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Roommates and Rent - How to Fairly Divide the Rent

One of the most potentially tense conversations that could occur among roommates is the topic of dividing rent. Most of us shy away from talking about money, especially with friends, but if not discussed honestly, it will cause resentment and tension between you and your roommates over time.

Know your budget as well as your roommate's rent boundaries

Before any discussion of rent can begin, each of you must openly lay out your rent constraints. What is the maximum and minimum amount of rent that each of you can afford?

During this step, it's important not to embarrass anyone, whether it's the roommate who can afford less or the roommate whose least concern is money.

How to divide the rent

The best way to divide the rent is to attach a value amount to each of the bedrooms. Whoever lives in the largest bedroom pays the higher rent. Conversely, whoever has the smallest bedroom, pays the least. Most apartments have one primo bedroom. It either has more closet space, better light or a better view--something that sets it apart from the others and should cost more than the others.

If you all have different budgets, then this will help determine who lives in which bedroom.

On the other hand, if you can all afford about the same, you must speak openly about your individual needs. Do you want a nicer bedroom or would you prefer paying less rent and using the extra cash elsewhere? As roommates, don't let the discussion become a competition for either winning the best bedroom or paying the least. Try to match bedrooms to lifestyles and preferences. This will make for more harmonious roommate relationships.