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A New Formula for the Rent-Splitting Problem

We’ve addressed the rent-splitting problem before. Now, Harvard astrophysics grad student Jonathan Bittner is seeking to solve the problem with a rent calculator to help roommates approximate fair prices in this “market.” The web tool uses a formula designed by Bittner (informed by a survey of his friends) to calculate how much each renter should pay based on room size, windows, closets, but also more detailed elements such as noise from street and whether the room has an awkward layout. Bittner writes on his site: “The idea is that you should pay the ‘market’ rate for these amenities (or get a market discount for annoying things) without having to think too hard…I like formulas, I like surveys, I like fairness, and I wanted to make something on the web. There’s something both fun and funny about using a mathematical way to decide what is fair.”