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Study: Breaking up hurts housing, wallet

(MoneyWatch) You know the breakup is coming. Now you have to figure out where you and your soon-to-be-ex are going to live. Are you going to move out or will your ex?

According to a new survey from, nearly 40 percent of renters have ended a relationship while living together, and 62 percent of those who broke up with their significant other stayed in the same home for at least a month after the breakup.

The survey found that 40 percent of renters continued living together for approximately three months to a year and 13 percent stayed with their ex at least a year.

Changing abodes, it appears, is more complicated than flipping your relationship status on Facebook, though there are some differences between how men and women deal with a breakup and move: The survey found that women were especially quick to move out, with 40 percent packing up and leaving within two weeks, versus just 34 percent of their male counterparts. And yet, out of the 13 percent who stayed at least a year, 65 percent were women.

Why did couples stay together physically? The survey found that a third of renters stayed because they couldn't find an apartment they could afford. A quarter of all renters said they kept living together because they didn't see why they should be the one to have to leave the apartment. Twenty percent said they didn't have time to look for a place to live and it was simply easier to stay.

More than half of all renters, in all income brackets surveyed, said that actually dividing and moving all of their stuff was the hardest part of the breakup.

Separating the financial responsibilities of running the household wasn't as challenging. But money clearly plays a factor in the decision to move, since 11 percent of those surveyed said they couldn't move because they need their share of the security deposit cash back before being able to secure a new rental unit.

When it comes to lessons learned, it appears that there are a few:

  • 32 percent of renters said if they decided to live with a significant other in the future, they would save more money before moving in
  • 21 percent said next time they'd take out the apartment in their name so they'd have more control
  • 17 percent said they'd keep all the bills for the apartment in one name
  • Another 17 percent said they'd sign a pre-nuptial renting agreement
  • 4 percent said they would label all of their things
  • 27 percent said the solution is to never move in with anyone again.
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