how to calculate rent when your rooms are different sizes

splitting the rent equally based on room size doesn’t have to be that hard.

Blue Bedroom


Let’s face it, not all rooms are created equal. Unfortunately, this leaves the problem of dividing up rent based on room size (and room desirability). In order to avoid an all out roommate war over rent-splitting, Domino shares a few fair ways to solve this common problem.


split solely based on square footage
One of the easiest ways to split rent among roommates is to base it off the square footage of each room. Find the square footage of each bedroom (Length x Width), including closets, bathrooms, or balconies located in the room. Divide the square footage of each room by the total footage of both. This will give you the percent of rent each roommate should pay. Trust us, it’s easier than it sounds!

For example, this floor plan has a total bedroom area of 700 sq. ft. and a monthly rent of $2,000.

Master bedroom: 400 sq. ft. (including closets and bathroom) = 57.14% of the bedroom area, rent = $1,142.80

Secondary bedroom: 300 sq. ft. (includes closet) = 42.86% of the bedroom area, rent = $857.20

Although this method is simple, it might not be a good fit for everyone, especially when rooms are mostly all equal in desirability. Sometimes the 50-50 split would be more beneficial for roommates.

White Bedroom

photography by FRANCESCO LAGNESE

use an online rent calculator
Sometimes it’s just easier to let a computer do the hard work for you. Luckily, there are dozens of online rent calculators at your disposal. Some of our favorites (and the most popular online rent calculators) include Splitwise, RoomieCalc, and Spliddit. Of course, you could always try the New York Time’s algorithm.

If all the rooms are equally desirable to you and your roommates, try using the tool The Rent Is Too Damn Fair. This website allows each roommate to “bid” the max rent they are willing to pay for each room in the apartment. Once everyone has submitted their bids, the program computes the most economical arrangement for you and your roommates. In addition to computing the rent for you, this online tool also assigns rooms to each person based on their bids, thus eliminating any resentment towards your roommates. 


divide the rent based on room desirability
Although dividing rent based on square footage is an easy way to calculate each roommates’ share, some rooms are just more desirable than others — and are thus worth significantly more.

For example, one bedroom on this floor plan has a large walk-in closet, a balcony, and private bathroom. The other bedroom in this apartment has a small closet and no other amenities.

In order to calculate rent based on room desirability, you and your roommates should assign a cost to each amenity and add it onto a fairly divided room price. We recommend making amenities cost no more than 2-5% of the total rent. In the case of the above floor plan, if the total rent was 2,000, a walk-in closet and balcony could cost $40 each, while the private bathroom would go for a little more at $100. This means the person in the larger bedroom would be paying $180 more than the person in the small bedroom ($1,180 versus $820).

In order to avoid conflict, try to assign values to these numbers before apartment hunting. 

Blue and White Bedroom


Now that you’ve selected how you are going to split your rent, make sure to draw up a roommate agreement and have all parties sign it. This agreement should include the rent each person has agreed to pay. It can also include house rules and a cleaning schedule if you would like. This may seem like overkill in addition to your lease, but a roommate agreement can prevent future conflict and hopefully facilitate a healthy (and happy!) living environment. 

Published on February 17, 2016 - 5:00am EST

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