Paying student bills: How to do it – and fairly
Sorting out how to pay your monthly bills in a student house isn’t fun and can prove to be a real headache.
Here we look at just how to organise your student bills and easy solutions to getting them paid with the minimum of hassle.
Deciding who’s liable for paying the bills
One of the first things you must do is decide who is legally responsible for the bills. This is important as if they are not paid those responsible are liable for any outstanding balance and could, in a worst case scenario, find themselves with debt collectors after them or even in court.
Rent with inclusive bills
Firstly, check if you even need to worry about bills: Some rents will be inclusive of bills (or at least things like the gas, water, etc.) in which case you can forget all about it.
Landlord controlled bills
Quite rare but in some cases your landlord may take responsibility for the bills but ask you to pay monthly separately from your rent. You’ll still need to sort how to pay, below.
Put everyone’s name on each bill
If everyone’s name is on the bill then it makes you all equally liable, this is considered the fairest way should there be any problems.
Each person has one bill
Another somewhat fair option is to put a different person’s name on one bill, however there may be quite some differences in the amounts owed which could cause arguments.
Put one person’s name on all the bills
If someone wants to take up this role, it’s definitely the easiest way out but does leave them and them alone completely liable for any outstanding monies.
How to pay student bills
Once you’ve decided who’s liable, it’s then a case of organising how to pay.
Set up a shared bank account
Split the bill total by the number of you each month and every person pays in that amount to the bank account. Nominate a person to make sure the bills get paid each month from the account (easiest way is just to set up a direct debit). If no one wants to it permanently, take turns.
Everyone pays one person
If there is someone responsible and you all trust in your group, consider putting them in charge of the money (if they want to be). Each housemate then pays them directly and they pay the bills on everyone’s behalf.
Pay in cash
Another option – without the paperwork involved of setting up a joint bank account – is to pay the bills in cash together at a Paypoint (found in most newsagents and post offices)
Get the best deal
One you’ve decided who will be responsible and how payments will work, you’ll then to find out how to get the best deals on student bills to save as much cash as possible.