Living with the right roommate can be a great experience; you have someone to share living expenses (including rent payment!) and time with. But living with a bad roommate can be a disaster. When you are looking for apartments to rent with a roommate, it’s very important to consider a number of things beforehand so that you don’t end up facing some of these roommate problems down the line.
1. Your roommate takes your things.
Most roommates borrow from each other from time to time, but you don’t want roommates who think their things are their things and your things are also their things. Making firm rules for borrowing personal possessions and clothing is a good way to prevent this type of line-crossing from happening on a regular basis.
2. Your roommate doesn’t pay his or her share.
There may be times when you pay for an extra item in the grocery cart, but if your roommate consistently shorts you when it comes to settling up the bills, then that’s a problem. Determining how costs will be divided in advance is the best way to ensure that you won’t get stuck paying more than your half.
3. Your roommate invites guests without your permission.
In a roommate situation, each person should expect to be able to have friends or family members over without checking with the other person first; however, overnight guests are a completely different story. Everyone has a story about waking up to find a stranger in the apartment, but common courtesy should easily prevent this type of situation. Roommates who invite overnight (or weekend) guests should always make sure that the other person is informed beforehand.
4. Your roommate never cleans.
This is one of the biggest roommate complaints out there. You keep your bedroom, bathroom and kitchen clean, but your roommate is a complete slob. Part of having a roommate is having someone to share the chores with, but when your roommate skips his or her turn, it can be extremely frustrating. Setting a chore schedule in advance is a good way to make sure that everyone is busy.
5. Your roommate is too clean.
The opposite dynamic is just as big of a potential problem. If your roommate is an obsessive cleaner, it might result in even bigger conflicts. The best way to avoid this type of roommate issue is to discuss cleaning expectations before looking for apartments together.
6. Your roommate doesn’t know how to compromise.
Some people are used to having their way no matter what. If your roommate has a problem compromising, that could be a huge problem. When people are living together, it is best if everyone gives in a little bit now and again. That way, cooperation and compromise becomes automatic, and people don’t feel resentful if they don’t get their way.
A roommate can be your best friend or your worst enemy. To prevent the latter, it is a good idea to sit down with your roommate before you start trying to find apartments together. Establish a list of do’s and don’ts that you can both live with. That way, you are both clear on the other’s expectations, and potential problems will hopefully never surface.
Jake Tamlin is a writer and editor, most recently in the apartment/real estate space. Jake currently writes for BRE Properties; if you’re looking for an apartment, swing by the site to see what BRE Properties has to offer.