Splitting rent fairly between roommates is a difficult problem. Not only do rooms range in size, condition, and features, but personal preferences vary, too. Enter TheRentIsTooDamnFair, a system designed to elegantly consider all these factors and determine who should live where and how much they should pay.

TheRentIsTooDamnFair splits the rent with a three step process. First, every potential occupant bids the most they would be willing to pay to live in each room. Second, TheRentIsTooDamnFair assigns each person to a room so that total welfare is maximized. Finally, TheRentIsTooDamnFaise calculates each person's rent making each person's "surplus"--the difference between their rent and their bid--equal.


Is it OK to tell my roommates what I plan to bid?

Sharing your bidding plans with your roommates is not recommended. (In other words, TheRentIsTooDamnFair is not strategyproof).

The surplus is negative! What does this mean?

It means the rent is higher than the occupants are willing to pay. If your surplus is negative in the optimal arrangement, this probably means that you and your roommates should consider a less expensive apartment, or replace at least one of your roommates with someone who values living in the apartment more. It's also possible that some of your roommates were lowballing.

Someone's rent is negative! What does this mean?

If someone's rent is negative, it means that person would have to be paid to live in the house in order to get the same amount of surplus as the other occupants. This occurs when one person submits very low bids or when others submit very high bids.

Other rent splitting apps use market value? Why don't you do that?

Who cares what The Man thinks? Only you and your roommates’ preferences matter. If none of you care about having a walk-in closet, there’s no reason to charge each other more for the room just because the market value is higher. And, if all of you care about the view into your hot neighbor’s backyard, that’s a selling point that market values won't capture.

Why not just split the rent based on square footage?

There's more to a room than its size. Moreover, people value room sizes differently. For example, someone might prefer to have a small room with a big window, and the rent must reflect this to be split fairly.

Can you have more bidders than rooms?

Yes! The highest bidders will be the those selected to occupy the apartment.

I don't get the name.

The Rent Is Too Damn High

I still don't understand!

Here are some recommended resources:

...and some other economics websites we like:

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