Author Topic: Help! How Much Rent to Pay? My Bf + I vs a Crying Frenchman  (Read 4977 times)

Adventure Chick

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Mustachian rant/dilemma. I will seriously do so many favors to whoever can help me with this situation! ;P

This is our sharehouse:

Master Bedroom: downstairs with a bathroom nearby - taken by bf and I (on lease)
Bedroom B: slightly smaller shares a bathroom with Bedroom C - taken by random French dude (on lease)
Bedroom C: slightly smaller than master. Same as B. - taken by friend (off lease)

A friend of ours asked us to take over their lease of $2200 per month for a three bedroom sharehouse. They were charging each upstairs bedroom (B&C) $800 per month to rent out leaving them with only $600 to pay per month for the master bedroom.
We signed the lease with one of their previous tenants who was paying $800/month at the time of taking over the lease. So on the lease is my boyfriend, myself, and this guy.

Since he is on the lease, we decided to split the rooms evenly ($740/month each room). He is French with very very poor English. I sent him a text stating "Here are my account details, you will pay $740 for this month and each month afterward..." as the rent comes out of my account. He transferred the money immediately and never said anything.

WELL that text was sent on July 2nd. On July 3rd is when I officially signed the lease.

Now (Over one week later) he is saying that it's unfair that we have the larger room, and that we should be paying $800 - $840/month and he should only have to pay ~$650 while keeping bedroom C around $740/month.

My boyfriend (27) is a PhD student and I'm (24) a social worker that is working with a company that's just had a major budget cut AND I have "hair on fire" student loans. I fear that I'll lose my job or experience a MASSIVE paycut come October and haven't had much luck finding a new one. I used to bartend on the side but it's winter where I am so no work left anymore there. We don't make much combined as my wage is unstable, his is low, and my freelancing side business has yet to take off. We live pretty much completely mustachian (literally no more corners to cut!). Somehow we've managed to save over 40% of our incomes but like to keep it this way and work hard at it for a reason! This could also change since yeah, I might lose my job soon.

SO THE QUESTION IS (I seriously love you guys so much if you've read this far!)

1. Do we offer to pay $780/month and he can pay $700? We have an 18 month lease so ~$720 loss (also I'm in Australia, we pay weekly so it's actually more than that). BUT we live in peace and without potential awkwardness. Our lives are filled with stress as it is that maybe this is worth shutting him up (if he even agrees to this).

2. Tell him "You knew since 2nd of July that these were going to be the rates and I hadn't signed the lease yet. There was time to talk about it but you chose not to say anything then." And live with discomfort of him feeling screwed over.

3. ??? We offer to switch rooms with him at his suggested price (last resort) ??? tell him he can go off of the lease ???

Other points in mind:
-Every single piece of furniture in the house excluding his bedroom is ours.
-Frenchie is a chef who brings home extra food on a near nightly basis to be nice.
-Did I mention my life is high stress at the moment ;)
-All factors combined, this is as cheap as we can live in this area where we have virtually no commutes and live in a nicely maintained place

Villanelle

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Re: Help! How Much Rent to Pay? My Bf + I vs a Crying Frenchman
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2015, 09:44:10 AM »
When I lived with roommates, larger room and non-shared bath always paid more.  Admittedly, he should have brought this up before hand, so I think you justification if you want to pay hardball. 

Can you meet somewhere in the middle so that you pay at least a small bit more than him?

fishnfool

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Re: Help! How Much Rent to Pay? My Bf + I vs a Crying Frenchman
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2015, 09:45:25 AM »
I was about to pick option #2 until I read he brings home extra food almost nightly. Now I'd say to cut him a little break if you can. Food goes a long ways, especially if he's a chef! ;)

Rezdent

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Re: Help! How Much Rent to Pay? My Bf + I vs a Crying Frenchman
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2015, 10:09:29 AM »
Ok, let me see if I understand.

The lease is signed, and the agreement was made, but now someone wants to back out.

My feeling is, if you buckle to this at the beginning of the relationship, you will be setting yourself up for a rocky ride.  This pattern could show up numerous times.

That said, a bit of compromise would be in everyone's best interest.

Are you guys only texting about the issue and not talking about it?

If so, you need to set up a time to thoroughly discuss the issue.  In person. If language is a barrier then suggest he bring a translator to the table.  Don't bring your finances in the discussion.  If he brings his finances into it, listen and be respectful, but this isn't about finances so it shouldn't be a consideration.
You don't have to make any changes or agreements during the meeting, just get a full understanding.  I wouldn't be confrontational at all.  Be sure to point out what you DO appreciate about the person.  Be sure to clarify that you WANT him to be as happy as you are with the arrangement.

How hard would it be to replace this renter?  This is relevant, because if replacing is difficult or impossible then you have more incentive to take a bad deal.  If replacing looks easy enough, it really might be best to offer him out.

Personally I would be inclined to hold him to the agreement, and (after the meeting) offer to reassess the lease in one year instead of 18 months.  This gives you time to assess how well the arrangement is going.  And by reassess, I would probably not lower the rent unless market shows rents have decreased in the neighborhood (not likely).

lhamo

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Re: Help! How Much Rent to Pay? My Bf + I vs a Crying Frenchman
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2015, 10:21:36 AM »
I would say this:

1)  We already reduced your portion of the rent from $800 to $740.  We think that is more than fair compared to your previous arrangement.

2)  You read the lease and signed it.  The appropriate time to discuss this would have been before signing the lease.

3)  The breakout stands as it is.  If you are not happy with it you can find someone to take over your room and move out.



Merrie

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Re: Help! How Much Rent to Pay? My Bf + I vs a Crying Frenchman
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2015, 11:29:47 AM »

My feeling is, if you buckle to this at the beginning of the relationship, you will be setting yourself up for a rocky ride.  This pattern could show up numerous times.

True. Or it might not. If you negotiate a bit of a price break (which if it's a smaller bedroom with shared bath vs. larger room with in-suite bath, I think would be fair), he may be perfectly grateful, continue bringing home extra food to be nice, and you never have any further problems. Or, you do have further problems, in which case you resolve them as they come up. Your friend used to share with this guy, right? Did s/he ever have any problems with him? If he's a generally good roommate I would be more inclined to let this one slide. And it does sound like the upstairs bedrooms got screwed over on the price before imo.

As for it taking him so long to speak up, I can see that both ways too, it taking a while to sink in what has happened, versus him mulling it over and deciding "I'll see if I can get more".

Whatever you do with the rent it seems fair to apply it equally to B and C if the rooms are equivalent.

Quote
If so, you need to set up a time to thoroughly discuss the issue.  In person. If language is a barrier then suggest he bring a translator to the table.  Don't bring your finances in the discussion.  If he brings his finances into it, listen and be respectful, but this isn't about finances so it shouldn't be a consideration.
You don't have to make any changes or agreements during the meeting, just get a full understanding.  I wouldn't be confrontational at all.  Be sure to point out what you DO appreciate about the person.  Be sure to clarify that you WANT him to be as happy as you are with the arrangement.

How hard would it be to replace this renter?  This is relevant, because if replacing is difficult or impossible then you have more incentive to take a bad deal.  If replacing looks easy enough, it really might be best to offer him out.

Personally I would be inclined to hold him to the agreement, and (after the meeting) offer to reassess the lease in one year instead of 18 months.  This gives you time to assess how well the arrangement is going.  And by reassess, I would probably not lower the rent unless market shows rents have decreased in the neighborhood (not likely).

I agree with all of this as well.

electriceagle

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Re: Help! How Much Rent to Pay? My Bf + I vs a Crying Frenchman
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2015, 01:54:23 PM »
Some jurisdictions have laws which require residential lease holders to charge themselves and sub-tenants according to square footage or some other formula. You should see if this applies where you live and adjust rents accordingly.

Ynari

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Re: Help! How Much Rent to Pay? My Bf + I vs a Crying Frenchman
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2015, 02:10:53 PM »
I think, in terms of fairness, you should lower his rent (assuming I understand your situation correctly). Your room has 2 people in it who share common spaces with everyone else (kitchen, etc).  I lived in a similar situation (3 rooms, my bf and I shared one of them [all the same size rooms], the others were single occupant) and while the rent split evenly would have been $700/mo, but they wanted $850/mo for bf+me and $625/mo for the single occupancies. This felt fair because, as we were 2 people, we used the kitchen, bathroom, and other shared spaces like 2 people.  Bf and I were still paying less than we would have at any other apartment.

https://www.splitwise.com/calculators/rent is a decent calculator for this sort of stuff, though you may or may not agree with their algorithm.

Though, I think the time to discuss this was before he signed the lease, so you are also perfectly in the right to just say that you can not change details now that the contract is signed.

lhamo

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Re: Help! How Much Rent to Pay? My Bf + I vs a Crying Frenchman
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2015, 02:51:17 PM »
Are people missing the fact that Crying Frenchman was actually paying MORE in the first year of his rental than on the new lease ($800 then vs. $740 now)?  And he's basically asking for the "new guys" (Adventure Chick and partner in room A and Adventure Chick's friend in room C) to give him an overall $150 discount compared to his previous rent?  If he wanted that then he should have taken over the lease entirely from Adventure Chick's friend and rented out the rooms at whatever he saw fit.

In my book somebody who asks for an arrangement like this AFTER signing the lease is not someone I'd be particularly keen on continuing to live with.  Before you sign an agreement, everything's negotiable.  But to accept a cut in your original rent and THEN complain that it is unfair?  Not cool in my book.

 

Merrie

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Re: Help! How Much Rent to Pay? My Bf + I vs a Crying Frenchman
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2015, 06:49:46 PM »
Are people missing the fact that Crying Frenchman was actually paying MORE in the first year of his rental than on the new lease ($800 then vs. $740 now)?  And he's basically asking for the "new guys" (Adventure Chick and partner in room A and Adventure Chick's friend in room C) to give him an overall $150 discount compared to his previous rent?  If he wanted that then he should have taken over the lease entirely from Adventure Chick's friend and rented out the rooms at whatever he saw fit.

In my book somebody who asks for an arrangement like this AFTER signing the lease is not someone I'd be particularly keen on continuing to live with.  Before you sign an agreement, everything's negotiable.  But to accept a cut in your original rent and THEN complain that it is unfair?  Not cool in my book.

I got that too, but I guess I'd be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt personally. Maybe he has been stewing about whether to bring it up or not for the last week and finally decided that it wouldn't hurt to ask. In a contract among housemates I can see asking for some leniency. Alternately maybe he really is a whiny pain and if the OP gives in he's going to make himself a nightmare for the rest of the lease. I like to at least entertain the possibility that people have good intentions.

southern granny

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Re: Help! How Much Rent to Pay? My Bf + I vs a Crying Frenchman
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2015, 07:34:56 PM »
Are people missing the fact that Crying Frenchman was actually paying MORE in the first year of his rental than on the new lease ($800 then vs. $740 now)?  And he's basically asking for the "new guys" (Adventure Chick and partner in room A and Adventure Chick's friend in room C) to give him an overall $150 discount compared to his previous rent?  If he wanted that then he should have taken over the lease entirely from Adventure Chick's friend and rented out the rooms at whatever he saw fit.

In my book somebody who asks for an arrangement like this AFTER signing the lease is not someone I'd be particularly keen on continuing to live with.  Before you sign an agreement, everything's negotiable.  But to accept a cut in your original rent and THEN complain is unfair?  Not cool in my book.
The text was sent the day before the lease was signed.  That didn't leave much time for discussion.  My vote would be that the master bedroom and private bath should pay more than the two who share a bath.  I know that  a private bath would mean a lot to me.


ender

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Re: Help! How Much Rent to Pay? My Bf + I vs a Crying Frenchman
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2015, 06:11:10 AM »
As someone who has been screwed in a lease arrangement in another country due to language issues, I'd be careful in assuming that this person fully understands things.

Leasing works differently in nearly all countries, too.

And frankly if you are splitting rent evenly 3 ways and you guys have a private bathroom that is a bit unfair. Though I don't know why he'd think that the person in bedrooms B/C should not pay the same. I suspect this is miscommunication.

Basically I expect you have a miscommunication here since he basically has very poor english (according to you).

Zamboni

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Re: Help! How Much Rent to Pay? My Bf + I vs a Crying Frenchman
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2015, 06:59:01 AM »
There are many different ways to do things. Think about what is fair to everyone and work from there. Was there a single person in the master bedroom before, or two people?  If there was only one person in the master bedroom before and now there are two people, then I can especially see how he might be annoyed.  Not sure why he thinks he should pay less than bedroom C, though, that reeks of unfairness.

For what it is worth:

I once was moving into a 3 bedroom apartment occupied already by three people. Rent was $1500 per month split evenly between the 3 occupants who were all on the lease, so $500 each. I and a friend were both moving in with our significant others in their bedrooms, which would be bringing the grand total of people living there up to 5. The two of us were off lease. My friend was moving in to share the largest bedroom which had an attached private bath (bedroom A). I was going to share the smallest bedroom (bedroom B?) which shared a bath with bedroom C, which had a single occupant.

My assumption before moving in (without really discussing it with anyone) was that we would be splitting the rent by 5, so my rent would be $300 per month, and I would pitch in for utilities.

But then the other person who was moving in at the same time approached me and said "since we are only sharing those bedrooms, the four of us should each only be paying $250 and the person in the single room should keep paying $500." Um, this just seemed really unfair to me.

This new person was about to join a bedroom that was twice the size of the other two rooms and also had a private full bath. Under the proposal of unequal rent, the existing person in Bedroom C was now having to share the common bathroom, kitchen, refrigerator, living room, television, washer/dryer, etc. with 4 people who would be paying half as much rent? Also, the person in the "single" bedroom also owned the washer/dryer, television/entertainment center, and dining furniture, which everyone used, while as new people we were both showing up with only our clothes. Finally, as far as I know the person in Bedroom C wasn't really asked if two more people could move in . . . it was just happening.

I made it really clear that I thought rent should be split evenly between all 5 of the tenants ($300 each), and that is what ended up happening. However, the other person who suggested the uneven split of rents did indeed turn out to be a royal pain in the ass.  Didn't want to pay for utilities, didn't ever buy common supplies like paper towels or toilet paper for the downstairs half bath, never bought laundry detergent or dryer sheets but instead just "borrowed" without asking from other people, made a mess in the kitchen routinely and didn't ever clean, etc. You get the idea. Just a bad roommate in general.

Eventually the occupant of bedroom C, who was generally quiet and mild mannered, just blew a gasket at the occupants of bedroom A. A couple of hours of ranting and raving at them, although thankfully I wasn't there for it. Bedroom A occupants moved out shortly thereafter and were replaced by a much more considerate person.

So just remember that there are always two sides to the story. Especially since you just dictated terms and didn't give him much time at all to decide, and because there is a language barrier, and because he sounds like a generally decent roommate, I think you should try to find a situation that everyone thinks is fair (including the occupant of the third bedroom.)

MMMaybe

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Re: Help! How Much Rent to Pay? My Bf + I vs a Crying Frenchman
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2015, 07:53:50 AM »
Sorry, you are being unfair but I don't totally agree with the Frenchman either. I am a share house veteran or at least used to be. It always went this way: Bigger room = more rent. Private bathroom = more rent. Couples= more rent. There are two of you taking up space after all.

I think rooms B and C should be paying the same lower rent and your room should be more expensive than what you pay now. Maybe $820, $690, $690.

I hope you are splitting the bills on a per person basis. I always used to hate it when the couples wanted to pay as if they were one person, not two.

Also, he is bringing home free food every night. That must be saving you a fortune.

Zamboni

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Re: Help! How Much Rent to Pay? My Bf + I vs a Crying Frenchman
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2015, 08:15:18 AM »
^+1

I am going to guess that the Frenchman just found out that he was basically being screwed on rent by his former roommate. Because they were screwing him. And if his English is bad now, realize that it was probably much worse when he signed up for the original agreement which screwed him, and so he didn't understand it at all at the time. So they took advantage of him.

And now you and your other half are continuing to take advantage of both of the other people. You are trying to say that you two people should live there for the price of one, which I might buy if you owned the place and were therefore paying for major maintenance or if you planned to cover all utilities yourself, but you are renters just like they are and so what you dictated smells bad. Just because you can do something doesn't mean it is right or fair.

Now that he has wised up and understands better what is happening, all four of you should agree on something that is fair and reasonable. Your financial worries are not relevant to a negotiation of what is fair rent for each person of a shared house. Take a step back and try to look at it from the perspective of the other two people living there.

K-ice

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Re: Help! How Much Rent to Pay? My Bf + I vs a Crying Frenchman
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2015, 08:32:19 AM »

I think it sounds like Frienchie was getting screwed before, why was A only paying 600 and subletting smaller rooms for 800? This is not a good relationship for roommates. Having your name on the lease does carry some responsibility but not a 400$ differential. I know people who think just because they brokered a deal they are entitled to a bigger piece but this was never transparent or clearly discussed. Maybe Frenchie was just so happy he found out his rent was dropping from 800-740 he didn't have time to digest the entire situation in 24h.

I would try to work out something fair going forward.

Here are two extremes; Per room is 740 each but per person is 550 each or 1100 for you two.

One way to make it fair  is to split the common space per person and then look at the room value.

~ half your time is spent in room and 1/2 in common space so:

2200/2 =1100

1100/4 common space = 275$ per person

1100/rooms. A400 B 350 C 350
(A sounds nicer & has a private bath room)
If you were just 3 people I'm sure A would pay more.

Total
2 ppl in A = 950 = 475/per person
B = 625
C = 625

Sorry my calculation is way harder on you than his 800-840 offer.
So you can probably find something in between.

800/700/700 would cover it
790/690/720 (if you all agree your names on lease add value)

I think his logic is off if B & C don't pay close to the same if they each have 1 person.

I'm not sure that solves your problem but looking strictly at shared space & rooms I think

950/625/625 is fair


What if B or C get a boyfriend/GF
Going back to my original logic here is how I would split it:
1100/5people = 220
1100/rooms. A400 B 350 C 350
840(420pp)/790(395pp)/570






expectopatronum

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Re: Help! How Much Rent to Pay? My Bf + I vs a Crying Frenchman
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2015, 10:30:30 AM »
I'm finding this thread really confusing, but I want to chime in on a few things.

First...I think there are lots of irrelevant details, namely this.
Quote
My boyfriend (27) is a PhD student and I'm (24) a social worker that is working with a company that's just had a major budget cut AND I have "hair on fire" student loans. I fear that I'll lose my job or experience a MASSIVE paycut come October and haven't had much luck finding a new one. I used to bartend on the side but it's winter where I am so no work left anymore there. We don't make much combined as my wage is unstable, his is low, and my freelancing side business has yet to take off. We live pretty much completely mustachian (literally no more corners to cut!). Somehow we've managed to save over 40% of our incomes but like to keep it this way and work hard at it for a reason! This could also change since yeah, I might lose my job soon.

Sorry, but how much rent you pay in a shared space is not determined by your income, the stability of your situation, your debts, or any of the above. These are factors that YOU alone must consider before entering into a lease agreement with others, and frankly as a roommate, I would not consider these things when I'm figuring out how to split rent. It is one thing to say, "sorry, but we can't afford to be paying $X per month in rent" and for your potential roommate to offer to cover the difference (instead of trying to find a new roomie), since this is mutually beneficial. It is another to try and rationalize your portion of rent based on how much you make/how stressed your finances are, rather than the space you occupy. Similarly, job loss wouldn't be justification for not paying rent.

That being said, the amount you pay should be determined by how big your private space is (bedroom, bathroom, garage spaces) and how many occupants there are. As others have said, it should be more for a couple than a single, living in the same space. You are adding one more person to the common space and contributing to utility/internet costs.

Finally, I don't think it's good justification to say "but you used to pay less, so we're saving you $60/mo". That was their agreement; this is yours.

Anyway, I think you should only go with option #2 under the following conditions:

- You were transparent about the total rent cost ($2200) with all occupants, who was living in what room, and what each person's share would be. From the description, it does sound like tacit agreement (he transferred money and didn't raise an issue with the rent portion until after the lease was signed), but if there is a severe language barrier, that may not be the case. Perhaps he thought it was $740 for the first month only? (That doesn't make much sense, but...) I encourage you to really look at this as objectively as possible. Did he know that you would both be living there? How are the bills and groceries being split, if at all? Did he understand that everyone would be paying $740? Was anything mis-represented or misunderstood?

I do find it weird/unfair that all three rooms are paying $740, when one's the master with a private bath and twice as many occupants...but if that's what they agreed to before the lease got signed...

Anyway - meeting halfway wouldn't be the worst thing. You can stick to your guns and ask him to cough up the $740, but I would err on the side of "let's have everybody feel that this is a fair agreement" and discuss it ONCE, then stick with that amount for the remainder of the lease.