General Question

BBSDTfamily's avatar

What Should I Charge My Roommate?

Asked by BBSDTfamily (6829points) April 6th, 2009

I rent a room and bathroom in my house to a guy for $400/month which includes all utilities. He’s leaving for 2 months this summer to go home and I don’t know what to charge for rent while he’s gone. He won’t be there, but all of his things will and I won’t have access to the room or bathroom while he’s gone. I don’t know what’s fair… if he were renting an apartment there’d be no room for negotiation. He thinks it should be free! What is fair guys?

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27 Answers

Nimis's avatar

Not your problem. It’s up to him to find a subleter.
If you’re feeling generous, you could give him a break on utilities.
But that’s a bonus and not to be expected/assumed.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Nimis so are you saying I should charge full rent minus what it costs me for his utilities? He is asking me what it will cost and I don’t know an answer! :(

Randy's avatar

If you don’t have access to your room or bathroom and no one is in it, it’s not fair to you. What do you feel is fair?

Nimis's avatar

Yes, you should most definitely charge him full rent.
If he doesn’t want to pay the rent, it’s up to him to find a subleter.

Giving him a break on utilities is entirely up to you.
Though personally, I think he sounds like a jackass. Free rent? [scoff]
I wouldn’t even bother trying to figure out what the difference is/was/should be.

qashqai's avatar

I have rented a studio in London, South Kensington. I pay 1000 GBP/mo.
I love my house owner, and she gets on very well with me. But even if I spend less than a couple of nights at “home” every month she wants her 1000 pounds every time. And that’s fair.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

I’m not sure… I can see both sides. He feels like he’s not going to be there and using my space as storage, so at most he says $80 or so which is what he’d pay for a storage unit elsewhere. I think he should pay full price because there were no special circumstances spoken of when he agreed to the price and moved in. But, I want to do whatever is FAIR. He’s a college student and I don’t want to rip him off, but I don’t want him ripping me off either. We are not “friends” outside of our rental situation if that matters.

Nimis's avatar

Tell him he is free to move his stuff into storage
for two months while you find a new tenant.

rosshill's avatar

He definitely pays full price. He signed up for a room and utilities, not storage space. If he wants to pay storage rates he should move his stuff to a storage place. If he wants to stick around he pays the normal rate.

That’s fair.

Randy's avatar

Agreed with @Nimis on that one. Just explain that it’s not fair for you to not make money off of the room for the two months he’s gone. I’m assuming extra income is the reason you rented out the room in the first place.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Not being there for two months is his choice, not yours. You are not his storage unit; you provide him a home. It would be kind if you gave him a break for the utilities, say $50 a month while he’s gone, but nothing more than that. He can either find a sub-letter for his space for the two months, subject to your approval, or move out.

mitten13's avatar

make him pay full.

augustlan's avatar

I agree with everyone above. Full rent minus a discount for utilities. That is fair.

Poser's avatar

I rented a room about a year ago, same sort of deal. He’s charging me six-hundred plus my half of the utilities for the top floor (bedroom and bath). I had to go away for three months, and I decided I’d rather stay there (I love the room/neighborhood/rent, and didn’t want to deal with moving all my stuff twice in three months). I never dreamed of asking for less than what we agreed upon when I moved in. He never dreamed of charging me half the utilities when I wasn’t even there using water or electricity. Seemed pretty cut and dried to us.

In short, I agree with everyone so far. Don’t be afraid to tell him that you need the money for the room, either from him or from a different tenant (and I’d seriously think about getting him and the next tenant to sign a lease agreement).

casheroo's avatar

He should pay his full rent, especially if he has a lease with you. You could be nice and not make him pay utilities, since he won’t be there.

dynamicduo's avatar

Full rent minus utilities.

If he thinks it should be free, tell him to get all of his stuff out of the house for the two months. It’s a simple fact that he is occupying the room via his possessions. If he wanted to save his rent money (or make a bit of profit, actually), he should have (with your permission and if your rental agreement permits) found someone to rent his furnished room for two months.

Him occupying the room via his possessions makes it impossible for you to rent the room for full price, thus it is only fair that he pays the full price despite not being there. It is not fair to you for him to suddenly up and leave and not uphold the agreement to pay his portion of rent.

Poser's avatar

Or you could let him leave his stuff there, and sell it for $800.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

400 bucks a month… when you own a house and go on vacation does the back hold off on your mortage? nope, either should he.

cwilbur's avatar

If I go on a wonderful European vacation for two weeks, I still need to pay rent on my apartment even though it’s just being used for storage. Why should he get a break?

If it’s a money issue, and you have a good relationship with him, you could suggest that he moves his stuff into storage in your basement for the two months and you can charge a much lower storage fee while you rent the room to someone else for two months. And it’s reasonable to charge him reduced fees on utilities either way – he’s not there to use heat or hot water or a/c or electricity.

gailcalled's avatar

And who is going to clean (or blow the dust around) in that room and bath? Anything that sits, unoccupied, for two months, will show some wear and tear.

SeventhSense's avatar

She probably won’t be able to rent it on such short notice
If he’s leaving for 2 months and has intention of coming back he owes you for the rent for two months and not minus utilities since they’re included. He’s not family he’s your tenant. If he doesn’t come back, you toss his stuff and relet the place. If he doesn’t pay you in advance and waits more than a week into the next month you keep his security and relet the place sooner. I would be careful since he sounds like he might be planning a move.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

I didn’t get a security deposit from him… my mistake. I think I’m going to knock off $50 for some utilities, although it may be a little unfair to me since he has some expensive HDTV cable package for the tv in his bedroom. Maybe I’ll cut that off while he’s gone. Worst case scenario is he moves out completely and I am pretty sure I can get a new roommate immediately. Thanks for all the great responses!!!!!!

cak's avatar

@BBSDTfamily – Whoa. He has the HDTV service, not you? He needs to be footing the bill for that, not you.

First, this is why a lease, for a room, an apartment, house…whatever, is always a good idea, for both parties! Knock the utilities off, for this summer. See if you can suspend the HD service, for 2 months. If it is going to cost you extra to do this, he needs to absorb the cost.

It might be good to discuss this with him, when he returns. I’m sure he’s not out to rip you off; however, he’s a student and isn’t looking at the big picture. The lease needs to cover the length of the contract, storage costs and spell out that HD services are his responsibility. If he wants them and you have to secure them, he must pay for them. Deposit might prove to be difficult, because you didn’t get one, up front. You could build it into the first 3 or 4 months.

He is a student, but he needs to be responsible. If he wants to return, he needs to pay for his space, but knock off for utilities.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

You guys are right! Thanks for all the great responses. I feel prepared to face him now and give him my answer- pay full rent minus $50 for utilities or get out. I won’t bother with a sub-letting situation… easier to just replace him with a less-troublesome roommate. THANKS AGAIN!

Nimis's avatar

A break on utilities shouldn’t be some automatic thing just because he’s gone.
The whole point is that with one less body, your bills will actually be less.

Unlike water and electricity, HDTV doesn’t charge you per usage.
He needs to cancel it beforehand or pay for it while he’s gone.

And, seriously? He has the HDTV service, not you?
Cak’s right. He should be footing the bill (even when he’s living there).

Since he’s a college student, I’m assuming you live in a college town (or nearby).
Finding a new tenant (even for two months) shouldn’t be much of an issue.
There will probably be new students there for summer session.

Ditch the chump.

CMaz's avatar

Ok, I have a mortgage. Going to go away for a couple of months. SO I do not have to pay anything since I am not going to be there?

Myette's avatar

I say he pays the full amount agreed on. His belongings are there.And his door is locked. He needs to grow up and find out what life is about

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