So you have chosen your student accommodation – you have agreed with 5 friends that you will be house sharing a lovely 4 bedroom detached house a ten minute walk from campus, you will be using the dining room as a bedroom but keeping the living room so have a communal area and the kitchen is big enough to have 2 washing machines which come with the property. Bonus; there is even a barbeque in the garden and a shed so you have somewhere to keep your bike. The rent is a big higher than you had hoped – with your ticketing job at the local stadium, but Mum and Dad have agreed to support you providing you show that you are working to support yourself. So they will be arranging a food shop each month to keep you fed and alive with reasonably nutritious foods! Your housemates are legends, your Landlord is a dude and has let to students before so knows the ropes – he has banned smoking in the house and asked you not to cause any major damage but is quite happy for you to party till the early hours as long as you don’t get endless complaints from neighbours.
Now what do you do? You are moving to a new home, responsible you – with a job and a university place and your very own house where you can come and go as you please and bring ‘friends’ home without Mum and Dad discussing condoms with them at breakfast – yikes!
Mum and Dad have drilled into you the importance of arranging bills and direct debits and splitting costs with your housemates. One of you has to bite the bullet and agree to pay from your bank account; obviously you don’t want to be stumped with a huge bill so you agree to have a meeting. Sat with a bottle of wine you discuss how you will organise the payments that need to go out to electricity, gas and water. You all agree that there should be one account which everyone pays into so that the bills can be paid directly. You agree to use one of your bank accounts (panic) and ask them each to set up a standing order for their portion of the payments to arrive in good time so you don’t get any bank charges for unpaid direct debits.
So what do you do when Jack doesn’t pay his portion in time, claims he didn’t get paid from work or something but you have seem him knocking back beers at the campus bar and buying a rather nifty Ben Sherman shirt this week. Because you thought this could happen you had a small buffer in the account – not much, but enough to protect your credit rating if a problem should occur. But now that buffer is gone, Jack has not paid for his portion of the bills and you need to chase him for it. So where do you go from here?Jack needs to understand the importance of paying his portion. Perhaps you could suggest to Jack that if he missed the payment again you will renege on your agreement to allow the direct debits to come from your account and instead point the companies directly toward him so that he can manage the payments instead. Ultimately you are doing your housemates a kindness by organising the bills for them and putting your neck on the line. If you are living with people who do not respect this then perhaps it’s time to find new housemates who do! Jack reluctantly returns his shirt and pays you the money he owes so for now, all is dandy. Hopefully Jack has learnt his lesson!
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