How to split furniture with roommates when moving out

How to split furniture with roommates when moving More about Ethan Greenfieldby Ethan Greenfieldon Dec 14, 2022.

You may be getting along just fine with your roommate during the entire period of your tenancy. You may have even become very good friends in the meantime or you might have been great pals even before you moved in together.

Nevertheless, if one of you decides to move out and the notion of splitting all shared belongings in a fair way takes center stage, then it’s quite possible that you encounter some issues in the process. Be mindful that things can become really tricky when it comes to splitting furniture with roommates for a couple of good reasons.

First of all, taking a bulky furniture piece out of the rental place is a difficult job that will incur extra costs. And secondly, determining the actual cost of a furniture item can be a complicated process in case you’ve decided that one of you will keep the furniture item and will reimburse the other party – the co-tenant that’s giving it up – with the right amount.

Read on to learn the steps that explain how to split furniture with roommates when moving out so that the partition of property is done in the fairest manner possible and nobody walks away with hard feelings at the end.

Step 1. Discuss the issue

The very first thing you need to do prior to one of you moving out is to sit down and discuss the issue of how to split the shared furniture items you own in the rental apartment or house.

Your viable options are listed below and you are very likely to pick one of them as the best solution under the presented set of circumstances. One of those options should work out great in your case, so you only need to figure out which one it will be in the end.

When you come to a mutually beneficial agreement after a serious discussion, then it’s a good idea to get it in writing so that nobody can back up from the agreed plan of action at the last minute, thus potentially complicating the matter even more.

Must-read: What to do when moving out of a rental property

Step 2. Make a detailed list of what furniture you own

The next step is to make a comprehensive list of all furniture pieces that you own so that you know exactly what you’re dealing with.

If one of you has paid in full for a furniture piece before moving into the rental unit, then you have little to worry about. In such case, either you or your roommate can decide what to do with that particular furniture item simply because it’s not shared – instead, it belongs to one of you and you or your roommate can decide its fate.

It’s the furniture pieces that you have bought together – either right after moving into the rental place or during the period of your tenancy together – that could potentially lead to disagreements or even disputes over who gets what or who gets what part of what when one of you decides to move out.

See also: How to make a home inventory when moving

Step 3. Make purchases separately whenever possible

Obviously, it will be too late to purchase any furniture items separately since you’re most likely way past that stage already. Right now, one of you is moving out (or maybe both of you are moving out at the same time) and you’re trying to split the furniture in a fair manner – the furniture units you have bought together.

However, you should seriously consider making separate furniture purchases in the future. When you go to the furniture store or when you’re buying furniture online, make sure you pay in full for one furniture piece and your roommate pays in full for another one. This way, you’ll know exactly which furniture unit belongs to who and you won’t have to wonder how to split shared furniture fairly when the time comes for any of you to move out.

Sharing the cost of a furniture item can seem like a great choice at first because each of you will save money by splitting the cost of the purchase. However, later on, you may have a hard time deciding who gets what when moving out of the rental unit.

Step 4. Buy out a portion of the shared furniture pieces

Possibly the best way to split furniture with roommates when moving out is for one person to keep a furniture piece and to pay the other party – the person who’s giving up the unit – half of the money that the piece is worth at that exact moment of time.

Pay attention to the fact that you’re not splitting the amount of money you paid when you first bought the furniture item – instead, you’re splitting up the amount that item is worth now. Most of the time, there’s a significant difference between the two values.

Let’s say you bought a brand-new couch for $1,000 when you and your roommate first moved into the rental unit and you’ve used the piece for 4 years. Now, the worth of the couch now will depend on the initial price you paid to buy it, whether you bought it new or second hand, the number of years you’ve used the piece, and its current condition.

According to The Splitwise Furniture Calculator, now the couch will be worth $366,94 if it’s in very good condition and $270.00 if it happens to be in acceptable condition. Needless to say, once you determine the current value of a furniture piece with the help of an online furniture calculator, you should split that cost – that is, you will give your roommate half of the calculated amount to keep the furniture item, or vice versa.

If you purchased several furniture items together when you were first moving in, then you should use the online furniture calculator to figure out how much each piece is worth now, and then you can make sure each one of you gets an equal value of the furniture item prior to moving out.

Read also: 5 Signs your furniture is not worth moving

Step 5. Sell the furniture and split the money evenly

Another way you can split furniture with a roommate when moving out is to sell your shared furniture pieces and then split the earned money equally between you.

This is a good option if you can’t seem to agree on who’s going to keep a furniture item – if you both want to have it, then the only way to break the deadlock without a fight is to sell the piece for a fair price and then split the money from the sale evenly – 50-50 if there are two of you, a third each if there are three of you, and so on.

As far as the furniture sale goes, you can do it online or organize a yard sale, if applicable in your case at all.

Good to know: What to sell before moving, and why

Step 6. Donate the furniture to avoid a dispute with your roommate

In case you can’t reach an agreement with your roommate about how to split your furniture pieces in a fair manner between you, then consider donating those items to charity. Some charitable organizations may even agree to come and pick up the furniture in question straight from the place you’re about to leave, so it could be a very convenient option for both of you.

Remember that friendship is more important than a piece of furniture and there’s really no need to get into a serious fight with your roommate over a couch, a dresser, a dining room table, or a coffee table.  

Useful information: What to do with unwanted furniture when moving

Step 7. Throw away any furniture you both don’t need

If neither you nor your roommate is willing to take a furniture piece that you have bought together (it may be just too worn out or too broken to serve any of you anymore), then you should consider getting rid of it properly.

And in your case, properly means following the eco-friendly rules of discarding old furniture in your city and your apartment building. If you’re not entirely sure, then ask your landlord or the building manager about the best way to discard furniture without accidentally getting fined for improper waste disposal.

Need professional help moving furniture out of your rental unit? Get free quotes from the best furniture movers in your area.

See also: Do you need furniture movers?


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