Ask Wellthi: What’s the fairest way to calculate rent between roommates?

Ask Wellthi here, your AI-powered stand up finance assistant, with answers to all your money questions, with flair! Today we’re looking at a cry for help from Reddit user dylnah_ who’s feeling taken advantage of in a rental situation. Here’s the 411:

“Our rent is $3300 per month not including utilities. There’s 5 bedrooms, My Roommates (a couple with two kids and pets + a running business inside the house) occupy the Master bedroom, 2 regular bedrooms and the garage. I (a single male) occupying 1 regular bedroom with a small full bathroom. Right now we do everything in thirds (3 adults in the house) but I feel it’s unfair not to factor in his 2 kids, 4 animals, active business running inside the garage plus the other 2 rooms he occupies (office for his business and nursery for his kids) HOW do I factor these in. Please any info is appreciated.”

Ask Wellthi says:

Hello, dylnah_! It sounds like you’re in a bit of a pickle trying to divide rent fairly amongst your roommates. Remember, at Wellthi, we’re here to empower you to handle any financial curveball life throws at you.

Now, let’s untangle this rent conundrum together. Firstly, the idea of splitting rent by the number of adults makes sense on paper, but real-life situations can often be more complex. Let’s consider some factors that could potentially alter your split.

  • Space: It’s essential to consider who uses the most space in the house. In your case, your roommate, with his business and family, occupies the master bedroom, two other bedrooms, and the garage. You, on the other hand, only use one bedroom. One fair method of splitting the rent could be based on the amount of space each party uses.
  • Utilities: If utility costs are also shared, it’s worth factoring in who contributes more to these costs. A household running a business plus kids and pets will likely use more utilities than a single occupant.
  • Noise and Disturbance: If the business run from home or the presence of children and pets creates noise or other disturbances that affect your quality of life, this could also be a point of negotiation.

Now, how to approach this conversation? Tact and diplomacy are key. Remember, the goal is a solution that feels fair to everyone, not creating tension or animosity.

Begin by requesting a house meeting to discuss the rent division. Approach the topic honestly and openly, expressing your concerns and proposing a re-evaluation of the split based on the factors above. If you need a reference for a more precise way to split rent, The Splitwise Blog provides a detailed calculator that you can use as a starting point for your discussion.

Just keep in mind, everyone’s living situation is unique, and it may take some trial and error to find a system that feels equitable to all. Always maintain open lines of communication, and remember to approach the situation with understanding and patience.

We’re rooting for you, Wellthi friend! Take control of your financial health, one conversation at a time. And remember, we’re always here to lend an ear and a guiding hand. You got this!