Having a roommate or two can help you handle the financial burdens of renting or owning your first home, because you don’t need to shoulder the total cost of your living expenses. But to share the bills and save on the cost of living for everyone, you and your roommates must first decide how you’re going to split those expenses. The most complicated expense to fairly split is utilities i.e. electricity and water.
When it comes to the consumption of utilities, it is important to be upfront with your roommates and incorporate this into your lease agreement. For example, does one prefer a large sized TV with surround sound whilst one relies solely on streaming services on their tablet? What if one roommate regularly increases your shared electrical bill by constantly running the air conditioner or electrical heater? Identifying if certain roommates will be using more electricity in advance will help you budget more efficiently. Some roommates may need to pay more for added services or increased usage, or you may all agree in advance on rules for keeping costs low. As you did with other expenses, discuss if you will use a shared account or which roommate will be responsible for paying the bills on time.
An option to help you mitigate any utility expense disputes are prepaid meters. Citiq Prepaid meters are aimed at helping members of a shared household manage their utility bills easily and efficiently. By installing prepaid sub meters, your roommates can purchase their own electricity upfront which means a reduced risk on your utility collections. There is also the possibility of installing a meter in each bedroom and fairly splitting the usage for communal areas although it is worth noting that bedrooms aren’t always the major culprits when it comes to electricity consumption.
How does this work for tenants?
As the landlord / owner of the property, you would determine the budget for utilities each month and how much each person will contribute. Everyone fairly contributing to the utilities in advance is very budgetable and can be monitored on a regular basis which means no surprises at the end of the month. Once you know how much electricity and water is being used by your roommates, you are can manage the budget correctly and more efficiently each month. This also allows you to budget in advance for winter months, when electricity consumption is higher.
The prepaid meter option is the most attractive because you can always visually monitor your consumption. Apart from the monthly reports highlighting usage, you can always check the meter on a daily basis and note any sudden spikes in usage.
For more information about Citiq Prepaid meters and how it’s the perfect solution for you, please visit https://www.citiqprepaid.co.za/landlords/