ROOMMATES NOT PAYING HOUSEHOLD BILLS
Having a roommate skip out on the household bills month after month can be even more stressful and frustrating than washing your car the day before it rains. It can also be an acceptable reason to either move out or ask your roommate to find a new place to live. Skipping out on household bill payments can leave you with a bad credit report and put you in a poor financial situation. Don’t get caught in this trap. If your roommate is not paying the household bills, then there is something you can do about it.
Splitting Household Bills
When it comes to household bills, such as the phone, the internet, the electricity and the water bills, there are several different payment methods. In some situations, your landlord will pay for some of these bills; in other situations, the tenant is responsible for paying the bills. If you are renting an apartment there is a good chance that electricity and water are included in the monthly rent check but if you are renting a full house, you are probably in charge of these bills plus more.
When you move in with a roommate you need to decide what name will go on each account. Some people prefer to put both names on all the accounts; others prefer to alternative; and others prefer to be in charge of all payments. If you are an account holder then your credit report will be impacted. If you pay the bills on time each month, then your credit rating will increase or remain the same; if you don’t, then your credit rating will be negatively impacted. When determining what name goes on each account, keep this in mind.
Dealing with Overdue Accounts
If your name is on the account and your roommate is not paying his share each month, then you could be in trouble. You will either need to pay the amount for him and continue to hound him about the money or you will not pay the bill and risk losing your power/internet/phone/etc and ruining your credit rating. Either way you are not in a good situation. Not only will you be financially stressed but you may also be angry with your roommate for putting you in this position in the first place.
If the bill in question is under his name and he is not paying the bill, then there is less stress of your part but you could risk losing your power or connectivity. Remind your roommate that the bill is due. If this continues to happen, ask him if he would prefer if you handle the payments each month. Or, you may ask him if he prefers to change payment methods so that the money comes out through a direct debit or is paid online. Both of these options are usually available through most providers and can make it easier to keep up with your bills.
If you are stuck with a roommates not paying bills month after month, then it might be time to split up. You may risk losing his friendship if this is the case and you may also have trouble getting the money he owes you. You can try contacting his parents to explain the situation or trying to reason with his friends. If your roommate is really strapped for cash then there may not be anything you can do but pull the plug on your living situation and ask him politely to find a new place to live. After all, if he cannot afford to pay for electricity, then there is a good chance that one day soon he won’t be able to avoid rent either.