One of the biggest changes when moving into a shared house is deciding how to divide your various costs. It also happens to be one of the biggest causes of household disagreements…
Whether you’re a second-year student moving off-campus with a group of friends, a group of young professionals sharing a property, a city slicker who needs to house-share to keep his costs low or a couple who want to keep the financial burden of living together as fair as possible, how you split the bills is going to have a big impact on your relationship with your housemates.
We’ve broken down the three most common ways of sharing the household costs, to help you manage your existing or brand new house share.
Nominating a person for each bill
If you’ve ever shared before, there’s a chance that this is the method you used to pay utility, broadband and other bills. Arguably the default mode for house sharers, what usually happens in this case is that each bill is set up using a different person’s account, and the other housemates pay their share monthly or quarterly.
The different bills that need setting up are:
- Gas and electric
- TV License
- Council Tax (note: students are exempt from council tax)
The advantage of this is that everyone is shouldering their part of the burden every month or quarter, so people are more inclined to pay others back— after all, it’s only fair.
Sometimes the maths can get a bit complicated if two flatmates decide to get into the “if I subtract what you owe you for the gas bill and I’ll pay the rest for the water” debacle, and occasionally you get that one person who simply refuses to pay up after months of nagging. However, this is generally easily managed and when you’re living with people you trust, this method normally doesn’t come with too much stress.
On the surface, setting up a joint account for your household bills seems to make a lot of sense for house sharers. It ensures total transparency, is an effective way of making sure things are fully paid on time and is straightforward in terms of money management.
However, there are some serious financial risks that comes with being tied to your housemates, particularly if you don’t know each other that well.
When you open a joint account with someone, you remain connected with them for far longer than you may realise. After the account is closed, you’re financially linked to everyone named on the account for another six years and anything they do in that time can impact your credit score. That means that the hardships of someone you may never speak to again could affect your chances of getting a car, a mortgage and much more.
For this reason alone, getting a joint account for the purpose of splitting your bills as a house-sharer isn’t generally recommended.
Third-party bill splitting platforms
With the rise of technology has come a million and one different ways of doing pretty much anything, and that includes paying your bills. Bill splitting apps are becoming increasingly popular year on year with house-sharers, but they come in many different forms.
There are platforms like Glide, which combines all your utilities into a single amount, which is then split and charged equally between each tenant.
Just as you would shop around for the best value energy provider, it’s worth comparing and contrasting your options when it comes to bill-splitting apps, as many leading options are completely free to use.
acasa is a more than a bill splitting app—we’re a comprehensive platform for household management, helping sharers navigate shared living costs for new or existing house shares. With acasa, you can avoid unnecessary conflict around splitting utility bills with our direct billing and balance tracking systems. Get a free quote for your property and enjoy a stress-free approach to managing your shared house today.