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Rent Calculator Split for Dummies: What to Consider Before Splitting Costs

Scott Gibson
Scott Gibson Published : September 21, 2021

A rent split calculator is an invaluable tool if multiple occupants live in a single rental unit. Splitting rent fairly among all roommates is crucial to avoid misunderstandings, arguments, and conflicts. But the challenge with knowing how to split rent is that there are many ways to divide apartment rent with roommates. For example, you could split rent by person, based on space, the number of bedrooms, or even split rent by income. 

Suppose you are a landlord with multi-tenant rental units. In that case, it’s best to encourage tenants to have a suitable method for splitting the rent. As standard practice, it’s always advisable to ensure that all occupants are named on the lease. This ensures that all cotenants are responsible for rent and property damage. But they still need a way to divide rent costs fairly among themselves. 

For example, one tenant may have a larger bedroom with an en-suite bathroom. However, another tenant could have sole use of a dedicated parking space. Even having a larger closet space could mean that one occupant should pay a larger share of the rent. Then there are questions about splitting utility costs and other bills. The list sorting out a fair share of rent is almost endless. 

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How can roommates work out a method of splitting rent so that everyone pays their fair share? And what about splitting the monthly cost of utilities? How can a rent split calculator make everyone’s life simpler when spitting rent? 

This article is a comprehensive guide to splitting rent between roommates. You will also learn the benefits of a rent split calculator if you have multiple occupants in one rental unit.

How to Split Rent Fairly: 5 Ways

Splitting rent is necessary when multiple tenants live in one apartment. The most challenging aspect is to decide how to split rent fairly. But before dividing the cost of rent by the number of occupants, it is vital to realize that there are several options for splitting the monthly rental price.

Here are five rent splitting methods that can work for multiple tenants living in one rental unit.

1. Split Rent by Rooms

The most straightforward way to split rent is by the number of rooms. All you need to do is calculate the total rent and divide it by the number of bedrooms. If bedrooms are relatively the same size with the same closet space, this arrangement can work for everybody.

Let’s say that the rental for a three-bedroom rental unit is $2,250 per calendar month. To work out the rent share, divide the total rent by rooms. This would mean that each tenant pays $750 for rent.

Unfortunately, this method of splitting rent has its disadvantages. For example, what happens if a couple lives in the apartment? It would mean that the single tenants pay a higher share or rent compared to the couple. However, a rent split calculator can take into account additional factors.

Who does this method work for? Single renters who spend a lot of time in common spaces.

2. Rent Split by Total Space

Calculating rent based on floor space is an excellent solution if bedrooms differ in size. For example, there may be a master bedroom with a double bed and an en-suite bathroom. However, the other rooms may be single rooms without any shared bathroom facilities.

A rent split calculator can help you work out a proportionate rent. First, you work out the square footage of all bedrooms and personal living spaces — walk-in closets and private bathrooms. Then measure the square footage of each individual living space. 

To get the proportional rent, divide the total square footage by the private space, then multiply by the total rent. 

Let’s take our example of a three-bedroom apartment with a combined rent of $2,250. One bedroom is 290 sq. ft., and two are 130 sq. ft. That means there is 550 square footage in total. How much rent would each tenant pay? Here’s the calculation:

  • Large bedroom: (290 ÷ 550) x $2,250 = $1,186
  • Each smaller bedroom: (130 ÷ 550) x $2,250 = $532

Who does this method work for? Tenants who don’t know each other well and apartments with varying-sized private spaces.

3. Splitting Rent by Monthly Income 

Some roommates may use a rent split calculator to divide rent based on what they can afford. Each tenant will work out an agreeable amount so that combined, they can come up with the total rent payment. Then, the tenants can add the total income of everyone and divide it by their personal income.

Who does this method work for? Good friends who live in the same apartment.

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4. Rent Splitting Based on Number of Tenants

Another method of rent splitting is to divide the rent evenly across all roommates. This solution can work well where the number of bedrooms doesn’t match the number of tenants. It is a fair solution if there are more or fewer tenants than bedrooms. 

For example, let’s say it’s a three-bedroom apartment with one couple and two single individuals. Each tenant would pay the same per month in rent. Or it could be that there are three rooms, and two individual tenants use the third room as a shared office space. Therefore, each tenant pays the same percentage of rent.

5. Split Rent Based on Individual Perks

Another tip for splitting rent would be to consider certain perks that each tenant enjoys. The tenants could then assign a value to each perk. This could also be something that the landlord could set out in the lease. For example, the perks could be the view, private parking space, sound isolation, walk-in closet, room layout, or balcony.

For example, a master bedroom may not be the best room if the view from a window is a brick wall. However, a smaller room with a city view and a balcony may be more appealing and worth more.

Splitting Rent With a Couple — Essential Factors to Consider

A couple who shares an apartment with a single person can make it tricky to split rent. In many cases, a combination of rent split calculations could be helpful so that everyone pays their fair share. For example, the couple pays proportionally more per bedroom than the single roommate. However, they use more of the shared facilities. 

Here’s a solution to splitting rent if a couple lives in the apartment. First, split the rental cost by the number of rooms. Then split the utility bills per person. So, in the case of a couple and a single renter living in an apartment, the couple and the single renter pay rent based on room size. However, the couple pays two-thirds of electricity, gas, and internet, and the single renter one-third.

A rent split calculator typically has options for calculating rent based on a couple sharing with individual renters. 

The Roommate Agreement for Rent Splitting

Before sharing a rental unit, it’s crucial to discuss several topics with potential roommates. Even if you are sharing with friends, a roommate agreement will help prevent minor irritations from erupting into major fights and disputes. Usually, the way rent is split between individual tenants is the most crucial decision to make.

Here are some more tips on what to include in a roommate agreement:

  • How to pay for utility bills.
  • Who cares for household chores and when?
  • Which tenant is responsible for informing the landlord of repairs?
  • Food sharing. 
  • Noise, parties, and overnight guests.
  • How do you plan to resolve disputes?
  • What happens with the security deposit if someone moves out or the landlord doesn’t return the total amount?

Everyone can also agree on an appropriate payment platform to make paying monthly rent more straightforward.

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Other Factors to Consider When Splitting Rent

Splitting rent is one thing, but splitting bills is more challenging. Then there is the question of how to divide household chores. 

Splitting household costs

It is rare when each tenant in a shared household uses an equal share of the utilities. For example, some roommates may like taking a long shower or prefer taking a bath. Or some tenants may work from home and use more energy throughout the day.

It’s usually impossible to get an accurate breakdown of individual energy usage. In most cases, roommates pay an equal share and agree to a “fair usage” policy. It is also a good idea to review the roommate agreement every so often to ensure everyone is sticking to it. 

Related reading: Should a landlord include utilities in rent?

How to split chores among roommates

All roommates must agree on who does the chores. Landlords can enforce a cleanliness clause in the rental agreement. This can include when to take the garbage out, clean up pet mess, and avoid any foul odors coming from the apartment.

Generally, it’s up to roommates to decide who does what. However, here are a few tips on how to split the household chores:

  • Make a list of all the chores to do. This should be based on a weekly, monthly, and seasonal basis.
  • Assign cleaning responsibilities to each roommate.
  • Have an option to rotate chores to make housework fairer for everyone. 
  • Stick to a policy of cleaning after yourself in common spaces, especially the kitchen and shared bathroom.
  • Decide who is responsible for collecting rent from each occupant.

Rent Split Calculator

A rent split calculator is an excellent way to divide the monthly rent charge fairly. Calculators for splitting rent can base results on bedroom size, income, number of occupants, the total cost of rent, and closet space. Some calculators also allow roommates to include the size of windows, view, and room layout. You can also calculate a fair rent if two people share one room.

Rent Calculator Split — In Conclusion

If you are a landlord with a multi-occupant apartment, always encourage tenants to decide on a method to split rent. You can encourage them to use a rent split calculator to work out the fairest rents for each individual renter. When they have agreed on the split, they should put the agreement in writing to avoid misunderstandings in the future. This way, you can protect your assets and help avoid disputes between roommates.

Topics: Landlord Tenant Law, RentDrop Calculators