Housemates and bills

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k.lizzy
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#1
Report Thread starter 9 years ago
#1
I'm moving into a shared house with some friends in a couple of days. I'm the lead tenant so have been organising the broadband, water, bills etc.

One of the housemates is refusing to pay bills for the first two months as she will most likely be living at home and has no job. I tried to explain that the bills are too much for just whoever's living there (most likely 3 people) to pay and everyone I've spoken to agrees that we've signed a tenancy for a year, we pay for a year. She's just not listening.

I don't have a job either and can't really afford to live in the house over the summer myself but if I'm paying for it, I'm going to live in it. Again she's ignoring that I'm in the same position.

Also her parents are getting involved, saying I'm asking for too much money and that she shouldn't have to pay if she's not there.

I don't know what to do! She is my friend and she's not doing it out of spite, she just doesn't agree with me.

Please if anyone has any advice, it will be gladly accepted. I don't want to keep getting upset over this.
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rotterdamhibs
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#2
Report 9 years ago
#2
(Original post by k.lizzy)
I'm moving into a shared house with some friends in a couple of days. I'm the lead tenant so have been organising the broadband, water, bills etc.

One of the housemates is refusing to pay bills for the first two months as she will most likely be living at home and has no job. I tried to explain that the bills are too much for just whoever's living there (most likely 3 people) to pay and everyone I've spoken to agrees that we've signed a tenancy for a year, we pay for a year. She's just not listening.

I don't have a job either and can't really afford to live in the house over the summer myself but if I'm paying for it, I'm going to live in it. Again she's ignoring that I'm in the same position.

Also her parents are getting involved, saying I'm asking for too much money and that she shouldn't have to pay if she's not there.

I don't know what to do! She is my friend and she's not doing it out of spite, she just doesn't agree with me.

Please if anyone has any advice, it will be gladly accepted. I don't want to keep getting upset over this.
You shouldnt really expect her to pay for water,broadband etc when shes not living there, but she should pay her share of the rent as she has presumably signed a 12 month lease!
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k.lizzy
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#3
Report Thread starter 9 years ago
#3
(Original post by rotterdamhibs)
You shouldnt really expect her to pay for water,broadband etc when shes not living there, but she should pay her share of the rent as she has presumably signed a 12 month lease!
I was told the water rate was a standard charge, that it would apply even if no-one lived in the house. The same with gas and electricity, that there was a standard charge and then whatever but we pay a set amount per month. If we get to the end of the year and we've over paid we plan to divide it equally.

The main thing that people have said to me that's making me question it is - She's signed for a 12 month house and just because she's choosing to not live there, she shouldn't get out of bills. Someone explained it to me like 'You wouldn't stop paying your bills just because you went away on holiday, would you?'
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rotterdamhibs
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#4
Report 9 years ago
#4
(Original post by k.lizzy)
I was told the water rate was a standard charge, that it would apply even if no-one lived in the house. The same with gas and electricity, that there was a standard charge and then whatever but we pay a set amount per month. If we get to the end of the year and we've over paid we plan to divide it equally.

The main thing that people have said to me that's making me question it is - She's signed for a 12 month house and just because she's choosing to not live there, she shouldn't get out of bills. Someone explained it to me like 'You wouldn't stop paying your bills just because you went away on holiday, would you?'
Yeah you do have a valid point (obviously I didnt know what which type of energy contract you guys had etc) In all fairness she should pay her share for the whole 12 months just like everyone else! she shouldnt have accepted the lease if she cant afford it,she must have known her own situation over the summer and the terms of the contract.Hopefully it doesnt cause too much hassle between you and your friend but shes not much of friend if she is happy to let you carry the burden and if her parents are getting involved then they should pay her share until she can afford it herself!
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Alarae
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#5
Report 9 years ago
#5
I was in this situation but we discussed it amicably. Three of us stayed in the house over summer, two didn't.

Everyone paid for broadband, as it was a 12 month contract (would have to be paid regardless).
Everyone paid for water, as it is a yearly rate and not based on actual usage.

Here is where I side with your friend, and that is that they should not have to contribute to electricity/gas during the summer months if they are not there. You pay for what you use for those, so asking her to contribute to that is unfair.

Broadband/water she will have to contribute to.


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Bhumbauze
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#6
Report 9 years ago
#6
Bills get split equally between all housemates. Trust me, it is the ONLY way to operate a shared house, or the arguments will be endless.

"But you take long showers!"

"But you run a PC all day!"

"But you're up all night and sleep all day so you use more lights!" ...


It gets ridiculous. Unless there are "special circumstances" - e.g. in my house, there were three large rooms and a box room, and we agreed that the person in the box room wouldn't pay gas/electricity (the room was genuinely tiny) - you just have to divide the bills equally.

Also, as your gas and electricity will probably be a monthly direct debit, you actually pay for more than you're using in summer and less than you're using in winter so that it spreads out over a year. So, even though this person isn't there now, you would actually in part be paying for her "winter usage".

You could just do it stealthily though. Don't pay those bills for a few months and build up a deficit, then set up the direct debit once everyone is in. The DD rate will be to cover usage and a little extra to cover the deficit you built up over summer. She'll never know.

Other bills like broadband split between that many people are really insignificant, you're talking a matter of a few pounds, so I'd be tempted to just let that go.
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Bhumbauze
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#7
Report 9 years ago
#7
(Original post by Alarae)

Here is where I side with your friend, and that is that they should not have to contribute to electricity/gas during the summer months if they are not there. You pay for what you use for those, so asking her to contribute to that is unfair.


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If you have a monthly direct debit, this isn't true. You pay for a large chunk of your winter gas usage over summer (when you're hardly using any). You pay a flat rate, paying for more gas than you actually use, to build up an account credit which covers the increased winter energy usage to avoid a large bill landing at your door in Spring.
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TenOfThem
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#8
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#8
(Original post by k.lizzy)
I'm moving into a shared house with some friends in a couple of days. I'm the lead tenant so have been organising the broadband, water, bills etc.

One of the housemates is refusing to pay bills for the first two months as she will most likely be living at home and has no job. I tried to explain that the bills are too much for just whoever's living there (most likely 3 people) to pay and everyone I've spoken to agrees that we've signed a tenancy for a year, we pay for a year. She's just not listening.

I don't have a job either and can't really afford to live in the house over the summer myself but if I'm paying for it, I'm going to live in it. Again she's ignoring that I'm in the same position.

Also her parents are getting involved, saying I'm asking for too much money and that she shouldn't have to pay if she's not there.

I don't know what to do! She is my friend and she's not doing it out of spite, she just doesn't agree with me.

Please if anyone has any advice, it will be gladly accepted. I don't want to keep getting upset over this.
Rent, yes
Water Rates, yes
Anything else, no
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Bhumbauze
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#9
Report 9 years ago
#9
(Original post by TenOfThem)
Rent, yes
Water Rates, yes
Anything else, no

seriously, have any of you actually lived in a shared house before? You can't do anything but split it! you can't "pay for what you use" as theres no way to measure it. What if this person moves in in 2 months and runs a heater in her room? or is constantly using hair straighteners? or takes long showers? what if she always cooks from scratch when everyone else just eats cold stuff and takeaways? How do you "pay for what you use", if you have no idea who uses what?

And again, the flat rate direct debit issue? Or should they just get exact bills rather than use direct debits - meaning they ALL have to pay more because of no online / direct debit discount?

It's stupid. If you want to share a house, you suck these things up and split them equally. No quibbles, no bickering, no "but but but". If you DON'T want to live like that... then live alone or in halls where there are no bills.
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TenOfThem
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#10
Report 9 years ago
#10
(Original post by Bhumbauze)
seriously, have any of you actually lived in a shared house before? You can't do anything but split it! you can't "pay for what you use" as theres no way to measure it. What if this person moves in in 2 months and runs a heater in her room? or is constantly using hair straighteners? or takes long showers? what if she always cooks from scratch when everyone else just eats cold stuff and takeaways? How do you "pay for what you use", if you have no idea who uses what?

And again, the flat rate direct debit issue? Or should they just get exact bills rather than use direct debits - meaning they ALL have to pay more because of no online / direct debit discount?

It's stupid. If you want to share a house, you suck these things up and split them equally. No quibbles, no bickering, no "but but but". If you DON'T want to live like that... then live alone or in halls where there are no bills.
I am not suggesting a "pay for what you use" system

But I would not expect to pay bills for a house I am not living in
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Goody2Shoes-x
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#11
Report 9 years ago
#11
(Original post by Bhumbauze)
seriously, have any of you actually lived in a shared house before? You can't do anything but split it! you can't "pay for what you use" as theres no way to measure it. What if this person moves in in 2 months and runs a heater in her room? or is constantly using hair straighteners? or takes long showers? what if she always cooks from scratch when everyone else just eats cold stuff and takeaways? How do you "pay for what you use", if you have no idea who uses what?

And again, the flat rate direct debit issue? Or should they just get exact bills rather than use direct debits - meaning they ALL have to pay more because of no online / direct debit discount?

It's stupid. If you want to share a house, you suck these things up and split them equally. No quibbles, no bickering, no "but but but". If you DON'T want to live like that... then live alone or in halls where there are no bills.
This, a million times.

OP, you'll just have to calmly but firmly tell the housemate that she has signed up for a contract which requires her to make these payments, and there's nothing you can do about that.
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Death_of_Rats
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#12
Report 9 years ago
#12
Bills split equally really are the least painful way to do things. When I was sharing in 2nd year I ended up moving out 3/4 of the way through the tennancy to live with the girlfriend for the rest of the degree. I sort of reached an agreement wit the other 4 in the house that I would pay my rent obviously and help out with the utility bills to a lesser amount. In return I didn't have to pay towards the phone/Internet as I wasn't there and I let them use my tv and room for any mates staying over. Although I did leave my things there until end of tennancy when I could borrow a van to shift it out. Worked well and we are all still buddies. Oh and I let them have my massive stockpile of super noodles that I was saving for the zombie apocalypse.

I also acted as the 'waiting in for deliveries and the letting agents' kind of thing when the others were busy after I'd moved out.

Also sort of helped that I'd been the unofficial house handyman and built up a bit of karmic goodwill lol
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jelly1000
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#13
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#13
I'm on your side OP- all the bills need paying and will be of a similar ammount regardless of the number of people living there.
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Alarae
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#14
Report 9 years ago
#14
(Original post by Bhumbauze)
If you have a monthly direct debit, this isn't true. You pay for a large chunk of your winter gas usage over summer (when you're hardly using any). You pay a flat rate, paying for more gas than you actually use, to build up an account credit which covers the increased winter energy usage to avoid a large bill landing at your door in Spring.
If I'm honest, having a direct debit for a shared student house is quite impractical if not everyone lives there over summer, and is quite obviously absent for a few months.

Electricity and gas does not need to be a fixed flat rate, and paying by quarter would be fairer for everyone involved. For the sake of a tiny discount which would be negligible amongst the people in the house I would take the hit and pay by quarter.

I fully side with the OP and say water/broadband must be contributed to as they are genuinely flat rate, but elec/gas is not and for the sake of fairness should go for the pay on bill approach. As long as everyone pays a set amount for bills into an account each month bills will be covered easily regardless of the winter/summer usage, as a surplus will grow in that account on its own.

I've lived the past year in a shared house and its not as diabolical as you think to pay it on bill. There has always been more than enough money to cover it.


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Bhumbauze
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#15
Report 9 years ago
#15
(Original post by Alarae)
If I'm honest, having a direct debit for a shared student house is quite impractical if not everyone lives there over summer, and is quite obviously absent for a few months.

Electricity and gas does need to be a fixed flat rate, and paying by quarter would be fairer for everyone involved. For the sake of a tiny discount which would be negligible amongst the people in the house I would take the hit and pay by quarter.

I fully side with the OP and say water/broadband must be contributed to as they are genuinely flat rate, but elec/gas is not and for the sake of fairness should go for the pay on bill approach. As long as everyone pays a set amount for bills into an account each month bills will be covered easily regardless of the winter/summer usage, as a surplus will grow in that account on its own.

I've lived the past year in a shared house and its not as diabolical as you think to pay it on bill. There has always been more than enough money to cover it.


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I guess my main issue with it would be, it opens up a can of worms to even suggest people should be paying proportionately what they have used (or were there to use, or whatever). One person could EASILY use as much (or more) energy in 4 months as someone else would in 6. For example, I had one flatmate who had a desktop PC that was "always on" 24/7, a very large sound system, and a TV in his room on a lot as well. I had another housemate who literally had a laptop and a lamp. The guy with all of the "tech" spent a 4 month summer working in Turkey one year while the rest of us were (mostly) still around, coming and going over the holidays. He could have asked not to pay for the months he was away, but then what? Shouldn't the guy with hardly any energy usage in his room say "Well hold on, you use much more than me when you are here!". Because he would be right - in 8 months the other guy was definitely using more electricity than he was using in a full 12.

Using myself as another example - for 2 years in a shared house, my girlfriend was at another Uni 300 miles away. I tended to be away for at least a week out of every month, and other occasional weekends. Should I have been paying 1/4 less? But I probably had fairly high usage too - I run a PC probably 15 hours a day, had a PS3 and TV in my room, like to cook "properly" (oven on for up to 2 hours, etc.) and tend to take long showers. And of course, my girlfriend was sometimes staying for up to a week at a time, using energy. Another housemate had a girlfriend who was around cooking probably 4 nights a week, and stayed every thursday / friday / saturday, showering every morning... should THAT housemate have paid extra for his girlfriend's usage given that the 2 others didn't have girls staying often? But then - his course ran 9 - 5 every day, and he had a part time job, so wasn't in the house as much... whereas the aforementioned "loads of stuff in his room" guy was a bit of a skiver, and could be found in his room using valuable energy 90% of the time... so does that balance it out?


There's NO WAY to work it out. It's literally impossible. There's so much scope for disagreements and arguments and ifs and buts. It's a few short years of your life, living in a shared house is a fun and unique experience, why complicate it like that? The house contract is for 12 months, you sign the contract, you take on the house (bills and all) for 12 months, split evenly, between all occupants. Simple, no arguments, no keeping track, no wondering what other people are or aren't doing. It just works better, and everyone stays friends. Utterly baffled by people who are stingy enough to want to wriggle out of it "because they weren't there"... I mean come on... what is the bill going to be at most for a month? £100 at an ABSOLUTE push? Unlikely to be even close to that during summer months, more like £60... between lets say 4 people... £15? You're really going to quibble for the sake of £15? ...Really? All I can say is, I'm glad I didn't live with anyone who had that sort of mindset.
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Alarae
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#16
Report 9 years ago
#16
I'm not suggesting that end of the spectrum at all- that's ridiculous.

All I'm saying is for those who live in the house to pay for the bill during summer months, then as soon as everyone moves in to then share it equally amongst everyone.

People left lights on all the time in my house where I didn't and had the tumble drier going whereas I used a folding metal drier thing to air dry my clothes. Plus I was out every weekend too, round my boyfriends. They probably used more in the long run, but the difference would be negligible. The difference between paying for something when not actually living there is not.



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skatealexia
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#17
Report 8 years ago
#17
Agreed with the others- pay for water and internet, don't pay for gas/electric. Alternatively if the internet contract is per month I don't think they should have to pay for it if the person moving in earlier wanted to set it up earlier...
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tehFrance
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#18
Report 8 years ago
#18
(Original post by k.lizzy)
I'm moving into a shared house with some friends in a couple of days. I'm the lead tenant so have been organising the broadband, water, bills etc.

One of the housemates is refusing to pay bills for the first two months as she will most likely be living at home and has no job. I tried to explain that the bills are too much for just whoever's living there (most likely 3 people) to pay and everyone I've spoken to agrees that we've signed a tenancy for a year, we pay for a year. She's just not listening.
Aside from rent, why should she pay for electric, gas, internet and water that she isn't using? If you're able to split the bills up equally for these (which from reading the thread you're able to do), I don't see why you are forcing her to pay for usage that isn't hers. In my shared house we split everything equally and if someone wasn't there for a month we'd only divide by however many were in the house at the time (we were billed monthly for everything).

In all honesty I believe you're making a mountain out of a mole hill as you can't afford to pay your bills thus you're using this poor girl as a scapegoat. My advice is, if you can't afford it, don't agree to it and she gave you warning about not being in the house so now pay your share and stop getting her to cover you.
(Original post by k.lizzy)
Someone explained it to me like 'You wouldn't stop paying your bills just because you went away on holiday, would you?'
Actually yes I would stop paying as I wouldn't be paying for anything other than what I used before and after the holiday not during, that is a stupid analogy riddled with flaws.
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noone29
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#19
Report 8 years ago
#19
(Original post by tehFrance)
Aside from rent, why should she pay for electric, gas, internet and water that she isn't using? If you're able to split the bills up equally for these (which from reading the thread you're able to do), I don't see why you are forcing her to pay for usage that isn't hers. In my shared house we split everything equally and if someone wasn't there for a month we'd only divide by however many were in the house at the time (we were billed monthly for everything).

In all honesty I believe you're making a mountain out of a mole hill as you can't afford to pay your bills thus you're using this poor girl as a scapegoat. My advice is, if you can't afford it, don't agree to it and she gave you warning about not being in the house so now pay your share and stop getting her to cover you.

Actually yes I would stop paying as I wouldn't be paying for anything other than what I used before and after the holiday not during, that is a stupid analogy riddled with flaws.
Er have you read the entire thread? There are fixed costs which need to be paid and then there are variable costs. I agree that she shouldn't pay usage costs (variable costs) but fixed costs she she should have to pay.

If no one was in the house they'd still need to be paid. If no one paid them then the electricity/gas/water provider would simply cut the supply. Thus the tenant should still pay these costs regardless.
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TheTatsBros
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#20
Report 8 years ago
#20
Lol this thread is long, I haven't read it all but I think that's a really tough situation. Forgive me if you've already said but how much money would the bills be for 2 months? I know in my house this year we charged £35 a month, so I wouldn't have thought that would be too much extra for everyone to pay PROVIDED she was not in the house AT ALL, or very very little.

It's a little bit annoying because it's at the start of the year, I think it's a little more awkward and easier for her to ask to get out of the bill payments, if she did it in the middle of the year I'm not sure i'd let her.

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