Author Topic: Roomates: Got them to save money, instead they are costing me? What to do?  (Read 7041 times)

Wolf_Stache

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So I had a friend who really wanted to move away from where she was at. My boyfriend and I are renting a big house from some retirees for cheap (they just don't want it to sit empty like it had been), and invited her and her girlfriend to move in with us. I'd lived with her before and never had a problem.

Anyway, long story short - our utility bills more than quadrupled!!! My electric bill alone is now more than they pay us in rent, and when you add in the water and the gas bills, they are actually costing us money!

We didn't sign any kind of formal documents, just a verbal agreement of a flat rate per month (since I didn't realize what would happen to the utilities)

Ideas:

1) Since I know what they are doing to run up the bill, my boyfriend and I sit down and tell them to stop doing x, y, and z.
 
The problem with that is that they don't have an incentive to stop since they aren't paying the bill

2) Renegotiate the rental agreement. Reduce the flat rate and make them split the utilities from now on. And tell them to stop doing x, y, and z to lower the bill

3) Tell them they have to move out. My boyfriend wants to do this option because they have been doing other things that are pissing us both off that I'm not going to get into here.

Any other options? Anyone else had this experience before?

The numbers:

House rent $1000
Roommates portion $400
Utilities:
Electricity: Before roommates ~$50    After roommates ~$250
Water: Before roommates ~$75     After roommates ~ $300
Gas: Before roommates ~$10    After roommates ~$50
« Last Edit: October 17, 2013, 11:53:32 PM by GamerGirl »

legacyoneup

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For roommates, utilities should always be split. Sit down with them and state that since the utility bills have gone through the roof, they will have to shell out x% ( half or more)........ or move out. Keep it short and sweet. No negotiation. Do it now!! Good Luck.

Frankies Girl

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I'd probably just sit them down and explain that the electric bill has grown to be even more than the amount they are paying for rent, and you need to ask them to kick in on the bill.

But if you're not happy with them living there due to other issues, it may be a good idea to talk to them about looking for a new place.

Would you be able to talk to your friend by herself just you and her and bring all of that up?

happy

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Firstly decide whether you want them to stay or not.

If you are trying to live more cheaply and want to keep them there, then you should keep the rent  the same and ask for a share of the utilities. I might be completely wrong, but if they are really going to town with the free utilities, then they may just move onto something else thats free when you ask for payment, such as food or other groceries or borrowing personal items. Some people have no respect for personal boundaries, and its hard to quarantine a household...and its a tiring way to live. If there is no recompense for the inconvenience of having them there, then its not worth it in my book.

If you want them out, then either tell them that upfront, or you could try raising the cost of rent and utilities to the extent that they choose to move out.

Wolf_Stache

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Good point Happy. I guess its not always about money, but I almost feel like they are taking advantage of me.

needmyfi

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You are assuming that there energy usage is completely based on the fact that they don,t pay the bills.  It maaay be the case, but may be only partially true. After28 years of being a landlord, i,ve seen it all-single moms keeping the doors open and the house at 65 all summer-when they were paying the bill.  I once got a call  from tenants complaining about an enormous water bill, and found TWO above ground pools in the back yard. 

If you split the bill, it will always bug you that they waste your money!  Show them the bills before and after.  Reduce the rent to $275 and let them pay ALL the utilities.  Don't change your usage habits and be as watchful of your usage  as you always were.  They can pay about the same if they are willing to conserve-if not they can pay for what they use' and you will save $400 a month.

Zamboni

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Do I follow correctly that each of your roommates is paying $200 per month in rent, while you and your boyfriend are each paying $300 per month in rent + utilities?  And you all live in the same house with the access to the same lovely common areas?

Guses

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^
I agree with the previous poster.

Not only should their rent/portion be 1/2 of what you pay (unless they only occupy a very small portion of the house), but they should also pay their fair share of the utilities that they use. In my opinion, this represents 100% of the additional utilities.

What other things did they do to piss you guys off? If you don't want them to stay, it would be better to say something now than after changing their rent.

hybrid

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They are costing you money and they are pissing you off in other ways and your boyfriend want them out?  Wish all problems were this easy to solve.

Show them the door.  The one they kept leaving open while they were taking their 30 minute showers.

StarryC

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What are they doing to run up the bills?  Would it seem unreasonable to an ordinary, non-mustachian?

For example, if you used to keep the heat at 55 during the day and 47 at night, and they "INSIST" on it being 65 during the day and 62 at night, I think you should split the bills equally.  If you used to only take showers together for 5 minutes max every other day, reuse the bucket of water for dishes, and then for flushing the toilet once a day and now they each take a 10 minute shower and flushing every time.  Yes, you'd be subsidizing them this way, but you'd probably enjoy wearing 2 layers instead of gloves, socks, a hat, and a coat in the house, and they aren't being unreasonable. 

I think, assuming you were being relatively reasonable if frugal before, you could expect water, electric, and gas to almost double (though whichever is heating the house wouldn't fully double.)   

How long have they been there?  2-4 months?  It sounds like you were "helping out" to let them stay with you.  I'd say to have a house meeting and say you were glad to help, but the additional household expenses have been more than you thought.  Now that they've had a chance to get settled, and save some money, you'd like to talk about "house rules" and rent going forward.  Rent should be split 4 ways, Utilities 4 ways, there should be an agreement about day and night temperatures, and the issues you see.  Also be open to hearing their complaints or concerns. Maybe discuss chores/ clean up, fridge and freezer space/food issues, yard work, or anything else.  If you can't all come to a fair agreement they can keep paying the current rent for November, and be out by December 1. 

hybrid

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Re: Roomates: Got them to save money, instead they are costing me? What to do?
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2013, 12:48:51 PM »
A $75 water bill (is this monthly or bimonthly?) seems pretty reasonable.  $300???  Long before I started a more MMM lifestyle and I had two kids in the house my water bill for four people taking daily showers, and not short ones, wasn't anywhere near that number.  Sure sounds like they are just really wasteful to me.


mgreczyn

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Re: Roomates: Got them to save money, instead they are costing me? What to do?
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2013, 01:05:45 PM »
Show them the before and after numbers and ask them what they think is the right way to resolve the issue.  Either 1) they will pony up or 2) you will know exactly how much value is placed on your friendship.

Bruised_Pepper

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Re: Roomates: Got them to save money, instead they are costing me? What to do?
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2013, 02:34:01 PM »
Is anyone else just really curious about what these people are doing to use so much water/electricity???  It's gotta be good! 

GuitarStv

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Re: Roomates: Got them to save money, instead they are costing me? What to do?
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2013, 02:39:52 PM »
Is anyone else just really curious about what these people are doing to use so much water/electricity???  It's gotta be good!

*fingers crossed for grow op in basement*


 . . . at least then they would have an income source to repay the ridiculous hydro bills!

Zamboni

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Re: Roomates: Got them to save money, instead they are costing me? What to do?
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2013, 09:10:39 PM »
^That would be ideal, but seems like the OP would know unless that found a secret trap door to the attic or something.

I'm thinking the water bill could be a very slowly but steadily leaking toilet.

In any case, add me to the yes votes for upping their rent and splitting utilities.  If you have other problems with them, then boot them because you can find more reasonable roommates who appreciate having a cheap place to stay.

impaire

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Re: Roomates: Got them to save money, instead they are costing me? What to do?
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2013, 10:27:39 PM »

*fingers crossed for grow op in basement*


I am going to put my money on a home-style sauna in the bathroom--I had co-dorm-ers who did that years ago, ran hot water for hours until they could take a steam-bath in their regular bathroom. Was also awesome to help peel off the residency's ugly wallpaper.

Question: do the retiree know of and agree to additional roommates? If not you have a good reason/excuse to kick your friends out.

If you decide to keep them, it's discussion time. Say you forgot/underestimated the utilities in your calculations. Show them the difference and get their input on how to solve it. Come prepared with a plan that's acceptable to you and your boyfriend, though...
« Last Edit: October 19, 2013, 09:01:40 AM by impaire »

Left

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Re: Roomates: Got them to save money, instead they are costing me? What to do?
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2013, 02:58:41 AM »
Is anyone else just really curious about what these people are doing to use so much water/electricity???  It's gotta be good!

*fingers crossed for grow op in basement*


 . . . at least then they would have an income source to repay the ridiculous hydro bills!
Same hope here...

But realistically, could they just be running the wash/dryer or dish washer daily? I mean if they don't have enough clothes for work for an entire week? And they clean their own dishes and just use the dish washer for that

edit: from sound of it, you said you knew what they did and they could choose to stop... hm... my bet's on them running a water slide + neon lights
« Last Edit: October 19, 2013, 03:01:16 AM by eyem »

vern

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Re: Roomates: Got them to save money, instead they are costing me? What to do?
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2013, 10:55:26 PM »