Bill sharing tips for students in rental accommodation

By Majella Aneru | 14 March 2017


Settling into a new flat?

When moving into shared accommodation, it's not always clear who's responsible for handling the flat finances and exactly what that involves. Money and bills can be awkward topics to discuss, so it's best to get an understanding of who is responsible for what before you move in. It's also important to look at all the costs that go into maintaining a flat and work out ongoing monthly expenses. In this article we'll cover how to set up your flat finances efficiently and with transparency, so flatmates, landlords and utilities providers are all kept happy.

Firstly, let's look at the key costs to consider when setting up a new flat:

  • Bond
     
  • Rent in advance  
     
  • Letting fee  
     
  • Rent  
     
  • Living costs
     
  • Insurance  
     
  • Utilities  
     
  • Water  
     
  • Electricity & Gas  

See here for more information

So who needs to pay what? Different landlords will have different rules, which means that you need to discuss your tenancy agreement with your landlord before settling into your new flat. You must make sure you have a clear idea of what bills your rent covers. These costs and responsibilities should be outlined in your tenancy agreement according to the Residential Tenancies Act.

What is the landlord's responsibility?

An easy way to think about the financial responsibilities of a landlord is any costs that still need to be paid when tenants are not living in the flat. These include things such as property rates and house insurance. See here to find out more.

The water consumption element of the water bill is the responsibility of the tenant while the bill remains in the name of the landlord, the landlord has the obligation of paying it and passing on the charge to the tenant.

What is the tenant's responsibility?

As a tenant you are responsible for any bills that have resulted from you living in the flat, such as electricity, internet, contents insurance and of course rent. 

In terms of water and wastewater charges, it is the tenant's responsibility to make sure they pay the landlord based on a volumetric basis. Discuss how the water charge is to be covered with your landlord. 

Each tenant having individual tenancy agreements may be beneficial as it allows for less effort when tenants come and go. Having separate agreements creates less hassle for the remaining tenants and is an easy process for those moving out.

Paying the bills - tips to help you out:

There are many effective ways to ensure your finances are paid efficiently. Here are some simple tips on how to make sure bills are always paid on time and the responsibility is fairly shared.

Create a joint bank account (flat account)

Having one bank account that all flatmates contribute to makes payments of bills quick and efficient. It also makes managing the bills much easier. Most utility bills require just one regular payment to be made, therefore, creating this joint bank account eases stress and makes sure that all tenants know exactly who's paid their share, and when and where the money goes.

Set up guidelines for your flat

Establishing rules within your flat is an effective way to make sure all flatmates know what is expected of them. Having agreed guidelines helps tenants know where their personal responsibilities lie and also allows for them to prepare for any unexpected costs that may arise.

Splitting bills fairly

Whenever there is more than one tenant living in a rental property, splitting the bills fairly can prove tricky. Communication is key, so that everyone is happy with the bill split set up. It's also a good opportunity to discuss names on the bill, so that if someone does a runner, you're not stuck handling their debts.

See here for more information.

Keeping on top of your finances is not an easy feat. However, sharing the responsibility within your rental property will ease not only your bank accounts, but your peace of mind too. Use these tips to help you get started in making your finances easier to manage.

 

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