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Questionnaire: How Much Should I Charge My Flatmate?

By: Emma Eilbeck BA (hons) - Updated: 21 Apr 2017 | comments*Discuss
Rent Housemate Renting Flatmate Bills

Rent can be a tricky subject to raise with a potential housemate, especially if they also friends with you.

You don’t want to overcharge as they could find a better deal elsewhere, but you also don’t want to be a soft touch and end up paying over the odds yourself.

There is no set rule as to how much you can charge your flatmate. What the rent should be depends on a number of factors, such as size, location and what is included in the rent. These few questions should help you determine what is acceptable when it comes to calculating your room mate’s rent.

1. What’s included In the rent?

  • A) I’m planning to divide the bills separately, so all that is included is the rent for the room
  • B) The rent will include all the bills, minus the telephone bill
  • C) The rent is inclusive of all bills

2. What size is the room/house they are renting?

  • A) The bedroom they are renting is a small single bedroom and smaller than my bedroom
  • B) The bedroom is the same size as mine and we share other facilities in the house
  • C) The bedroom is very large and has its own bathroom and kitchen area

3. How many other people live In the house/flat?

  • A) We share with around five others
  • B) There is me, my partner and my roommate
  • C) There are two of us

4. How much is you flatmate’s wage?

  • A) I don’t know
  • B) I predict they earn roughly the same as me
  • C) They earn a lot more than me

5. Where is the property located/ what is the value of property?

  • A) The property is not located centrally and is small
  • B) The property is in a desirable area, but valued under £150,000
  • C)The property is in a very desirable area and is worth over £250,000

Mostly A - Take Care Not To Overcharge

It sounds like the rent you charge should be at the lower end of the scale. As a general rule, you should not charge anyone more than 30% of their gross annual income. It can be hard though to ask a stranger how much they earn, so maybe as a starting point you should ask them how much they paid their last flat.

You should sit down and work out how much you can afford to live on and how much extra rent you will need from your flatmate. If bills are not included this will lower the rent and if they have a small room this should also lower what you charge, as it might be difficult to find someone to occupy the room.

Mostly B - Be reasonable

Your rent should be proportionate to what you are offering your flatmate in return. If you own the property and your flatmate is sharing roughly the same facilities as yourself, you should split your monthly mortgage payments in half and then deduct around 15-20% from their share.

If the rent also includes some bills it would be a good idea to estimate these from previous bills and split this between the two of you, or however many are sharing the property. If you are living with your partner you may also want to consider charging less than you normally would or dividing the rent by three, instead of by two.

Mostly C -Time to negotiate

It sounds like you are offering a good deal and you might be in a good position to negotiate with a potential roommate. This doesn’t mean that you have to start a bidding war among potential suitors but it does mean you could advertise the property for a bit more than is necessary to meet your mortgage costs. You don’t have anything to lose and if you fail to attract roommates, you could then lower it further.

Properties that are in desirable areas are always going to be in more demand than others and the more facilities and space you can offer your roommate the more enjoyable they will find living with you.

When it comes to haggling a price with a potential housemate it is important to be reasonable and not try to overcharge. On the other hand you must stand firm and if you have worked out a certain amount you need to be able to pay for bills and council tax etc, don’t sell yourself short.

It is a good idea to do your research and look at other houses or flats in the area and find out how much rent others are charging and base your decision on this. You have a better chance of finding a housemate if you are as reasonable as possible.

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This is a related question about financial ‘fairness’. For reasons I don’t need to explain here, my partner and I have separate finances but share all expenses, and want to do so as fairly as possible. First there is the question whether we should pay equally towards household expenses or should pay proportionally to our wealth, but in that case how do you combine income and assets under the general heading of ‘wealth’? The bigger complication, however, is that one of us owns a house and is paying off a mortgage on it. How do you work out what (if anything) the non-house-owner should contribute as a kind of rent, a) while the mortgage is being paid off, and b) after the mortgage has been paid off?
DLenz - 21-Apr-17 @ 2:14 PM
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