Need advice on how to split costs between co-owners

My first post… this looks like a great resource! Hoping to get some advice.

I’ve purchased a condo with a friend as co-owners. It’s a bit bigger than either of us can afford on our own, but it’s a very unique property and we believe in the long-term value of the place and the neighborhood. I think it will be a good investment. We are both living there as roommates.

Our ownership shares are different. One of us owns 25%, the other 75%, each of us have put down their respective amount of the total downpayment. I won’t say who’s who so that we can keep this unbiased.

The question is… how do we split each of the operating costs of the condo? I have my opinions, but I’d like to see what others think.

Some should be split 50/50 and others 75/25.

Condo Common Charge
Appliance Repairs

I think the general guideline is that things that contribute to the value of the condo should be split 75/25 and other things 50/50 as roommates, but I’m open to other ways of looking at it as well.

I’d very much appreciate thoughts on the above costs. Thanks!


I personally…would never enter into a venture like that, unless it was with my wife.

You should have it in writing in the form of a legal document drafted by a lawyer and then (personally) I would split the costs like this:

  • For bills related to the property itself - the deposit, mortgage payments, property taxes, etc … split them 25/75

  • For bills related to a consumable product or service that you both use half and half - electric, gas, water, trash, internet, food, etc … split them 50/50 assuming you use them 50/50

You need to have repercussions defined in the document, as well, if someone fails to pay his/her share.

I hope you are very, very, very close that person you live with. As that partnership arrangement can turn nasty fast if someone feels they are getting messed over.

Yes, I agree we have to have a solid agreement. We talked long and hard about a lot of these things and have a pretty good agreement in place. It is indeed tricky territory but I think we’ll be ok. Thanks for the advice!

For now, I’d like to focus on what’s fair for the splitting of expenses. I think your outline makes sense, but I’m not sure which category a couple of the items fit into. I’d love your thoughts on all of them, but specifically these are up in the air for me:

Condo common charges
Appliance repairs

be sure you agreement defines the exit strategy, for when you don’t like each other any more.

Condo common charges
Appliance repairs

All 25/75 - because the bills relate to the property itself, not something personal (your own car or your own clothes) or consumable (food, electricity, water, trash)

But, 50/50 on the appliance repairs if you initially bought them 50/50

Hey Nick,

No offense intended here bro, but these are things that you should have thought about and decided on waaaaay before you two moved forward with the purchase and locked yourselves in.

At any rate, I hope it works out for you both and you both end up ahead of where you are now.

Thanks. Fortunately, my friend and I are very close and both of us are interested in making this arrangement fair. Could you share your opinion on the proper splits on the above items?

  • Nicholas

Well, I’m assuming that come time to cash out, you will be splitting the profits 75/25.

So, when it comes to things that maintain or improve the value of the property, those expenses should be split in the same ratio. The only exception should be if one of you damages the property, in which case that person should be entirely liable for the repair costs.

75/25 Mortgage
50/50 Electric
50/50 Gas
75/25 Condo Common Charge
?? Insurance
50/50 Appliance Repairs
75/25 Improvements/renovations
?? Furniture

I’m a bit unsure about Insurance and Furniture. I would assume that you would each have your own furniture. If you’re purchasing with the plan to sell them with the home, then I would suggest a 75/25 split since they would somewhat increase thevalue of the home in relation to sales value. Insurance is another one that I’m not too sure about. It seems to me that Insurance is more a usage thing but I can also see how if you ever needed to cash in on that claim for some reason, you would probably be splitting the proceeds of that up depending on ownership ratio, right?

Again, good luck. Hopefully your friendship remains strong and you are both willing to bend and comprimise. I’m pretty sure you will need it.

Great, thanks for weighing in. Yeah I wonder what’s fair for Insurance… it benefits one owner more since it benefits the property directly.

And Common Charges… isn’t it more like a utility?

Would love more thoughts on both of those.


well, that’s the thing about insurance, it doesn’t really benefit the property directly until something happens. So, it’s better to get clear on that now. Perhaps split that 50/50 and in the event of a disaster, you could split the proceeds 50/50 as well. Seeing as how you are friends, I am going to assume that you wouldn’t want to see him in a rough place any more than he would want to see you in a rough place.

Common charges…hmmm…what exactly do the common charges cover? if it is only the maintenance of the building and other things along those lines then no, it isn’t really a utility. But, if it covers everything but electric, that makes it a bit harder to determine.

Right… hmm, it’s tricky.

The thinking is that with insurance, any proceeds would be put back into whatever repairs are made to the unit. So that income is similar to spending on a maintenance item. E.g. the washer leaks and the floor needs to be repaired and is covered by insurance. Vs. a smaller (non-insurance) repair like repairing a broken window.

The common charges are just for maintenance and utilities for the building itself. They don’t cover any of our utilities for our unit. One way to look at it is that we each own a 25% or 75% share of the condo’s share of the common areas, so 25/75 split. Another way is that it’s more of a utility charge that has to be paid just to own the unit, so 50/50.