Splitting rent with your friends shouldn’t be stressful. If your rooms are different sizes or different levels of niceness, Splitwise’s rent calculator will give you a neutral and objective opinion on how to share the rent. It’s great for close friends or Craigslist strangers, because it gives you the “market” value for how the rent should be fairly split, without having to actually haggle on anything.
Things it handles really well:
- Unequal room sizes
- Some rooms are being shared by a couple
- Up to 8 bedrooms
- Some rooms have no windows, huge closets, bad sound isolation, private bathrooms, etc.
The calculator uses a simple method used in real estate evaluation – price per square foot.
- The bedroom costs are shared by the people sleeping there
- The common areas of the apartment are shared equally per person.
This is a pretty simple method which I think is fair and makes sense. This calculator makes it easy to do and easy to agree on! If you want to include bills, we recommend you also split these equally per person.
Let’s say a couple (call them Jon and Rebecca) are sharing a $1200/month 2-bedroom apartment with a single person (Kevin), and both bedrooms are of equal size. Let’s say that the size of the kitchen+living room+bathroom is roughly the same size as both bedrooms combined. Then it would be split as follows:
Cost of common areas: $600, split 3 ways is $200
Cost of bedrooms: $300 per room
Jon pays: $150 for 1/2 bedroom + $200 = $350
Rebecca pays: $150 for 1/2 bedroom + $200 = $350
Kevin pays: $300 for bedroom + $200 = $500
This is good for everyone! Kevin saves $100/month ($1200 per year!) by living with a couple instead of a single roommate, while Rebecca and Jon save money over living alone – single apartments are usually more expensive per square foot. It’s fair, because everyone pays for what they get, and saves money for anything they share. If Jon and Rebecca’s room is larger, then the calculator can take this into account as well and their rent will be more similar to Kevin’s.
The calculator makes adjustments based on the quality of the rooms as well – private bathrooms, having no windows, not having a door – stuff that really matters. The amount of the adjustments has been set by a questionnaire which what people would be willing to pay for various improvements. You can read those results here.
But this is too complicated!
“Just splitting it” can be complicated with people’s feelings. People who got a less nice room sometimes feel quietly upset or resentful, but they don’t want to negotiate. This atmosphere makes it harder on everyone. Keep everyone paying a fair share without negotiation – that’s simple!
If you’re still worried the calculator is too weird, try it for yourself and see how you like it! It only takes a few seconds and see the results for yourself – I think you’ll like it.