If you have a conventional lease, it’s a good idea to have one roommate sign up for the electric account, another roommate sign up for the internet account, etc. Then, each month, all roommates can use a free tool like Splitwise to figure out who owes what and you can pay each other back. For the City of Austin utilities (electricity, water, and trash), if you’d like all roommates to have a legal responsibility for paying, you can choose the Financially Responsible Authorized User (FRAU) status so that everyone’s name is on the account. Setting up an electricity account is typically always necessary, however trash is often paid by the owner at apartments and condos (water is sometimes paid by the owner, too, at condos), and if you’re in an apartment rather than a house or condo then water is often billed by the property manager instead of the City.
If you have a by-the-bed lease at a West Campus apartment, typically the roommates will at least need to set up electricity on their own and could elect the FRAU status (described above) so all names are on the account. Apartments that offer by-the-bed leases usually include cable and internet in the rent. Riverside by-the-bed leases are an amazing value – they usually include all utilities in the rent, so it’s not necessary to make any separate utility payments each month!
Check out the roommate agreement to make sure everyone in your group is on the same page.
Click here for more FAQs, or here for the Austin Residence homepage.