Living in a condo or a dorm is fun, especially if the place is near your school or office, and if it's near cool places like the mall, the park, or the beach. Having roommates is also part of the enjoyment. You can make friends in the process. But there's a part of being a tenant that could cause trouble, and conflicts with your roommate, if it doesn't get established right from the start - paying the bills.
Whether you rent a studio-type room, a single or double bedroom, or even the biggest suite there is, you also need to consider payments other than the rent such as association dues, insurance, electricity, phone lines, cable, broadband connection, city sewer, natural gas, maintenance, parking slot/s, city water, and whatever services or dues you need to add on.
It is advisable that you concur on a way to pay all these. Here are some pointers to be discussed before moving in, so that you won't be having conflicts with your roommate and nobody will be protesting days or months later. These will surely help create a peaceful and harmonious relationship between you and your roommates.
Discuss how much the rent costs. Have an idea on how much your roommates are currently paying. If you share equal parts of everything, then just divide the bill equally among you. If, let's say, you're occupying the bed, and your roommate will be sleeping on the couch, then you should pay a bigger amount than your roommate. In that way, the one occupying the smaller portion of the room doesn't feel like they're being taken advantage of.
Stress on the payment schedule. Before moving in, make sure that everyone knows when rent is due. Set a day that's convenient for everybody. But once the rule is established, the rule cannot be broken. Explain to everybody why it's important to pay on or before the scheduled payment day. So that this isn't a source of conflicts with your roommate, let everybody know what would happen if nobody pays on time.
Discuss the rates for utilities and split them up between everybody. This is also part of living with other people. You get to split up the expenses with all roomates. Now, everybody is entitled to the usage of the amenities and utilities in the place you're renting. But everybody has to chip in, regardless if they're using them or not, or else you'll have conflicts with your roommate. Nobody should argue about this in the future. So if everybody wants to save on utilities with unfixed rates, such as water and electricity, everyone's cooperation is needed. Everybody must really conserve water and energy.
Arrange monthly gatherings or meetings. This doesn't have to be a formal or corporate meeting. You can all meet up in the living room, and talk while eating pizza, chips and soda. Then you can watch some DVD's after the meeting. With the monthly meeting scheduled ahead, nobody can claim he or she never gets to see you. Issues can be discussed here. Conflicts with your roommate can be talked through. Suggestions can also be brought up. But the most important thing is that before everybody moves in, everything is crystal clear.
Money squabbles are typically the largest source of conflicts with your roommate. So be proactive, and always keep these tips in mind, and practice the discipline of being accountable, considerate of others and respectful of everybody's time and money, and you shall surely live in harmony.