A typical division of rent question...

SBOSTONJune 22, 2012

A little background info is needed, but I am primarily seeking advice on a question of rent, fairness and equality! I have my opinion, but want to hear others to see if I am off base or if there is another solution. I will share this blog with my landlord/roomie in the hopes of maybe persuading her to change her mind, but please don't hesitate to tell me I am wrong ok?

Approximately two years ago I answered an ad for a room for rent via Craigslist. I met the landlord, we got along great, and I moved in after we agreed to $700/ month! She told me her bf came from California every so often and he satyed for a few weeks, but she wasn't sure if he was going to move to Boston or not... Anyway, as I should have anticipated, he moved in approximately a year later!

The mood and tenor of the house changed, as to be expected. The livingroom and kitchen that I had been allowed to use freely became dominated by the landlord and her bf! There was rarely a night that either space was accesible for my use. I don't mind sharing a space with a third roommate, but frankly, the spaces were rarely free and the "sharing" would have felt akward as a third wheel. Add in sharing of a bathroom, increased noise level and overall limiting of the spaces I had once had 1/2 use of and not even 1/3 use of, and I am feeling a bit frustrated! I hope that last sentence makes sense...lol

Here is the question...I know finally, right? LOL When the third roommate moved in, should there have been some consideration such as a reduction in rent? Please don't get me wrong, we all get along great, he is a cool guy, we have hung out many times. I also think she and I are still good friends. She would readily say I am a great roomie.

My opinion... The rent should have gone down! Her opinion is a flat out NO! Via text she has said, "The rent was $700, and is $700"....hmmmmm Ultimately, she is the boss, the owner, the kid with the ball, so she makes the rules! But, because I am now forced to share, and have honestly been shut out from using the spaces I once enjoyed freely, I think the original agreement has been changed to my detrement.

What I ask from you my blog friends is threefold... First, putting aside the legal and technical aspects of the agreement, because there was nothing in writing, is it fair of me to ask for such consideration, a reduction? Second, what is a fair and equitable amount if you agree with my assertion. Lastly, if you agree with my landlord, please tell me why? Again, in a week or so, I will share your opinions, probably a printed copy of this blog, with her, along with a rent check...lol

Thanks for your time and thoughtful responses!


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Does your $700 rent include utilities? That's a major point. If it does, now that there are three people using electricity and heat and hot water, you should only be paying for 1/3 of the utilities. Same for cable, internet, phone--if your rent includes any of these you have good grounds for a reduction in rent.

The use of the kitchen and living room is a bit more problematic. If they told you to get out of either room, then, yes, you should negotiate with your landlord.

If, on the other hand, you could enter either room but were just made uncomfortable by the presence of the BF, then that's more on you. Exactly how unusable were these rooms? Could you not even ask for time to cook dinner? If you were watching TV in the living room, did they make you change the channel to what they wanted to watch? Or were you not allowed in the living room at all?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 12:41PM
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I see both sides of this issue. I agree with you that the living situation has changed in a way unfavorable to you. But you are still being rented a bedroom in a house/townhouse/apartment with access to the common areas.

Having asked and been refused the rent reduction, you are now left with the the option to move out.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 9:33PM
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Are you paying the market rate for renting a room or is the rent below the market rate?

I live in Seattle and have properties in the central-core high demand area. The rate you are paying is way below the rate in a desirable area for Seattle.

Even though you are friends, this is a business transaction. It is time for you to do some market research. If you are below the market rate, I think your negotiating position is pretty shakey. She can replace you with another person and get more money. If you like the place, I would just chuck it up to what it takes to live below the market rate.

If you are already paying the market rate, then you can negotiate the new rent with a notice to move if she does not come down on her rent. In your negotiations, I would show her the going rate to convince her that she will not get more AND she will have to take the risk of taking on a roommate with uncertainties. (slovenly, noisy, stinky food, incompatible hours, you fill the blank..)

If she is not budging, then you can find another place that suits your situation better....

Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 2:45PM
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