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Uni house expenses - utilities, phone etc

(26 Posts)
ISingSoprano Sun 26-Jan-14 15:39:58

Ds has just sorted out his accommodation for next year (hurrah!) but is now thinking about how best to organise the house finances to pay the rent, utilities, phone and other bills. There will be five of them sharing the house and ideally would like a separate bank account.

How do others do this - is it standard practice to have a 'house' bank account?

HarrietSchulenberg Sun 26-Jan-14 15:41:17

I'm not sure they can have a house bank account due to issues of liability.

ginmakesitallok Sun 26-Jan-14 15:43:16

Could they get a joint bank account for all 5 of them? Never heard of that

ISingSoprano Sun 26-Jan-14 15:45:47

I'm not sure about the liability issue which is why I asked the question. It seems like quite a lot of responsibility (and money) for one person to handle through their own personal account.

amumthatcares Sun 26-Jan-14 15:56:13

ISing I share your concern too. DD has just signed up for a house, 6 of them sharing. Reading through the lease papers, it is asking for one of them to take responsibility for a bank account to set up a direct debit for all of the rent.

We all hope that they will be trustworthy and each come up with their own share each month, but where does that leave the one 'bank account person' if they don't?

Roisin Sun 26-Jan-14 16:54:56

Most landlords renting to uni students will be happy to receive rent individually from them: that's the biggest liability.

Back in the day, we each took responsibility for one bill: eg phone, tv licence, electric, gas. Each would then gather the money in from the others and pay the bills. That worked quite well, as everyone shared the understanding/appreciation of it and realised what a pain it was if someone paid late.

We also had a cash kitty for shared food, coffee etc. And each week everyone paid in a set amount.

amumthatcares Sun 26-Jan-14 17:03:57

Roisin Back in the day, we each took responsibility for one bill: eg phone, tv licence, electric, gas. Each would then gather the money in from the others and pay the bills. That worked quite well, as everyone shared the understanding/appreciation of it and realised what a pain it was if someone paid late

That's a great idea! grin

DD and her housemates have a "house bank account" - they all had to go into the local branch to set it up. Two of them have personal accounts with the same bank so I think this made it easier.

They each pay the same amount in monthly and rent and broadband are paid out automatically on a set date. Another housemate pays the utility bills and they pay her back. Their landlord charges a processing fee if the rent is paid individually.

Have a look at splitthebills.co.uk

goinggetstough Sun 26-Jan-14 17:24:32

In the second year my DD's house had a house account. They paid a set amount in each month and the direct debits including rent were paid out of it. I believe the account had two signatories on it. So that way no one could run off with the money.
They also found it worth asking the current students about their energy bills so they can set the amount paid in at a sensible amount.

lemonlemon Sun 26-Jan-14 17:31:57

see also glide.uk.com

silvermantella Sun 26-Jan-14 18:16:16

yep, it's a choice of the two options above, either one bank account that all the bills come out of (banks will differ in how many names they will allow the account to be in though), or everyone takes responsibility for one thing.

I would recommend keeping an eye on things though, as landlords and letting agents are notorious for trying to get away with things when dealing with students - passing things off between each other, refusing to give deposits back on the flimsiest of excuses, eventually giving the whole deposit back to one person despite the fact we'd paid separately all happened to us, fibbing about the gas/electric readings so we paid for their builder's electricity over the summer...

The other thing you should check in the contract is if you have signed as a guarantor - my dad was going to sign as mine but when we read it he wasn't just agreeing to pay my rent if I defaulted, but everyones! They wouldn't budge on this so I eventually I just paid the whole amount straight up.

ISingSoprano Sun 26-Jan-14 19:05:57

Thanks everyone this is really helpful advice. I will feed all this back to ds.

rightsaidfrederick Sun 26-Jan-14 19:35:43

In my houseshares it has always been that there is a 'house' bank account, but that this only has one person's name on it. This is because if you get a joint account, your credit records become tied together, and you don't want to find that your credit rating is trashed four years down the line because Freddie-the-former-flatmate didn't keep up with his credit card repayments.

Everyone then pays in at the beginning of term (when SF arrives) for the following term. This includes both rent and bills. The sum for bills is an approximation of what it averages out at, plus a little extra for things like toilet roll and cleaning products. At the end of the year, any spare money is divided equally between all the housemates (everyone has paid in equally, so this works).

I'm lucky in that I've always had housemates who are conscientious about paying up, but at least paying in full at the beginning of the term avoids arguments like "I have no money" and helps people to budget.

ISingSoprano Sun 26-Jan-14 20:52:48

Good point about the credit ratings - thanks for that, it hadn't occurred to me.

MillyMollyMama Sun 26-Jan-14 21:16:25

My DD pays her rent at the beginning of term. Date calculated to be just after loan arrives. Each student is responsible for their own rent. Each year one student has sorted out the bills and then the others pay when the bills arrive. They trust each other and no problems! It is perhaps more about trust than organisation.

sashh Mon 27-Jan-14 11:03:22

I never had to do this as a student but one way I heard which seemed to work was each student putting one bill in their name, so student A phone, student B electricity etc.

Who ever had the bill in their name was responsible for getting the money of the others and paying

PsychicPaper Mon 27-Jan-14 11:13:28

We did the same as *Roisin" worked well for us

SlowlorisIncognito Mon 27-Jan-14 18:31:42

I agree that having one person responsible for paying each bill is often the best solution. With a joint account, you still run the risk of one person not paying in their share. It also means that people will take responsibility for resolving any problems with "their" bill(s).

Landlords usually accept an individual rent payment from each student, though. If they won't do this, it usually means they are all "jointly and severably liable" for the rent. This is a major problem, as it means if one person drops out or doesn't pay, the others are responsible for the rent. I think that it also means that any one person (and sometimes even the guarantors) can be chased for the whole of any rent arrears.

It's usually a good idea for them all to sit down and discuss things like heating usage, water usage and so on. These can be the causes of major fallings out in student houses, and everything gets more heated as money is involved.

amumthatcares Mon 27-Jan-14 21:10:21

Loving all the suggestions. Really helpful.

I have spoken to letting agents dealing with DD's tenancy today about the guarantor situation. In her case, each tenant has to have their own guarantor and the guarantor is only responsible for the one tenant. However, if one tenant doesn't pay the rent, the other tenants are liable for their share.

Really glad to discover this useful thread. DD has just found a house for next year with 4 other girls and I am about to sign as her guarantor for the rent. Can anyone give me a ballpark figure for bills in a 5 bed house with reasonable sensible female occupants?! I'd like to see how it is going to compare with this year when she is living in halls.

jiggles01 Thu 30-Jan-14 22:30:10

Also agree with Roisin ....worked for my Ds. Each rent x5 was paid individually and then a bill each .

rightsaidfrederick Sat 01-Feb-14 11:23:10

MotherOfGirls Depending on insulation and how warm they keep the house, bank on somewhere between £40 and £60 per person per month for gas, electricity, water and internet combined. Encourage them to switch gas & electricity suppliers too - I saved a £900 (between 7 of us) in my second year by doing that shock

MABS Sat 01-Feb-14 12:05:16

interesting thread, dd has house with 3 others arranged for year two .

Thanks, jiggles. Good advice!

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