The Risks of Sharing a Bank Account With Co-Tenants
8 November 2017

The Risks of Sharing a Bank Account With Co-Tenants

You’re planning on sharing your rented accommodation in Hobart with a couple of friends. You’ve tallied all the expenses and you know what each person must contribute. But bills aren’t payed in pieces: they’re paid in their entirety.

So, you think you’ve come up with the ideal solution. Everybody contributes to a joint bank account, and you use that to pay all the bills. And if you aren’t able to do the payment, your friends have the same access to the money as you do. Great idea? NOT!

We look at the perils and pitfalls of sharing a bank account with co-tenants – and well check out your alternatives.

Risk #1 Not contributing as agreed

Guess what? You face this risk no matter what method you choose for pooling your funds. It leaves you in a sticky situation too. Do you make up the shortfall and face the possibility of having to support your non-contributor indefinitely, or do you risk your reputation as a tenant taking a knock? Either way, you lose!

Risk #2 Using it as a loan account

Who doesn’t run short of cash towards the end (or even the beginning) of every month? That joint bank account has accessible cash. It’s not actually your money, but you can always make a plan by the end of the month, right? Wrong! Even with the best intentions, you and your housemate could end up with an empty bank account, unpaid bills and hard feelings.

Risk#3 It’s party time!

In a worst-case scenario, you’ve carefully paid all your contributions only for your co-tenant to decide that the holiday fund isn’t quite plump enough – or there’s a to-die-for pair of Jimmy Choos that she absolutely HAD to have. Whatever the reason, the temptation to spend just because there’s money available will affect even the most disciplined spender – and the undisciplined will just give in.

The facts about shared bank accounts

Most married couples don’t have shared bank accounts. Even if both of them are disciplined spenders, money issues create stress, and stress causes conflict. A shared bank account opens the door to finger-pointing disputes over spending, and ultimately, a shortfall when necessary bills need to be paid. Generally speaking, shared bank accounts are a “Let’s not even go there,” scenario. Our advice? Don’t do it!

Rented accommodation in Hobart: What’s the solution to cost-sharing?

Before we look at solutions, we also need to look at the problem. When you sign a lease, you get rights, but you also get obligations. Most property owners in Hobart will expect one person to be responsible for rent – even if co-tenancy is an option that the lease allows. In this scenario, you are responsible for the rent, even if your co-tenant doesn’t pay up.

However, if you have housemates you think you can gamble this risk on, there are much better solutions than a shared bank account! Take a leaf out of our book and expect a full month’s deposit from your co-tenant. That gives you a month to get rid of a non-contributing housemate before you end up having to deal with the fallout that results from non-payment or underpayment.

Here are some basics to co-tenancy cost-sharing that will help you to avoid the pitfalls of a shared bank account:

  • Divide all household costs to be shared and stipulate a fixed amount co-tenants should pay. Add a small percentage to cover unexpected costs and to reimburse you for risk taken.
  • Take a deposit covering at least one month of tenancy. This can also be used to cover any damages your housemate may incur.
  • The lease owner becomes the treasurer. He or she collects all payments and transfers funds for rental and other living expenses your co-tenancy agreement may cover.

Why we don’t recommend co-tenancy

While there are certainly instances where co-tenancy works, we do not recommend it for those seeking rented accommodation in Hobart. Some property owners will certainly allow it, and it’s up to them whether they will make provision for it in their lease agreements. However, we have seen too many instances of old friends becoming “frenemies” or even downright enemies after trying to pool financial resources.

Ultimately, the lease holder becomes the victim, either paying for non-contributors or suffering damage to that all-important financial and tenancy reputation. Thinking of sharing? Proceed with caution!



#1 – Australia’s Property Management Specialists

We hope you enjoyed this article

The information contained in this article is based on the authors opinion only and is of a general nature which is not indicative of future results or events and does not consider your personal situation or particular needs. Professional advice should always be sought relevant to your circumstances.

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