​Living with your Tenant - Utilities

4 Replies

I recently bought a 3bd 2bth house with a pool and will be having people I personally know living with me. We are all easy going and I don't think it will be an issue (I hope).

I have a few questions about leasing and proper division of utilities and common spaces.

Tenant number 1 and 2 will each be renting out a bedroom and sharing the rest of the house with any other occupants including myself (landlord).

1. Since I am living there, what can I put in the lease for "splitting" utility charges?

2. The premises has a pool, Should I include an attachment in the lease explaining pool regulations?

3. In the lease, do I need to have a clear division of space, utilities and usage?

4. can each of the tenants sign their own separate lease with similar terms?

5. Cable is not considered a utility, what can I put on the lease to have this split evenly with all tenants?

Thanks!

@David Florist All easy going?  Money always changes that.  Whatever could possibly be a problem or misunderstood, put in the lease.  If you expect each tenant to pay 1/3 of the utilities, put that in.  If you want them to split the cable bill, put that in.  If there are house or pool rules, put that in.  

It is better to spell things out and have it understood, or at least have a reference document when it is misunderstood than to rely on their easy going-ness.

You will likely need lease terms for pool rules and liability, guest policies, parking if there is limited space, and a clause about not being responsible for personal belongings and/or renters insurance to cover their things.   Utilities and cable can be problems, especially if a roommate has a friend over all the time showering and doing laundry, etc..  And you need a plan if a roommate starts inviting friends and neighbors over to use the pool, setting you up for more liability issues than you want to take on, like having them get a liability policy with you as additional insured if they want guests at the pool.  I'd make sure it's a month-to-month lease so easy to terminate if it's not working out.  Easy-going is fine until one of you actually feels bothered or that something is not fair (that guy has larger bedroom so should pay more; his girlfriend never leaves, dirty dishes everywhere, etc.)  If cable is an issue, I think you can get roommate accounts where they can get different services and each pay your own bill, but it may require different installation requirements.   I'd have it in the lease that utilities, cable and internet are split equally among number of people living there during the billing period, then work something out if someone wants to get their own.   

I agree with everyone posted here; you really have "roommates" more than you have tenants. When I was in the military I had a number of living arrangements with friends very similar to what you posted, and most of them were not good situations by the end. It is inevitable that someone will consume a much larger portion of resources, degrade the common areas, etc, and then you will be in an uncomfortable position. 

I'm going to be in this situation next month. OP - did you learn anything that I should be on the lookout for? 

Also, I was planning on modifying my existing lease and having my lawyer review. Any suggestions on that front?