Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

    • MSE Nick
    • By MSE Nick 10th Mar 17, 10:59 AM
    • 254Posts
    • 78Thanks
    MSE Nick
    Money Moral Dilemma: How should we split the bills in our house?
    • #1
    • 10th Mar 17, 10:59 AM
    Money Moral Dilemma: How should we split the bills in our house? 10th Mar 17 at 10:59 AM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    I bought a house with my sister and her husband - they own 50% between them and I own the other half. What's the fairest way to split the bills?

    Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

    If you havenít already, join the forum to reply!

    This Forum tip was included in's weekly email!
Page 2
    • Medway_Gal
    • By Medway_Gal 16th Mar 17, 9:49 AM
    • 10 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    Cheekyoldcow - just wondering but what does IKR stand for?
    Team Plum - I agree, can't see the point of being married if you're not prepared to share your income and your outgoings - maybe this a generational thing but as soon as we got married 43 years ago everything just became 'ours'.
    Originally posted by maddigunn

    My new hubby and I also have separate accounts, but for me it's because my ex-husband got us in to so much debt it took me years to clear 'my share' after we split, and I vowed never to let anyone do that to me again.

    My new hubby had to jump through several hoops to prove his worth before we finally got married, and now we have a pot of money for 'us', but also pots for 'him' and 'her', also this way I don't have to justify my spending frivolous amounts on 'yet more' cute adorable stuff for the cats, cos it's my money I'm spending, not 'ours'.
    • onlyroz
    • By onlyroz 16th Mar 17, 10:25 AM
    • 13,984 Posts
    • 26,753 Thanks
    Assuming that you all live in the house together then general bills should be split 3 ways. If you do something that will materially add to the value of the house (Extension? Conservatory? New kitchen? Total rewiring?) then arguably this should be split 50:50.
    • alggomas
    • By alggomas 16th Mar 17, 10:55 AM
    • 142 Posts
    • 49 Thanks
    Splitting bills between brother and sister and husband.
    I would have thought this would have been sorted out beforehand!
    You do not say who contributed what in the house purchase.
    If your sister is unemployed?
    Anyway I would assume the contribution would come from two accounts as it would be simpler. So they would be paying 66% approx and you 33%.
    I would assume you are paying 50% of the mortgage. So for running costs try splitting 3 ways.
    Although if you insist on a 3 way split for mortgage payments!!!8203;, the there may be legal problems.
    • crmism
    • By crmism 16th Mar 17, 12:27 PM
    • 103 Posts
    • 63 Thanks
    The division of ownership of the home you occupy with your sister and brother-in-law has no relevance to the division of recurring household expenses within it.

    There are three of you and, unless special circumstances merit, you all have use of the property equally and therefore all costs of running the place need to be split evenly so that you meet one-third of the bills and two-thirds are met by them. It would be entirely unfair if you were expected to pay half the costs, but one question features prominently in my mind - why didn't you sort out and agree how the running costs should be split long ago?

    The costs of maintenance would, though, be a different matter. If, for example, new cladding and gutters, or double-glazing were installed, or the kitchen needed modernisation, then such improvements affect the value of the property and ought to be split 50:50, ie you pay half.
    • Plus
    • By Plus 16th Mar 17, 11:19 PM
    • 356 Posts
    • 279 Thanks
    Imagine you were renting it unfurnished.
    Anything that would be a cost borne by the tenants should be split three ways.
    Anything that would be a cost borne by the landlord should be split two ways.

    To make this clear, find a standard tenancy agreement from somewhere which should set out landlord and tenant responsibilities. You could even sign it, and rent the house from yourselves.
    • Robins1968
    • By Robins1968 17th Mar 17, 4:17 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Stick to the question
    Quick point.... the question was about the bills in a house NOT anyone's opinion on whether separate bank accounts and marriage was right. That's a really personal matter for individual couples.
    Spilt insurance and house maintenance 50/50 as that reflects what you own but utilities three way. Make sure everything is crystal clear though as it saves heartache if anything goes wrong.
    • TeamPlum
    • By TeamPlum 17th Mar 17, 7:54 AM
    • 187 Posts
    • 447 Thanks
    Quick point.... the question was about the bills in a house NOT anyone's opinion on whether separate bank accounts and marriage was right. That's a really personal matter for individual couples.
    Spilt insurance and house maintenance 50/50 as that reflects what you own but utilities three way. Make sure everything is crystal clear though as it saves heartache if anything goes wrong.
    Originally posted by Robins1968
    And? It's a discussion point, please don't arrive on a thread and think you can tell others what they can and can't discuss
    • Lee_Howden
    • By Lee_Howden 17th Mar 17, 8:22 AM
    • 156 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    Maybe it is a generational thing but my wife and I have our own separate money but both put in a set amount each month to our joint account for food and bills. When we both want to spend our incomes on different things that cost different amounts, we just don't see it as fair to share all the money. I'm notoriously shrewd and she's quite frivolous so we'd only end up arguing anyway - and we wouldn't have any money at all to repair our boiler next week because she'd have spent it all on makeup, theatre tickets and presents for babies of people who she works with!
    Originally posted by Withakay
    This is more or less how we do it now. We both get our salaries paid into our own bank accounts and then pay a set amount into our joint account to cover bills etc. We leave a little in each others accounts to cover our own diesel use (easier for us to understand if they're separated off), mobiles and a bit of cash. I would say that I'm more careful with my money than the boss and have a little left each month. This then enables me to do bits and bobs that I want.

    Incidentally our split isn't 50:50. If it was, my wife would be overdrawn at the end of each month as we aren't on equal salaries. I would say that the moral thing to do is paying shares of bills in a marriage/partnerships should be in proportion to what each partner earns ie if one earns alot more than the other, then they should pay more. That way, it avoids anybody being short of money by the 3rd or 4th week of the month.
    Apparently I am the original tight fisted Yorkshire Man!!
    • ramjug
    • By ramjug 17th Mar 17, 11:55 AM
    • 111 Posts
    • 31 Thanks
    Personally find it easier to not bother splitting bills when you're married.

    I'll share my life with you, but not my money.
    Originally posted by TeamPlum
    Never understood the point of married people keeping tap on my money/ your money
    • grbt
    • By grbt 17th Mar 17, 1:56 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    In our house there is my wife and sister in-law and myself we all earn approximately the same so we opened a bill paying account and each pay 1/3 of our monthly wages into it then all bills (utility's ,and shopping ,mortgage ,council tax )come out of it ,that way nobody can argue as to who pays for what as every body is using everything so everyone pays ...
    • Tigsteroonie
    • By Tigsteroonie 18th Mar 17, 9:38 PM
    • 22,717 Posts
    • 57,009 Thanks
    An interesting dilemma for once!

    I think each bill has to be considered separately, discussed, and a consensus reached on whether to divide 34:66 or 50:50.

    If water is unmetered, it should be 50:50 but if metered then 34:66

    Electricity would probably be 34:66 due to increased shower usage, washing machine usage etc.

    Gas (cooking, heating) probably 50:50 as I don't think you change the heating times depending on number of people in house.

    Broadband 50:50.

    Mortgage and insurances 50:50 if that was the basis on which you bought the house.
    Mrs Marleyboy

    MSE: many of the benefits of a helpful family, without disadvantages like having to compete for the tv remote

    Proud Parents to an Au-some son
    • katecheshire
    • By katecheshire 19th Mar 17, 12:12 PM
    • 227 Posts
    • 153 Thanks
    A lot depends on whether they are living in the house or own it and rent it out. If they live there, should be 3 ways on utilities - how the married couple split that is up to them - but 50:50 on repairs & maintenance. But if they rent it, it's presumably a business and should be a separate account Repairs and maintenance would be paid out of that account. Presumably there are some tax allowances and liabilities to consider. Any income taken from the account would be 50:50.
    • Rolisa
    • By Rolisa 20th Mar 17, 10:41 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    I agree with Martin Wickham's split of 25:25: 50 for property related costs and for the utility bills 33:33:33 with the couple picking up the extra 1% to make this 100%.
    • Ebenezer_Screwj
    • By Ebenezer_Screwj 20th May 17, 8:53 AM
    • 409 Posts
    • 226 Thanks
    Your sister and her husband are jointl owners of one half you are the sole owner of the other half. The bills should therefore be split 50-50 - half from you, half from the couple.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

924Posts Today

7,118Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • It's the start of mini MSE's half term. In order to be the best daddy possible, Im stopping work and going off line?

  • RT @shellsince1982: @MartinSLewis thanx to your email I have just saved myself £222 by taking a SIM only deal for £7.50 a month and keeping?

  • Today's Friday twitter poll: An important question, building on yesterday's important discussions: Which is the best bit of the pizza...

  • Follow Martin