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I live in a shared house with several other people. One of them (call him Bob) signed the master lease with the owner and his name is on all the utilities. I pay Bob rent and my utilities. I have a written agreement with Bob that says 1) the cost of utilities is evenly divided by the number of people living in the house 2) I can see the utility bill.

In the past I asked Bob to see the utility bill but he never got around to showing it to me. I'm not going to pay anything until I see it. There are several complicating factors:

  1. against my wishes an extra person has been living here for a few months, and I think it's fair they pay their portion of utilities.
  2. it was never made clear to me what the period/term of the individual utilities is and I would like to know this for record keeping/budgeting purposes
  3. Another roommate called Dylan has the responsibility of "finances". Everyone in the house has an instant messaging group we use to communicate, and it was actually Dylan (not Bob the lease holder) who posted the amount needing to be paid, though we would still be paying it to Bob. I feel like Dylan is a busy body and Bob uses him as his muscle man.
  4. We've had conflicts in the past but now everyone is on good terms and seems happy. When I've made requests like this before they retort "It's a problem if you don't trust someone living here".

How can I politely insist I receive a copy of all the utility bills? I would like to talk to Bob instead of Dylan, what's the best way to keep Dylan out of this? Again, the agreement clearly was I could see the utility bills.

  • Hi there! I've removed the should I part of your last paragraph as it's off-topic here. Doesn't seem to me that it's doing any harm to your post, please let us know, thanks. – OldPadawan Mar 3 at 0:17
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To really get to the heart of the matter, approach Bob when he is around, preferably with someone else (other than Dylan), and request that he get the utilities bill, and you are willing to wait for a few minutes if he is not occupied with doing anything at the moment. Something like this would get the point across:

Hi there, how's it going? I was wondering if I can take a look at the utilities bill so that I know how much to make sure I have in my budget. If you're not occupied with anything now, can you please get it?

If he falters and comes up with excuses, continue to badger him, directly but nicely when he is around. If nothing comes of this, bring up the written agreement that is signed by both you and Bob that you are allowed to see the utilities bill.

Bob, here is a written agreement that I'm sure you can recall signing with me- it says here that if I request to see the bill, please show me. I really don't want to go to legal troubles with you, but if you continue to refuse to show me, I don't know what else to do.

The tone of voice is really important here. If you maintain a calm and firm tone, he will understand that you just simply want to see the bill, for your purposes. You will also want to display a calm body language- maybe sit down or take on a non-hostile, casual stance to show him that you don't want to go into a confrontation, but will stand your ground until you see the bill. "I really don't want to go to legal troubles with you, but if you continue to refuse to show me, I don't know what else to do." shows that you are making a simple request, and only his excuses and puttering around is not helping himself.

If Dylan is told about this issue, and approaches you then all you need to tell him is that it is between you and the leaseholder.

Thank you for your concern, Dylan. This is between me and the leaseholder, Bob. We have an agreement. If I need anything else from you, I'll be sure to let you know! (Leave the conversation)

I would not mention anything about the extra resident for now. Once you see the bill, you can decide your course of action about how to approach the roommates and the leaseholder about this issue.

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