Can My Roommates Opt Out Of Paying Utilities?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

There are 3 single roommates and a married couples in our house. We want to split the utilities equally. The married couple feel they count as 1. What is fair?

There are not really any laws that will decide this issue for you. You and your roommates are free to determine an arrangement that you all agree is fair. That agreement can then be enforceable against a party who does not follow the agreement. As far as what is “fair,†you will all have to discuss your usage and determine that yourselves. Some utilities, such as water, probably relate very closely to the number of people. On the other hand, something like your heat may depend more on the size of the home than the number of people living there. Your best solution is to look at recent bills or utility rates and determine what is fair based on your usage. Once everyone has agreed to this, you can put the agreement in writing to avoid future confusion.