented", saying I'd take a smaller room if I could pay less rent. I ended up paying $100/month less than everyone else.

It sounds like for you a 1/3 - 2/3 split would be the most fair, but keep in mind that it could go even lower depending on how you, uh, ask. (It depends where your new roommates fall on the scale of reasonable/unreasonable people. This works best with folks who don't make good or rational decisions. YMMV.)
posted by phunniemee at 4:33 PM on September 21, 2010

I understand the inclination towards 40/30/30, the reasoning being that they don't each have their own bedroom while you do or there are some other efficiencies, like using less electricity because they're often in the same room when a light or a heater is on, that sort of thing. (Or an argument could be made that your alternative is paying full rent for a studio, while theirs is splitting a one-bedroom, so your best alternative has you paying more than their best alternative has them paying.)

But in this case I'd suggest each paying one third. For one, if their bedroom is about twice the size, then you each have an even share of the private space. Furthermore, if we're realistic about it, living with a couple has certain inconveniences for the third party; chances are, your use of the common areas won't interfere with their use, but there will be times when they want to eat dinner or watch a movie just by themselves, even if they never actually say that out loud.

So yeah, pay a third, but know going in that the reality of it is that you won't have an equal vote when things come up. Living with a couple like this is an unstable equilibrium, in my experience, at least compared with just having one other roommate. Personally, I would pay 100% of the rent of my own apartment before I would live with a couple again.
posted by kprincehouse at 6:05 PM on September 21, 2010

WTF why wouldn't you pay a third? I've never been in or seen a living situation where bathrooms or size of bedrooms had any bearing on one's rent portion. You have a body? You pay rent/#of bodies.
posted by cmoj at 6:32 PM on September 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

When I used to house-share, we used to start ("start" is a key word, here) by figuring the rent/square foot and applied it to the total common space and to each bedroom. Then took as the starting rent for each person, their bedroom rent + 1/n of the common space rent. We didn't have any bedroom sharers but I'd assume they'd split that room's rent (how to split it would be entirely up to them).

With that start, we'd tweak it one way or the other according to perceived advantages or disadvantages of one room compared to another, or even if those numbers just didn't feel quite right. Ultimately it's subjective, but at least having a semi-rational starting place tended to produce calm discussions and a comfortable agreement, and usually, the agreed division wasn't too different from the starting place.
posted by TruncatedTiller at 7:02 PM on September 21, 2010

One apartment, three people. 1/3 each!
posted by three bear minimum at 8:07 PM on September 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

At first blush, I would say a third; but is your friend moving into a place where the couple already lives? If so, they may consider it "their place" and there may be unspoken rules about the common areas. If they are already entrenched, your friend may have some wiggle room in rent.
posted by sfkiddo at 10:08 PM on September 21, 2010

I'm half of a couple sharing a 2brm with one other person. I just worked out our rent split (never actually calculated it before) and it is 60/40. It has always seemed fair. Utilities aren't included in our rent and we pay 2/3 of those.

I don't think we would have objected to equal third shares but thinking about it 60/40 does seem fairer to me. Our flatmate's boyfriend comes over usually on the weekends, 2-3 nights a week, so it's sort of more of an equal split of use of the common areas etc during the times when people are actually home, since none of us are ever really there during the week. So I guess while it seems fair that your friend pays 1/3 if she's got a smaller room, if she has a S.O. that might be over a lot that might need to be taken into account.
posted by lwb at 12:36 AM on September 22, 2010

A third-ways split is fair. Couples are not one entity, and the poster will be dealing with two people, not split halves of one person. The common spaces are shared by three people, the utilities are shared by three people, the entire deal except for the couples' bedroom is shared by three people.

This is how we and our roommate have worked it for several years.
posted by goofyfoot at 2:07 AM on September 22, 2010

I'm going to chime to say 1/3 is what makes sense to me, though I am very interested when I read these questions by the various formulas people use. Back when I lived in big houses with lots of housemates, the rent was always split equally, while choice of bedrooms was by lot.
posted by not that girl at 6:29 AM on September 22, 2010

Response by poster: though I am very interested when I read these questions by the various formulas people use.

It is interesting, isn't it? That's why I suggested asking here, to get a measure on what other people feel is fair. I myself suggested 60/40. I'll forward this thread to my friend, so she can decide how to proceed.
posted by bluefly at 7:17 AM on September 22, 2010

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