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    Hello,

    I am a third year student who lives with 2 second year students. Stuff has been alright between us so far, until the heating and electricity bill came. This bill was 288 pounds, divided by the 3 of us for 3 months, which is 32 pounds per person per month, which seems pretty much fair seeing as it was in the middle of winter.

    Now, my room is at the bottom floor which is incredibly cold which makes me always uncomfortably cold. Normally, I would have the heating on when it gets to that point, not more than an hour normally. However, now this heating bill came I am being ganged up upon by my other housemates, who are also sisters, so there is no winning for me in this situation at all.

    At first, they wanted me to pay more for the bill, which I declined as it seems absurd. You rent a house altogether, you share bills and all that. Now they claim they do not use or need heating and that I am the only one needing this. However, if you always heat up an ice cold house, that costs the boiler more energy anyway. Talking about the boiler, it is very uneconomic and old, which is not my fault.

    Now they want me to pay 50p a time when I turn the heating on, other than when it is timed which is absurd. Heating is only about a pound a day and if you cannot manage your bills, don't get an expensive student house, which this one is. Also, my guests are not allowed to shower unless they pay, how ridiculous? My guests also are very uncomfortable sleeping in my room and need at least 3 blankets.

    I recently got a thermometer, when the heating is on it is between 15 and 18 degrees and during the day mostly between 15 and 12, and sometimes if it is very cold outside, even between 12 and 9 which is absolutely not healthy. My room is never a comfortable temperature and sometimes sleeping can be hard in these temperatures.

    Now I have showed calculations, and said that the bill is in fact not that ridiculous (I have asked several friends who are in a student house or own a house) and they pay a lot more so I do not see the issue. If it is a money problem, do not put this down on me.

    I have agreed to see a mediator with them about this issue, however, I do not have the time to deal with this.

    Any recommendations? As I am absolutely exhausted by this.
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    Perhaps you could look into options like electric blankets and draft excluders?
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    (Original post by claireestelle)
    Perhaps you could look into options like electric blankets and draft excluders?
    I've already got draft excluders and always have a hot water bottle. Electric blankets are expensive and the problems are also during the day when I try to do work at home.
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    (Original post by minnie1992)
    I've already got draft excluders and always have a hot water bottle. Electric blankets are expensive and the problems are also during the day when I try to do work at home.
    Electric blankets are cheaper than heating at night though. Have you discussed trying to find cheaper electric and gas tariffs with your housemates?
    Or perhaps suggesting that you swap rooms if they feel they can cope without heating?
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    (Original post by claireestelle)
    Electric blankets are cheaper than heating at night though. Have you discussed trying to find cheaper electric and gas tariffs with your housemates?
    Or perhaps suggesting that you swap rooms if they feel they can cope without heating?
    The heating is never on at night, we have also swapped to a cheaper company as well. I did think about swapping rooms but I would have to move the furniture of my room to the living room and move living room furniture downstairs. This will be a lot of work.
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    (Original post by minnie1992)
    The heating is never on at night, we have also swapped to a cheaper company as well. I did think about swapping rooms but I would have to move the furniture of my room to the living room and move living room furniture downstairs. This will be a lot of work.
    Could be a lot of work but could save money/arguements if they agree to it
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    (Original post by claireestelle)
    Could be a lot of work but could save money/arguements if they agree to it
    Could always propose it, but I wouldn't know how to move everything up and down... I do not have the heating on that much extra, perhaps 2/3 hours a week.. which is maybe 3 pounds a week
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    (Original post by minnie1992)
    Could always propose it, but I wouldn't know how to move everything up and down... I do not have the heating on that much extra, perhaps 2/3 hours a week.. which is maybe 3 pounds a week
    If I m honest, I d be annoyed with my fiancé if our gas bill was £12 extra a month but I m a cheapskate and trying to save every penny I can
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    It's a pretty common situation to be in, waaay better to get a contract with bills included if you can. I second that moving rooms would be a good idea if you can work it out, if you're freezing and they don't believe there is a problem then it makes sense to swap rooms. If you go to mediation with some suggestions of solutions it will also look better than just saying 'I'm right and you're wrong' and my suspicion is they will refuse to switch rooms.

    I'm a stingy heater as well so I can understand where they're coming from (if I can't see my breath I'm not turning on the heating) but I wouldn't argue with someone else about it, I think it's pretty reasonable to expect your house to be kept at at least 16-17 degrees minimum during the day and of course you can't work properly if it's 9 degrees in your bedroom.

    It doesn't sound to me like your heating use is excessive and honestly I wouldn't be surprised if they realise they like the heating if you stopped using it. It's pretty common for people to insist that 'they don't care about the heating' when they've never actually experienced a perpetually freezing house. So another option is to agree and not turn the heating on at all for a while and see how they feel then.

    At the end of the day the important factor here is whose name is on the bills. If it's one of them then you should continue to pay your fair share of everything... but if your name is on bills then if they refuse to pay your credit score would be affected so you should consider what you'll do in that situation.

    As far as the guests showering thing - if you have people staying over frequently then it is polite to contribute a bit extra to the bills. But only if they're there often, say 2-3 days a week on average.
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    They are being rather unreasonably imo - rooms on the ground floor are always colder than upstairs, simply because heat rises - so they are benefiting from the heat that escapes your room...

    Have they got thermometers in their rooms too? If you arrange to have a policy where everyone uses their thermostat/ thermometers to keep their own room at a particular temperature (say around 18-20 degrees, you must literally be freezing to death at the moment...) then you can split the bills evenly, and if you go upstairs today and confirm that their rooms are the same temperature/ warmer than yours, they can't exactly argue that you should pay a higher heating bill. If it turns out their rooms are at 10 degrees and they're just super good at dealing with the cold, then it would be fair for you to pay a bit more (but somehow I highly doubt this is the case lol...).

    I would say to them that you would be willing to switch rooms with either of them in order to resolve the problem - yes, it may be a bit of effort, but almost certainly worth it to avoid the arguments, plus then they'd realise what you meant about your room being cold.

    Regarding them making your guests pay for showers, that does seem rather ridiculous - but how often do you have guests? If they're over literally all the time then it's fair enough that they should chip in since they're basically another housemate, but if they're only round once or twice a fortnight then your housemates are really being a bit ridiculous.

    If they're just refusing to reason with you though, I would talk to someone perhaps on your student union/ student advice service/ student housing association who is able to help with this.
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    Honestly? Move out.

    Whatever resolution you get now it will be an uncomfortable atmosphere and as you have identified, sisters stick together. The room isnt going to get any warmer and it sounds like the house/facilities arent that great anyway. Sometimes its easier to just walk away and not fight in situations like this.
 
 
 
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