Sharing a rental apartment with a roommate requires honesty, flexibility, and a whole lot of compromise. You can quickly form close friendships or arch enemies.
Developing a good relationship early on can help you approach your roommate when they leave dishes in the sink or are a week late on the rent, again! To avoid awkward situations, like passive aggressive notes on the refrigerator door, the foundation of your relationship must be open communication from the very first day.
Here are tips to help you navigate the intricacies of living with a roommate while keeping the peace, courtesy of rental website RENTCafé.
Lay Down the Ground Rules Early
Before anyone signs leases you’ll need to discuss your expectations. This includes dividing up the expenses, determining what property is communal and what is personal, and how you plan on tackling household chores. Being honest and open about your expectations gives each of you a chance to evaluate your compatibility and come to compromises.
Divvying Up Those Shared Expenses
Renting together is like setting up a Partnership business relationship, unlike any other. Decide who will collect the rent and expenses, how you will divide them up, and what will happen if someone is late. Utilities such as water, electricity, and gas are usually split equally but who will pay for groceries or furnishing the apartment? Clear this up in the beginning so everyone is on the same page.
Protect your Stuff with Tenant Insurance
Another expense, or investment if you’ve ever had to use it, is tenant insurance. Tenant insurance provides protection for your personal belongings such as furniture, clothing, and electronics, in case of fire, lightning, theft, or vandalism. Decide if you will carry a personal policy or split the cost and carry a joint policy with your roommate.
Guest and Party Policies
Animosity brews when a roommate allows friends to be over all the time, especially if they rack up the bills (hour-long steaming showers), grab out of the refrigerator, or are noisy (ever study while listening to a video game-a-thon?). To minimize the chance of personality clashes, reveal who you are and what you can tolerate before freeloaders or parties become an issue. Decide what is acceptable in terms of timing, noise, and the amount of people on the guest list, and always provide advanced notice so roommates have the chance to make other plans and escape before they stare down your guests.
If you own a pet, be upfront about their personality, you’re lucky to have found a roommate and you’ll want to take extra care to ensure she enjoys living with your pet. If you are thinking of renting to a pet owner are you ready to take your roommate’s dog out, because you know it will need to do its thing right after she leaves? Discuss where responsibility ends, who will cover costs, and who will care for pets while the owner is temporarily away.
Like living with a significant other the second biggest pet peeve of roommates, behind money, will be cleanliness! Decide together who will be responsible for what tasks and how they should be completed. Whether it’s a checklist or the ever- dreaded chore wheel consider writing it down and posting it to keep everyone accountable.
In the end, to have a good roommate, you must be a good roommate. Getting off on the right foot from the very beginning can bring months or years of mutually beneficial living. Who knows you might even become friends!
Now that you are ready to make the most of a shared living situation, find your new rental apartment and enjoy the benefits of joint living.