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How to Split the Utility Bill with your Roommates

March 18, 2019

Renting with roommates often brings out some difficult conversations. After figuring out how much everyone will be paying for rent, the next financial conversation will likely be about utilities. Hopefully, you have a solid understanding of what your utility bill will look like. If not, this guide should help you estimate. When that first wave of bills hits, make sure you and your roommates are on the same page.

Have a discussion

If you already have your rent split figured out amongst you and your roommates, this conversation shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s common for roommates to split the total cost of the utility bill evenly. Some households will use a different framework and split the bills based on the income of each individual. Those making more will chip in a bit more towards the bills. Other households may split utilities based on room size, where the person with the largest room pays the most.

Determine who’s in charge

Having different people in charge for different bills can get messy. We recommend having one person should be in charge of making payments on every utility bill. This will make organizing the payments every month a lot easier, especially if you have multiple roommates. The person in charge of the bills should also be responsible for reminding everyone how much they owe.

Put it in writing

Once you have decided who will be paying what amount and how the utilities will be paid, make sure you put your agreement in writing. This can be as simple as an email, or as formal as a written and signed contract. Having an agreement in writing to reference in the future keeps everyone accountable and on the same page

Make it easier with apps

Renters nowadays have it easy. Use cash-transferring apps to make payments between roommates quick and painless. Venmo and Cash App are the popular ones, and both allow instant deposits. When bills are coming up, whoever is in charge simply requests the agreed upon amount from each roommate within the app. Request the money a few days before you have to pay the bill to give yourself to give time for your bank transfer to go through. We also recommended a number of budgeting apps for renters before, so be sure to check that out.

When it comes to splitting the utility bill with roommates, the hardest part if having that discussion in the first place. Once you have your guidelines and processes for paying set up, it’s smooth sailing.

By: Justin Chaplin
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