Notes From Babel

Splitting the rent

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Tyler Cowen links to this study on how people tend to split the rent:

It’s been a while since I split rent in college and the few years thereafter, but it seemed to be the assumption that everyone would pay the same.  If someone got a bigger room, then we would try to find other accommodations to make up the difference, like giving the other guy the garage.  I suppose that fits in either the “pick rooms then adjust” and/or “just pick rooms and split it” categories.

One of the ways we tried to keep rent evenly split in college was to agree to switch rooms between semesters.  This worked out well once when I shared a two bedroom with two other guys: one would get the small bedroom to himself while the others shared the master, and we rotated each quarter (UCI uses the quarter system).  But when we tried with a fourth guy in another two bedroom, I got to share the master bedroom with the fourth guy while the two other two got the tiny second bedroom.  This seemed like a good deal for me.  But then my wildcard roommate unilaterally, and over the objections of everyone else, brought his behemoth waterbed that took up half the room.  It wouldn’t have even fit in the small bedroom—and the other guys were charitable enough not to insist we try.  We might have insisted he pay more at that point, but he had already blown through his cash from working over the summer and was eating our left over Del Taco hot sauce packets.  Not really an option.  College.

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Written by Tim Kowal

February 19, 2011 at 11:12 am

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