Splitting bills with Lodger/housemate, can I have some advice?

delmonta
delmonta Posts: 487
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Hi, I'm here for some advice to settle something between me and my housemate. I own my house, 3 bedroom terraced house in Bristol. I live with a very old friend, and we have a very harmonious living situation for the most part. But he has raised something about energy bills, and neither of us know what's right or not!

So it's just the two of us here, I use the small box room for a studio/office. Often I go away for work and study, sometimes for a week, sometimes for a month, a few times a year. So he has the place to himself.

We came up with an agreement that if either of us are away for a week or more in a month, then the energy bills get split accordingly, e.g If I'm away for 2 weeks, I only pay half of the remaining two weeks cost. (council tax, internet etc. obviously still get split 50/50). 

All the lighting is LED, and as far as I know the only thing using electricity when we both aren't here is the fridge. Then gas is only used for heating or hot water, so we pay for what we use. 

He is now saying he thinks it's unfair, because I can decide to go away and suddenly he has to pay more of the bills, and has no choice in it. But my argument is that he only pays for what he uses, (and we turn off the heating in rooms that aren't in use). When I'm away I'm often paying for rent and bills elsewhere, and don't feel I should pay for his baths, and heating. 

I understand this is never going to be completely accurate or fair, and I'll often round down the time I'm away in his favour. His rent is very reasonable compared to most places, and we have a big place for just the two of us, where as often these houses have 3 or 4 people or more in them. So it's a good living situation, cheap rent and we are both happy. 

What do you think? Does this setup seem fair, if not why. If we both left the house for a month, would the gas bill be zero? And what about electricity, if it's just the fridge and everything else is off. 

Thanks if you made it this far, I realise this is very boring! But we can't solve it :)
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  • Peter999_2
    Peter999_2 Posts: 961
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    If it was me and he was a friend then I would just split the bills completely and not re-calculate stuff.    As you say you both seem to love living together and get on very well (I once lived with my best friend for 6 months and it was hell after the 1st month).     

    Does he take the mickey when you're not there?  or is he sensible with the heating/showers etc?     If he is careful with the usage then I would just split the bill.    The woman I lived with would have the heat on full blast when I wasn't there purely to make me have to pay more (we split the bills) she hated me that much.
  • JGB1955
    JGB1955 Posts: 3,438
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    No, the fuel bills wouldn't be zero - there's the daily standing charge (x2) to take into account.  We were away for the whole of November but our fuel bill was still close to £100. I think you're overthinking it and likely to come to blows over something that is, at the end of the day, quite trivial.  If he moves out you'll be paying all of it anyway.....
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  • delmonta
    delmonta Posts: 487
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    Thanks, 

    I was thinking for shorter periods it was a bit ridiculous, but if I'm away for a whole month or possibly even two weeks I think it's reasonable to split them a bit differently. 

    He doesn't take the mickey, but he does love baths!

    I guess my reasoning was more that he's already getting a good deal, when I've had the place valued and agents saying what I could be charging, as well as not filling the place up with people for both our sakes, even though I could do with the money. 

    So I think I'd feel a little resentful to go away for a month and pay for his bills. But I'mhappy for the input, as we were both confused!
  • delmonta
    delmonta Posts: 487
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    JGB1955 said:
    No, the fuel bills wouldn't be zero - there's the daily standing charge (x2) to take into account.  We were away for the whole of November but our fuel bill was still close to £100. I think you're overthinking it and likely to come to blows over something that is, at the end of the day, quite trivial.  If he moves out you'll be paying all of it anyway.....
    Ah ok, so how can I find out the daily standing charge? I've not seen this on the bills anywhere. 

    I mean in summer our gas bills are about £100 less, so it seems we use £100 of heating in the winter months

    It definitely won't come to blows, we get along well and just want to find something that neither of us will resent each other for! 
  • delmonta
    delmonta Posts: 487
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    edited 4 January at 6:17PM
    I've just looked on the bill details, and the standing charge for electricity is 58p per day, and for gas 15p a day. So that only makes up £20 or so of the bill. Are there other charges I'm missing, or would all the rest be used energy?
  • MeteredOut
    MeteredOut Posts: 1,124
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    edited 4 January at 6:23PM
    For energy, I'd say your current arrangement is fair, but should be adjusted for the standing charge (around 40-60p for elec, 30p for gas, depending on region). ie. you should share the cost of the SC even if you're not there.

    Do you have a smart meter or submit monthly readings? It should be quite easy (with either) to getting into the habit of reviewing usage once a month and settling things.

    Looking at it from his perspective (which I think is always a good way to approach these things), it can't be easy for him not knowing what his monthly costs will be, since it depends on your travels, which could be short notice?

  • debitcardmayhem
    debitcardmayhem Posts: 11,853
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    Not really relevant , but , why not get married bills will seem inconsequential. 

    Split the energy bills into 3 each pay a third, and pay say 50p/day each into to a community fund every day when you are there to cover the other third. At bill time buy a bottle of wine or something to share out of the surplus or split the difference if a shortfall. 

    When i go out for a drink and my friends are there nobody says who paid for the last round? well one does but friendship is good, you can’t pick your family though!
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  • sammyjammy
    sammyjammy Posts: 7,301
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    IMO regardless of where you both are the other has no control over that so bills should be split 50/50 not split differently based on absence.  
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  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,345
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    Maybe you could agree an average number of days you are away per year and pro rate the bills according to that?  So if your away for 1/4 of the year (based on the last 12 months) you would half of all the standing charges (because that gets billed no matter what) and then 3/7ths of the other use while he pays 4/7.  
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • born_again
    born_again Posts: 13,684
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    Do they pay rent & towards other bills?
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