Considering a Roommate?
Here are a few tips to when considering and living with a roommate.
Setting “house guidelines”
If you are considering a roommate, it may mean you’re moving in with someone you don’t really know, which makes it important to create rules and schedules, and to have discussions to ensure parameters are put in place and so your time together can be comfortable. Talk to your prospective roommates about common area use, quiet time and preferences relating to privacy. Part of the conversation should be discussing whether pets should be allowed, and if so, how they should be handled. If allergies are of concern, you may want to have a trial run and an exit strategy for the pet or roommate. Equally important is to understand and discuss if and where smoking is permissible.
Creating a schedule for bathroom use, parking, quiet time and other necessary obligations pursuant to your lease (watering and mowing the lawn, making rent or utility payments) can be valuable to avoid situations in the future. Discuss house maintenance assignments to make sure your place is maintained and that obligations that may be included in the lease are met.
Security and Preparedness
Security concerns should be discussed such as expectations on when the door should be locked and ensuring closed and locked windows. Understanding how the alarm works and what your process will be if the alarm is activated. Select a place to meet in the event of a fire alarm fire so you know your roommates are accounted for and included how to handle pets in this situation.
It is a good idea to discuss and set ground rules for times and length of stay on visits from friends and significant others. If you are not sure, set a trial period and then revisit the rules you and roommate have created. Sometimes a small change can make the difference.
It’s a good idea to frequently check in with your roommates to discuss any concerns or changes that need to be addressed. Discuss how often you’d like to meet to talk about the living situation and set up reminders for those meetings on your calendar. Meetings can be casual “house meetings” to make sure obligations are completed in a timely fashion and that everyone is satisfied with the current house rules and schedules.
Some apartment communities have trained property managers who can help talk you through disputes.
Understanding your lease
It’s important to understand your lease and what obligations you have contracted to do. Make sure that everyone that lives with you is on the lease. Ask your property manager what might happen is someone were to move out so everyone understands the process.
Obtain contact information
Obtaining contact information for all your roommates and their family members or emergency contacts is a good idea in the event you need to reach them.
These tips should help start good communications and help to prepare for an amicable co-living situation in your new living environment.