How to divide rent among roommates

Sharing a home with roomates can be a positive experience; it is important to divide the rent between roomates fairly. Depending on the living situation, the division of rent can be made in different ways. You can divide by calculating an adjusted percentage of rent based on each person's income; divide the rent by the size of each room; or divide the rent equally.

If the rooms in the shared house or apartment are the same size and have the same appeal, splitting rent evenly may be the simplest solution. However, if one room has more appeal, such as a view, more windows, or a fireplace, the rent should be divided with the more appealing room costing more.

You might decide to pay rent based on square footage. For example, if the entire apartment is 3,000 square feet, one room is 500 square feet and another is 600 square feet, the roomate with 600-square-foot room pays slightly more. Divide the total square footage of the apartment by the dollar amount of total rent that is paid. This will give the dollar amount per square foot. Multiply this number by the square footagess of each room. The cost of the common rooms will be shared evenly.

Some roomates divide rent based on a percentage of income. For example, if one roomate were working at a higher paying job than another, the amount they pay in rent will reflect the percentage they earn in income. If roomate A has a 20% higher income than roomate B, roomate A pays 20% more rent. This type of arrangement is typically seen with roomates who have a romantic relationship.


Communication is very important in deciding how rent is divided. Each household situaiton is different, and a fair rent division depends greatly on the space shared, as well as the roomates themselves. Some roomates find that having a monthly meeting helps keep communication clear. Some roommates choose to sign a legal lease agreement; others write out an agreement separate from their lease.



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About the Author

Maria Estrella began writing professionally in 2000. She has been printed in "Hip Mama Magazine," and her underground-art interviews are published in magazines such as "Insomniac Magazine" and "Environmental Graffiti." Estrella holds a Bachelor of Arts in comparative history of ideas at the University of Washington.

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