General Question

ROSA's avatar

Am I splitting my rent unfairly?

Asked by ROSA (1points) March 6th, 2009

I live with 2 other roommates. I am the lease-holder and have been in my apartment for 5 years. Both other roommates have been here for less than 2. I pay the original amount of rent I have always paid, which is much less than they do (as I have been here for a few rent increases). They agreed to the amount of their monthly rent when they moved in and it won’t change while they are still living with me. We live in a very expensive city and their rate is well within current rental rates. One roommate recently found out that I pay less and is very, very angry. Can I get some feedback on the right thing to do? Am I being unreasonable?

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14 Answers

casheroo's avatar

So, it’s not split equally? Do you have a smaller bedroom than them, are you there less? Do you collect more from them than what is needed for rent?
I think if I had roommates, I’d expect the rent to be split between all of us fairly. And I’d be upset if I learned it wasn’t.

tinyfaery's avatar

What is your reasoning for paying less?

EmpressPixie's avatar

You are being incredibly unreasonable. If I had roommates I would expect that we split rent evenly unless someone could not afford to do so. In which case, we would as a group sit down and decide if we wanted someone who couldn’t pull their weight as a roommate.

My boyfriend and his roommates split rent evenly. He is the original lease holder and in your exact position. But he has split the rent evenly with his roommates.

I am actually stunned that someone would think this was okay without full disclosing it to their roommates. Of course s/he is angry.

scamp's avatar

I can understand them being upset about it not being divided equally, but it’s your apartment, and you have the right to charge whatever you like. Legally, you don’t have to make it equal shares. Morally, well that’s another story altogether.

kevbo's avatar

This happened to me once with a former friend of mine who figured out that if he charged everyone a little bit extra he could live for free. The difference was that he told me one price before I moved in and then a second price after. He characterized the discrepancy as a mistake, and I didn’t have the original e-mail to prove him otherwise. So, I let it go originally (the rent was still very cheap), and then later got pissed when I found out what he was doing. He was deceptive about it from the beginning, which was his main crime.

In your case, it probably would have been best to either be up front in the beginning about the arrangement or make iron-clad sure that neither of your roommates found out about your “benefit.” You really need to pick one of these paths from now on and stick to it above all else.

Regardless, this person is under the mistaken impression that he or she is entitled to fairness and equity, when in reality he or she is entitled to have you honor the terms that the two of you agreed to and nothing more. In other words, that person agreed to pay a price for their “space” and nothing about that agreement has changed except the context. If this person wanted a different price or different terms, they could have negotiated that with you in the beginning. And, I am sure you are happy to negotiate changes at the end of the sub-let’s term.

If you’re not going to re-negotiate, then I would explain these things to your roommate and advise them to judge whether their individual terms and situation are reasonable. Put some of the responsibility on them for not negotiating up front or asking questions and do it kindly.

If you were in any way deceptive about this (for example, if you represented yourself as paying the same amount), then frankly you deserve some wrath and should probably reverse course ASAP.

dragonflyfaith's avatar

Unless the other bedrooms are larger or have a private bath, then yes you are being unfair. The increase in rent over the years is your responsiblity. It is your landlord’s job to decide who pays what. For all they know you could be collecting more money than the rent actually is. Does your landlord know they are living there? Most places will raise the rent for additional people residing in the one apartment.

If you’re not careful, instead of paying less than 1/3 of your rent, you’ll be paying all of it and living alone.

aprilsimnel's avatar

If you didn’t tell them that this was going to be the situation before they moved in, then, yes, I see where that roommate might be upset. They should’ve known what your circumstances were when they were considering your space and had a chance to decide for themselves if it was all right with them to pay what you were asking. From your description, she probably feels as though she was lied to by omission.

What can you do? I think that you might sit down and hammer out a more equitable arrangement, or at least find out what would be agreeable.

BonusQuestion's avatar

I am with kevbo. The key is the word “deceptive”. You should see if you have been deceptive or not. I would say even saying something like “we would share the rent” may be deceptive even if you haven’t explicitly said “we would share the rent evenly” and he may have thought you mean you should split the price evenly.

funkdaddy's avatar

You mention their rent won’t increase while they live there. Does that mean if the landlord does up the rent during the time they’re living there you will absorb the difference?

I don’t know about your roommates, but that would make a difference to me. If my rent is locked in for as long as I stay, then I’ll know what I’m paying, when the lease comes up I don’t have to worry about an increase. You’re essentially just subleasing to me.

It’s also important whether these people are friends, or just people you live with. You’re essentially profiting off of them and running the apartment as though you were the landlord. If they’re getting a sweeter deal on the place because you’ve been there so long, explain that, and you could be justified in counting a portion of that difference towards your own contribution.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I don’t think you’re unreasonable at all. I would assume that as the leaseholder, and “permanent resident” of the apartment, you’re the one with most of the furniture, dishes, etc. Your roommates get to use your stuff, and you incur the wear and tear. That has value; you’re saving your roommates from buying stuff, plus you’re the one with the damage deposit invested.

SeventhSense's avatar

If you sublet it to them it’s just a contract and they agreed to the terms but I guess it depends on the friendship and division of other expenses.

casheroo's avatar

Hm, I take it they’re not on the lease..because, when I sign a lease, I read it thoroughly and I would know the amount of rent that was due for the apartment. I guess they could move out and leave you to pay their share. That would suck for you.

alive's avatar

“They agreed to the amount of their monthly rent when they moved in and it won’t change while they are still living with me”... if it was agreed it was agreed. whoever agreed obviously thought is was worth it. they could have kept looking for an apt. they didn’t have to move into yours. they could have asked how much you pay.

the only issue i would worry about is the “friendship level.” things could get awkward now, maybe even hateful and resentful. so if you were friends i hope you can work it out, if you’re not really friends with them then meh

Lauren1's avatar

I have a similar situation at the moment… that i swhy i was looking at this thread. I moved into a place last year and pay $170 per week,$160 being rent and $10 electricity. Recently a couple moved in, paying $205 a week… $190 being rent and $15 being electricity. After finding out that the total rent for this place is $430/week we are a little disgruntled about the fact that the guy who has the lease pays $75 a week! With the moeny we give him for electricity it would more than cover the bill as we also have solar heated water! I dont think this is very fair at all. Yes all the stuff in the house is his, that is fine he could pay a little less however he does have the main bedroom with the ensuit and had another room which he uses as a massage room, so we have strangers in the house also sometimes. He also never gets the landlord to fix things when they need doing and then as a consequence when we mentioned it he told her all of the problems at once and as a result the rent will increase to $450/week. We do not want to contribute to this amount at all. I dont think we are being unreasonable with our annoyance at this… what do you think?

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