Friday, 20 January 2017

Sharing accommodation – Tips for splitting costs


Living anywhere will not be like living at home because when living at home, parents are mostly in charged of bills, although some of you may be helping to pay, it will be an amount that they would like you to help unlike living with people who are not in your family, everything has to be shared equally. Now that it’s already coming towards the end of summer for people who are planning to go to University, this blog post will guide you to what to think of before you live with other people.
I’m sure by now most of you have received your results and already looking forward to second year at University. Mid first year you must have put some money down on your house because you know who your close friends are and you want to live with them. As a person who is in University for two years now and lived in a shared accommodation, I am here to give you some advices on sharing accommodation and splitting the costs.
The common services that you will need are: Gas, water, electricity, tv license, internet, toilet paper, and miscellaneous items that you may need.
After you have already decided who you are living with and have put some money down, before you move in make sure you set some ground rules. The ground rules include house work, this is really important because you do not want the house to look dirty and you want to make sure that you leave the house in a better condition from when you found it. The money will otherwise be taken out of your deposit if you do not look after the house and items found being destroyed. More important than that, ground rules for bills, talk finance with your friends about what all of you are able to afford if you divide the payment equally. What would happen if someone doesn’t watch tv and some does, what happens with the bills if everyone is on a break and gone home (you will still have to pay), what if someone brought a partner to stay and how long until they had to cover extra costs, and many other possible things that you and your friends think you might face, is better to know how to solve the problem before the problem approaches because when the problem is by the door, you will know how to answer it.
Allocate a bill to each flatmate, when the bill comes, some bills may be more than the other but divide them equally among everyone. The person who is responsible for the bill has to make sure that they have enough money to cover all the bills before everyone pay. In my personal experience, if you would like to avoid this, my flatmates and I pay £50 extra each month above the rent so that the bill is being paid on time if the person paying the bill doesn’t have enough money to cover. Towards the end of the year, whatever that is leftover can be divided equally. Make sure to also put everyone’s name on the bill because by putting all names on the bill, they are less likely to make late payment as it will not only affect their credit score, but everyone’s.
Getting services sorted ASAP, services may take a while to set up, get in touch with your service provider as soon as possible because some services are 12 months contract which means there will be cancellation fees therefore the last thing you will want is to come to an end of the contract and still have few months left of your services.
Look at all of the inclusive options, some landlords are willing to include bills if you ask, it means that you will no longer need to rely on your flatmates to pay on time. Sometimes it can also work out cheaper and less stress!
Make note of meter readings regularly, keeping track of anything means that you won’t be making any mistakes as you will have the record of it. In this case, it means that you won’t be underpaying or overpaying. The last thing you will want is when the contract finishes and finds out that you’ve been underpaying and you’ll have to pay a bigger lump. Therefore, do the reading when you first move in on the first day and keep record of it throughout the year.
Set up direct debit, this saves the hassle of running around asking every housemate for the payment. Some payments may be the same amount every month so it is worth setting up a direct debit as some companies require that and if you refuse to do so, they will take some more pennies from you which is the last thing you will want.
Split big quarterly bills, big services providers for water and power usually provide bills every 3 months, do not wait until the bill arrive and pay once in a huge sum. If you want to know how much roughly you’ll be paying, it is best to ask service providers how much roughly old tenants were paying and you will probably be paying a very similar amount. After that, get everyone to pay an amount each month so that when the bills comes, you’re not left with a huge sum to pay (some people will struggle to pay huge amount). Some service providers offer Direct Debit and you can get that set up too so that it gets taken out of your account when it is due.
Start a ‘house kitty bank’, why start one? Because you will need dish washing liquid, you will need toilet paper, repair small things such as light bulbs, minor repairs, any cleaning products and any other miscellaneous items you may think of. £5 a month will save the hassle of having to ask money from everyone once something happens or when you need toilet paper.
Extra furniture, this may not be for everyone because some house may be fully furnished and some houses may not be furnished. Items like kettle, plates, cutleries, rice cooker, are the items that you and your flatmates need to purchase. It may be best to talk with everyone about it and see how you are going to organise this; it may be putting money together and get everything or one person get a few things, this is all up to your housemates.
* This post is brought to you by Lets Live Here letting agency.
Keep in touch xo ♡
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