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Living With My Lazy Cousin - What Price Is Right?

Dear Sugar
I am curious; how do people split the rent in a fair way when they rent out a room? I have a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment that I am renting out to my cousin. Myself, my husband and my child stay in one room, and my cousin stays in the other.

We each use our own bathrooms and he has free roam of the house and everything in it. He never pitches in to clean up household messes or take out the trash and he never offers to buy communal items for the house such as: cleaning supplies, or trash bags. He constantly uses my laundry soap and things of the like.

Recently, he has asked me to stop writing bills out for him and he just wants to know what his portion of utilities and rent are so that he can write his own checks. When we moved in together, we agreed that he would put down one third of the security deposit and pay one third of utilities. We never formalized what his portion of the rent would be.

Ever since, he's been paying one third of the rent. I don't mind one third of utilities but isn't it kind of unfair that he is taking up half my house and only paying for one third of it? He doesn't clean up after himself and I am starting to feel like I am supporting him. His contribution certainly makes life easier for my husband and baby and I, but am I being taken advantage of? How do other people spilt it up? What is the proper way to handle this? I feel lost. Landlord Lana

To see DEARUSGAR's answer

Dear Landlord Lana
Your cousin is definitely getting the better deal on the apartment since he's only paying one third, but he's also just one person and you guys are three people living in the same space.

Maybe you feel that you guys are getting the short end of the stick because you are the one paying more, but at the same time he's living in a house under the same roof as a couple and a child. He really is the "third wheel" and I am sure this isn't the ideal living situation for him.

That is why splitting things 50/50 isn't fair to him either. But as far as any expenses to the house that are communal, you should just tack them onto his utilities bill. Chances are that if you tried to rent out his room to a stranger, you wouldn't have too many takers who would be wiling to pay half of the rent and utilities etc..when they are one person living with a family of three.

It seems pretty clear that you made an agreement when he moved in, that he would be paying one third of the rent and utilities. It's not wrong for him to assume that this was his end of the bargain.

But if you feel that is unfair now that you have lived with him for a while and have noticed that he never pitches in for any of the housework or pays for any extra household items, then it's easy enough to sit him down and have a talk with him and let him know that he also owes you one third of household item expenses in addition to utilities. Also, he should absolutely be responsible for picking up after himself. That problem can be solved by creating a household chores chart.

The correct answer is that he should really be paying somewhere between one third and one half of everything (so about two fifths?) - but is it really worth trying to change the rules in the middle of the game for a marginal increase?

Join The Conversation
cubadog cubadog 10 years
I agree with almost everything except that stupid job chart. God, did you read craigs list before your response. You are all adults grow up and tell him he needs to chip in with the household chores if it bothers you so much. This is all stuff you should have sat down and discussed prior to his moving in! My last roommate told me that she would do all the cleaning it was her place and that may be the case with him. I am not trying to make excuses for him but come on a lot of this could have been solved prior to him moving in.
t0xxic t0xxic 10 years
lol Herbie. I left the dishes out once bc I cooked for me hubby baby and him and his g/f just let them sit to see if someone would offer to help... nope. Next day they were still there. I started doing them and they came out and just watched... :JAWDROP:
Daisy6264 Daisy6264 10 years
Good answer Dearsugar.
herbiefrog herbiefrog 10 years
hello i see that the dog gets watered every day but that... no-one does the dishes on a tuesday or a sunday ...does that mean the dishes just sit there dirty? ...for the whole day and night? ...until the next day? just asking :)
t0xxic t0xxic 10 years
Hmm sounds familar! lol Cept its my brother in law and the only reason he is even living with us is because well his parents made him move out @ 25, hes now 26 and brings his troll looking girlfriend over and they smoke in the room! But alas he told me today when the lease is up in Feb he will be moving out!! Woot Woot I of course have to move to bc hes ruined the room with there smoke.. but it will be nice to have my apartment back! Thank you Dear. I had a feeling thats what I was feeling was just annoyance because I cant really say anything to him. And for the record Talking to this guy is impossible! All i get is a grunt or a mumble! lol When I asked him a month ago if he was going to be moving out on his own or moving into a 3 bed with us the only thing he said was thats fine. !!! lol But thanks again =] Means alot!
Masqueraded_Angel Masqueraded_Angel 10 years
I agree with Dear completely. If he's not pulling his weight around chore-wise or anything like that, I would sit him down and say, "It would be nice if you could vacuum or clean for me today, since I'll be busy with my child."
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