College Roommate Tips
Many people dream of having their best friend be their roommate. Sometimes, this works out, but not always. Being roommates with your best friend can come with unexpected challenges. Before you jump in and move in together with your good friends, it is crucial to take a step back and decide if your friends will make good roommates. Knowing how you and your roommate can handle certain situations and boundaries will be helpful in this decision.
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Respectful of boundaries
As friends, you likely have boundaries in place such as how often you want to be contacted and when is a good time to reach you. All healthy relationships have boundaries, and in good relationships, these boundaries are respected. Boundaries are especially important when it comes to being roommates. You may want to spend every moment together and share everything, but each person needs to lay boundaries that will be honored and respected by the other person. If this is not something that has been feasible in your current friendship before becoming roommates, it will make being roommates more difficult and will strain your relationship.
Together but separate
As friends, it is only natural that you want to do as many things as possible together, especially now that you are living together. However, this bliss will eventually wear off and you will come to need some things that are separate. Try to get ahead of this by keeping some things separate. If possible, have separate bedrooms so you can have your own spaces to escape to when you need some privacy. Have classes and activities that you do on your own. Have other friends on campus that you spend time with other than your roommate. You may even opt to spend a few hours a week in a coffee shop by yourself to get work done without your friend. This does not mean that you do not like your roommate. It is simply a boundary to help keep things separate so the friendship stays strong.
Level of knowledge about your friend
If you are living in a dorm or apartment for the first time, it can be nice to have someone you know already can be really comforting. However, it is important that you know about the person and their living habits. Going into a roommate situation with someone you think you know only to find out their living habits are not what you thought can be challenging. This can happen when roommates do not know each other at all, but usually, this is something that is asked about before moving in. Ask your friend if they have any habits their family finds frustrating, such as being messy or even leaving empty milk cartons in the fridge. That way, you know ahead of time and can decide if you want to move in together or not. Otherwise, these things will get on your nerves and you will dread your living situation.
When you have a best friend, the extent of financial conversations is typically splitting bills at restaurants or even concert tickets. However, this changes when you move in together. You have to work out how you will be paying bills like rent, utilities, and even groceries. These conversations may become difficult, especially if you have never talked about these kinds of issues with your friend before. Before moving in together, have a conversation about how you will handle the finances of living together and how you each will pay. Be sure to find out if they have ever been late on other kinds of payments. This way, you are prepared and you will not be surprised. Knowing how you will work things out can help ensure your friendship lasts through disagreements that may arise.
When you live with your best friend, it is tempting to want to have fun all the time and talk constantly now that it is easier to do so. However, it is important that you know when it is time to focus and get work time and when it is time to have some fun. These distractions can lead to lower grades, especially if they are cutting into your study and assignment time. Carve out time each day when you can have a conversation with your friend about things such as upcoming plans, finances, and anything else you need to discuss. Also, have time carved out as study time so you can both work on schoolwork without distracting each other. Outside of these times, you are free to have fun and talk as much as you would like. Again, this boundary is crucial for ensuring that you are both successful and are able to maintain a friendship without feeling like the other person is disrupting your grades and college life.
Being upfront with situations that may arise over the course of living together can help figure out if you and your friend will be compatible as roommates. If you talk about these things and find yourselves getting into an argument, it may be best not to be roommates. Otherwise, you will make great roommates.
When it comes to living with roommates, there are plenty of advantages and disadvantages you will face. Every roommate situation is different, some people live with complete strangers while others opt to live with close friends. Whatever the case may be, it is no secret that sharing a living space with someone else – regardless of how well you know each other – can lead to some tension or uncomfortable situations. While you cannot anticipate or prevent every single argument or problem between roommates, you can take steps to make living together much easier, starting with following basic roommate etiquette.
What can be considered basic roommate etiquette? While everyone may have different living situations, there’s still roommate etiquette to follow – keep reading for ideas of what you can do
to be a better roommate.
Be mindful of guests
Some roommates are ok with an open guest policy, allowing you to bring over any amount of guests whenever you please. While others may prefer a proper heads up and a limited amount of people over in their living space. Whatever the situation is, it is important to be mindful of you and your roommate’s guest policy.
While it is your apartment and you should be able to invite whoever you want, you are sharing the space with your roommate and they have the right to speak up and voice when they feel uncomfortable. Communicate with your roommate to establish expectations around guests in your apartment, follow the expectations, and let each other know if the situation is no longer working and further compromise needs to be made.
Don’t assume your right to their belongings
While you may be sharing a living space with your roommate, that does not give you the right to share just about anything else with them. Some roommates are ok with sharing things like cleaning supplies, and household goods (toilet paper, napkins, etc), but draw the line when it comes to groceries and toiletries. Some are ok with sharing cooking appliances like a toaster, while they want to keep cooking utensils, pots, and dishes to themselves.
When you first start living together, establish what you and your roommate are willing to share, from kitchen goods to household supplies.
If you do find yourself needing something from your roommates, be sure to ask their permission beforehand. Depending on what you are using, offer to pay them or trade them, or refill their supply if you end up using it up.
Don’t treat common spaces like your personal space
Depending on your living situation, you may have varying levels of what you would be able to deem as personal space. Some people will have access to their own personal bedroom and bathroom, while others may have to share their bedroom and bathroom along with the usual common spaces like an entryway, living room, and kitchen. While your personal space grants you the freedom to decorate and use the space as you please, the same should not be applied to common spaces.
In most cases, everyone should have equal access to common spaces and have equal rights to use the space. However, common spaces should be treated as shared spaces, from how they are decorated to how they are maintained. For example, while you may be ok leaving your personal bedroom a bit messy and keeping things like clothes and books thrown about, you shouldn’t treat the living room the same way. Remember to clean up after yourself and not use the living room as an extension of your personal bedroom.
If you do want to decorate areas like the living room, make sure to communicate with your roommate(s) prior to starting. Some may give you free rein while others may wish to have a say in how the room is decorated.
Don’t be a hypocrite
When living with another person, a good living environment happens when all parties have the ability to understand each other and communicate properly. Compromise is typically a must as everyone has different desires and expectations on how to use their space.
Upon move-in, people typically establish some set of roommate rules, from cleaning duties to guest policies. If you have certain expectations of your roommate, make sure you are setting and following the expectations yourself.
For example, you cannot get upset with your roommate bringing friends over often because you feel like they are intruding on your living space, but then bring your own friends over for your own hangouts. Likely, your roommate will feel like it’s unfair – and you would be completely in the wrong for not allowing your roommate the same freedom you are giving yourself.
Sharing a living space with someone else can lead to miscommunication, misunderstandings, and tension. By following this basic roommate etiquette, you can help keep you and your roommates on the same page during your time living together.
There’s an age-old saying that goes something like, “when one door closes, another one opens.” Living with a roommate while in college is one of the only predictable things about the college experience, and throughout your time in college, you’ll more than likely experience your fair share of roomies. While you may have thought your freshman year bestie was in it for the long run, differences in lifestyle or drastic changes could put you back in the market for seeking a new roommate.
When the time comes that you have a new roommate coming to your apartment, you want to be prepared for their arrival. Here’s six simple ways you can get your apartment ready for a new roomie and make the transition smooth for both of you!
1. Go Back to the Design Basics: After one roommate leaves, they often leave their personal touches and styles on the physical space of the apartment, including the kitchen, living room, and bathroom. As all of these areas are shared spaces, you don’t want one person’s glaring style taking over, which leaves the other person feeling left out and like they don’t have an input.
Before your new roommate makes it to move-in day, go through each of those spaces and strip it down to its original look as much as you can. This means taking down artwork that might have been theirs, painting over their unique wall patterns, etc. Basically, you want your spaces to be more neutral so your roommate feels welcome to add their decorations too.
2. Work on Their Room: Similar to how your old roommate might have left their mark behind in the shared spaces of your apartment, they more than likely did this (and arguably more) in their bedroom.
Before your new roommate arrives, try to make their bedroom as neutral as possible by cleaning up any leftover decorations or design choices left behind by your old roomie. This could be wall art, wall paint, wallpaper, etc., and could even include furniture or small decor items they may have left behind. In this sense, you’re making your roommate’s room feel as blank as possible, so they can style it the way they want.
3. Have Your Pantry Stocked: While you may feel comfortable with running low on grocery items or having a limited selection of snacks, dinners, etc., your roommate most likely will not feel the same way- different strokes for different folks, right? Your new roommate more than likely will come with some food and snacks to last a few days, but in terms of long-term food items, they will probably be lacking.
In this case, it is important to stock up your pantry with food that your roommate can have for at least the first week they’re settling in. This can include breakfast foods like cereal, oatmeal, eggs, toast, etc., lunch foods like bread, deli meat and cheese, chips, salads, protein bars, and dinner foods like pasta, sauce, rice, chicken, soup, etc.
4. Talk Through Ground Rules: Establishing ground rules is the first thing you should do when your new roommate arrives. Effectively communicating what you believe is fair in terms of sharing a living space can help to avoid any misconceptions and blow-out arguments in the future.
Ground rules can include determining who does chores (such as taking out the trash, cleaning the bathroom, doing the dishes, etc.), when and where to have friends over, respecting quiet hours, etc. Your roommate may have a different opinion or perspective on some of the rules, so be open to hearing them out and compromise if you need to.
5. Establish a Monthly Budget: One very important element about living with someone, especially if you are in an apartment/house, is figuring out how to split up living expenses like rent/amenities/cable and internet.
To make splitting bills easier, put together a chart or spreadsheet of expenses that each person owes to organize payments and keep track of who pays what. The spreadsheet can include rent, electricity, water, cable/internet, the due date for each bill, the amount needed to be paid (if split, per person), and the person responsible for the bill. Taking on adult responsibilities and figuring out how to effectively split bills can be difficult but it will definitely save you any kind of money-related trouble in the future.
6. Schedule a Roomie Date: As your roommate is getting adjusted to their new living situation, they may feel overwhelmed and even homesick at points. As a way to properly welcome your new roomie and make them feel confident about their living situation, set up a day or night for you guys to hang out. Figure out what their schedule is like and make a plan to go to a party, have a movie night, or even go on an adventure around campus! Doing this not only can help you get to know your roommate, but it’s also a great way to create a better, closer bond with them.
Going from living with an old roommate to a stranger can be a large adjustment, and at times, prove to be difficult. If you do your best to make them feel welcome from the start and communicate effectively, you’ll more than likely have a good experience!
By Aaron Swartz
Having a roof over your head costs an arm and a leg, so it’s no surprise most people end up looking for a few extra limbs to help them split the cost. I’m talking, of course, about roommates, the saving grace for anyone who wants to live somewhere but doesn’t have a six-figure salary. Roommates are great for a lot of reasons — the least of which is helping cover rent — but not every roommate is perfect. Before you move in with someone there are a few things you should get sorted out to make sure you won’t drive each other up the wall, and to help you find the best roommate possible here are six questions you should ask your potential roommate before you start living together.
1. Sleep Schedules
It’s a classic question, but it’s so oft-repeated because it is quite literally one of the most important things you can know about your potential new roommate. Some people go to bed at 8 PM every night, while some don’t sleep till after 3 in the morning. Those two probably won’t have the best time living together because their schedules are so mismatched. Ask your roommate if they’re a day or a night person, what time they usually sleep and wake up, and check in to see if your schedules will mesh. You don’t want to find out your roommate blasts music at midnight every night when you’ve already signed a lease and there’s no way out.
2. Social Life
Everyone has different ways they like to socialize, and your new roommate is no different. Ask them what their social life is like, how often they’re out of the house, and — perhaps more importantly — how often they want to invite people over. If you’re a party animal who has huge groups of people over every weekend then your quiet, introverted roommate might not have the best time in your joint living situation. Make sure you’re both broadly on the same page about social expectations before you decide if you’re a good fit.
Some people are neat freaks. Some people are not. There’s nothing wrong with either of those things… until you look at the disaster area your kitchen has become and want to scream. Most of these questions are about establishing where you and your roommate’s living styles align and differ, and this is no different. Some people keep a home that’s neat as a pin, not so much as a hair out of place. Some people have a more disorganized style, and those are both ok. Ask your roommate about their living style and their cleanliness, and whether or not you can negotiate a way for your two styles to coexist if you have differing expectations.
4. Substance Usage
Drugs and alcohol are part of adult life, but not everyone is comfortable with them. Whether it’s a religious choice, a moral one, a past history informing a present, or a simple disinterest, there are a lot of reasons why someone might choose to abstain from substances and you should check in with your roommate about what your expectations around substances should. Make sure everyone is comfortable with what happens in your shared home. At the end of the day, it’s always better to ask ahead of time than have to do damage control later.
5. Morals and Politics
There are some people who have friends from every possible background and creed, but there are almost always lines we draw around who we’re actually willing to associate with. That sound a little extreme, but moral differences between potential roommates can be a huge dealbreaker. If you’re incredibly left-leaning then you probably won’t want to share a living space with someone conservative. Similarly, some people may have strong religious beliefs, or might not be comfortable living with someone who is devout for whatever reason. Political and moral choices make up a lot of who we are, so establishing what kind of person your potential new roommate is is a really wise choice before you move in together.
6. Roommate Expectations
This might take a bit of explaining, but you should definitely ask your new roommate what they expect your dynamic as housemates to be like. For some people, roommates are best friends, maybe even as close as family. For others, a roommate is a stranger who happens to share a home with you. It’s a good idea for you two to establish your expectations out the gate. Are you just paying rent and being courteous in shared spaces? Are you having late-night gossip sessions every other day? Ask your roommate ahead of time how they see your collective dynamic playing out. If you’re on the same page, then you’ll probably enjoy living together.
Roommate hunting is a challenging prospect, but hopefully, these questions will make it a bit easier. From politics to cleanliness, by the time you’re done talking you’ll have a great idea whether you’re heading back to the drawing board or finally found the right person to move in with.
When it comes to your college experience, you are more than likely going to be experiencing living with a roommate at some point. While some may be lucky enough to room with someone they know for the entirety of their college years, others experience living with several roommates that are pretty much strangers to them when they first move in together.
Many college students experience changes in their living arrangements during the summer months, whether they are moving to a new city for a summer internship or if they get new roommates as their old roommates move back home for the summer. Whatever the case may be, you can use the summer as the perfect time to socialize with your new roommates and get the most out of your time together.
Throw a housewarming get together
Depending on your situation, you may not know anything about your roommates or may have never interacted with each other before. Spending one-on-one time may not be your priority at first, but you can definitely join forces to plan a smaller housewarming get-together to connect your respective friend groups for a day or night.
Hosting a small get-together at your apartment could be a great way to get to know your new roommates and their friends. You are more than likely going to be seeing their friends throughout your time living together and getting acquainted with them from the beginning can help make everyone feel more comfortable with each other.
If you have just moved into the apartment, hosting a small gathering is also the perfect reason to get completely unpacked and start making the apartment your own when you are expecting company. You will not want unpacked boxes and unorganized chaos greeting your guests – it will also get you and your roommates on the same page about setting up common spaces early on in your time together.
Have a movie night/day in
While many want to spend their summer venturing out and about, it’s nice to unwind in the comfort of your own home. Spending some time at home can give you some much-needed rest from all your summer adventures and your budget a much-needed break as a movie night in can be as inexpensive as you want it to be. Not sure where to start?
Depending on how much time you are working with, you can choose a single TV series to start binge-watching. This can even kick start what can be a weekly or biweekly roommate binge-watching session when you all find yourselves home for a couple of hours at the same time. If you and your roommate can’t land on just one TV series to watch together, you can each pick a movie to watch. You can go about your selection randomly or you can go with a theme, such as your favorite Disney movie, favorite rom-com, or favorite scary movie.
Pair your movie night in with your favorite foods. You can either opt to cook a meal together as roommates or band together and choose your favorite take-out spots as your fuel for the night.
Explore your favorite local spots
If you or your roommate are new to the area as first years or moving for a summer internship, summer is a great time to explore the area. If your roommate is temporarily living in the area for the summer, take them around and show them all your favorite places. Your favorite cafe for studying, your favorite restaurant for some cheap, but delicious food, and your favorite things to do as a college student in the area.
Even if you and your roommates are not new to the area, you are new to their interests and preferences as they are to yours. Take turns showing each other your favorite spots around the area, and you may just end up finding your own new favorite spots to visit even after your time living together ends.
Go on a mini road trip
If you and your roommates have access to a car, take a classic summer road trip together. We’re not talking a cross-country road trip that will take days to complete, but a small-scale road trip can be a great way to kickstart your time together. Going on a road trip together can encourage conversation between you and your roommates as you are stuck together in an enclosed space and can’t simply hide away in your own bedrooms to avoid that uncomfortable, getting to know each other small talk that is common for new roommates.
Take turns being the car DJ, share your favorite car snacks, and choose a destination you all can agree on (a tourist hotspot, beach, amusement park, and so on).
Living with new roommates for the summer doesn’t have to make the next few months a bore. With the right planning, it can be the perfect way to introduce new people and memories in your life – have fun starting with these summer socializing ideas.
One of the most common issues when living with a roommate is making sure both parties pay their share of the rent. It can be tough when you pay your share but your roommate does not, especially if that means your utilities and living space are in jeopardy of being taken away. Luckily, there are ways to approach your roommate calmly to help resolve the issue.
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Talk it out
The first approach is to have an open conversation with your roommate. Be calm and non-accusatory but remind them of why it is crucial that they pay their share of the rent. Talking about paying bills can be a sensitive subject, especially if your roommate is struggling with finances currently, so being gentle and kind in how you speak is important. Show that you are willing to talk about it and compromise as needed. Avoid threatening them with moving out or taking legal action, especially during the first conversation. This may have to occur at a later point but avoid this at the beginning.
Refer to your roommate agreement
When you first moved in with your roommate, you likely made a roommate agreement that highlighted how much the rent costs and when it needs to be paid. You may have also included what to do if someone is unable to pay their share. Refer to the agreement to see how you should proceed and see if any action needs to be taken. Again, try to be calm and understanding when bringing up the roommate agreement, but be firm in the fact that they need to pay their share.
Inform your landlord
Talk to your landlord about the situation, even if you think it is a one-time thing that will get resolved. The landlord may be willing to give you some extra time to get rent in or may waive the late fees for the month. If things escalate and you end up leaving the lease or finding a new roommate, your landlord may be willing to give you a small break if they are aware of the situation surrounding these actions. They may have some tips for ways to handle the situation since they have likely seen others go through something similar.
Check your lease
When you and your roommate signed the lease, you agreed to be equally accountable for the rent. Many leases have terminology that has each tenant as “jointly and severally liable” for their portion of rent. Make sure your roommate is fully aware that they are legally responsible for their portion of rent since they signed the lease. Knowing this, they will be more willing to fix the situation in a timely manner and get the rent paid. Hopefully, knowing their legal obligation, they will be more willing to be careful moving forward so this situation does not arise again.
Cover the cost
While this is not ideal, you may have to cover the cost of the roommate’s portion of the rent, especially if you both signed the lease. Do this, even if you have a “split between roommates” as the option for paying rent. You can switch back to this option next month. The landlord can seek the payment from any cotenant on the lease, including yourself, so you may have to pay for your roommate’s share. However, make sure your roommate pays you back in a timely fashion. If they do not, you may be able to take further action down the line.
After speaking with your roommate, consider writing a letter to them to express your concerns in writing. This starts a paper trail. Be sure to date the letter and make a copy for yourself for your own records. This way, if you need to take action down the road, you have evidence that you were in communication about the rent not being paid. You may also want to include a copy of the roommate agreement to show that there is a clause about rent that the roommate signed off on. Also, be sure to document your roommate’s behavior and anything that they say out loud.
Sue your roommate
If things do not get resolved and your roommate does not pay their fair share of the rent, you can sue them in a small claims court. Doing so is inexpensive as you do not need a lawyer (most small claims courts do not allow for lawyers). Just be sure you know the maximum of how much you can sue for when it comes to what you are owed. If your roommate owes more than what you are allowed to sue for in a small claims court, consider speaking with a landlord-tenant lawyer about what options are available to you.
Having a roommate on your lease that does not pay rent can be stressful. Knowing that there are people and resources available to help you and things you can do to rectify the situation quickly will put you at ease and make things better in a timely manner.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are working from home. This is remaining true, even as more companies are returning to in-person work. With this rise, you and your roommate may both be working from home, which can present challenges. Knowing how to make things work so you can be productive during your workday is crucial.
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Create a schedule
One of the most important things you and your roommate can do is create a schedule for your shifts. Know what times you each have meetings and calls so you can avoid interrupting. Try to plan lunchtime for the same time as your roommate so you can eat together. Having a schedule with set times for working helps you minimize distracting each other and can help you both keep a work-life balance. You may not always stick to the schedule perfectly, but having one in place can help you and your roommate stay focused and motivated.
Set up an office
You and your roommate having your own separate workspaces can help eliminate distractions. Have things on hand such as chargers, office supplies, and desk accessories to help maximize productivity. Make sure you have everything set up before your day starts so you do not have to ask your roommate where something could be and have your roommate do the same to avoid distracting you. If having two separate spaces for your desks is not feasible for your living arrangement, consider using noise-canceling headphones so you do not get distracted by each other’s phone calls and meetings. With this, also ensure that you have a place to work and a place for life. Eat meals away from your desk.
Dress for work
It may be tempting to roll out of bed and just work in your pajamas. However, changing into work attire, even if it is not the fanciest outfit, can signal to coworkers that you are in work mode. At the end of the workday, change into more comfortable clothes to tell your roommate that you are available to talk and do whatever you want to do outside of work. This helps to create a boundary with your roommate so they do not distract you. You will also feel more motivated to work since you are dressed for the occasion and will feel the part.
Treat roommates like coworkers
Ultimately, you and your roommate are both trying to get work done. Reframe your thoughts to think of them as a coworker during business hours so that you can both focus on getting work done. Use headphones to play music, be as quiet as possible when moving around, and avoid distracting them unless it is absolutely necessary. On the flip side, do not take it personally if they are unable to talk at a moment when they are trying to get a work task done. Respect requests to talk about things later, just like you would expect them to respect this wish if you made it.
Make morning coffee
In the morning, make it a point to make coffee for yourself and your coworker so you can be energized for your workday. If you find this to be overwhelming, you may even decide to take turns making coffee each day with your roommate. Have any fixings your roommate likes on hand so that you can both have what you like. Not only will your roommate appreciate your thoughtfulness, but you can also have some coffee. It is a win-win situation all around!
Communication is key
Living with a roommate requires communication, and having them working in the space with you requires a little extra communication. Share your schedules and avoid having others come over to work without letting each other know. Make use of chat apps and websites to stay informed throughout the day. Set aside moments where you can talk face-to-face and check in with each other to help alleviate the lack of other coworkers in your space. Just know the signals and schedule so you know when to not disturb your roommate.
Share communal spaces
Unless you have a meeting that needs to remain confidential, make use of communal spaces when working with your roommate. This will help you feel like you are actually in the office. Staying in your bedroom can wreak havoc on your mental health. Set up desks in a living room so you and your roommate can keep each other company throughout the day. If you want to go to a private place to take a meeting or a phone call, let your roommate know so they know not to disturb you. You may even want to take turns or create a schedule for using certain rooms so you can change scenery throughout the day.
Working from home with a roommate who is doing the same thing can be difficult, but keeping communication open and working together will help you be successful with getting work tasks completed.
Many college students experience a variety of roommate situations during their college years, from random roommates in their freshman year dorms to living with close friends in their later college years. Another common type of roommate situation for college students are short-term summer roommates. You may opt to sublease another apartment in between leases or your roommate may have sublet their share of the apartment to another while they traveled elsewhere for the summer months.
If you are lucky, these short-term summer roommates may be someone you are already familiar with, such as a classmate that mentioned needing summer housing or a friend of a friend. However, your short-term summer roommate may be a complete stranger to you prior to move-in.
Like with any roommate situation, there are things you can do to make the experience easier for everyone involved and keep any issues to a minimum. Keep reading for tips on how to make the most of a short-term summer roommate.
Create a set of roommate guidelines
Regardless of how long you and your short-term summer roommate will be living together, you will want to create some roommate guidelines for the both of you to live by during your time together. It may seem like extra work if you are not going to be sharing a space for more than a few weeks, but establishing some guidelines can get you and your short-term summer roommate on the same page and minimize the amount of clashing you can experience while living together.
The sooner you can create guidelines, the better. This doesn’t mean you have to create an in-depth handbook that covers any possible issue, but you should definitely discuss different talking points that can make your time together headache-free. Some things you will want to consider may include:
– Guest policy. Discuss how often can people come over, how many people are allowed over, and if guests are able to spend the night.
– Cleaning duties. Discuss how each roommate is responsible for the cleanliness of the apartment, from taking out the trash to cleaning common areas like the kitchen and living room.
– Parking. Depending on where you are living, you may want to discuss your parking situation, especially if you are splitting a designated parking space among several roommates.
Getting some guidelines established prior to moving in, or in your first couple of days together, can get the tough discussions out of the way and make way for a carefree summer together.
Start a crash course on getting to know each other
You may already be familiar with your short-term summer roommate depending on the situation, but you may also have no clue who you are going to be living with for the next couple of months. The downside of a short-term roommate is that you will not get all the time to get to know each other as you live together for a longer period of time – the busy months of summer will fly by before you know it. Rather than accepting you are going to be living with a near-stranger in close quarters for a couple of months, get to know each other.
If you know who you are going to live with a few weeks in advance, use the time to reach out to your soon-to-be summer roommate to get to know them a little better prior to move-in. Just having a few conversations to become more comfortable can help put your mind at ease. If you happen to live in the same area already, you can also plan to meet up once or twice in person before you move in to get acquainted.
Living with a complete stranger can be daunting for anyone – getting the opportunity to become acquainted with your roommate before you actually have to share a living space can help eliminate some of that anxiety for both you and your roommate.
Don’t force a friendship
As much fun as it is to live with a close friend, it’s not for everyone. While you do not want to live with a complete stranger for your summer living situation, you shouldn’t force a friendship between you and your summer roommate. You or your roommate may be super busy between school, work, and their personal lives, leaving little time to foster a close relationship during the limited time you two have together.
With that being said, you should not expect your roommate to spend all their time with you, and they shouldn’t expect the same of you. Yes, you may instantly click and become friends, but it is completely normal to not be more than acquaintances as you spend a very short amount of time living together.
Short-term summer roommates are just one of many types of roommate situations you may experience during your college years. With these tips in mind, you can make the situation stress-free for you and your short-term roommate.
Let’s face it – unless you were born a certified clean freak, no one truly enjoys spring cleaning. While the onset of warmer weather, longer days, and more sunshine can definitely be motivating in a lot of ways, it does not always conjure up inspiration among people (especially young ones) to get their hands dirty and do some much needed spring cleaning. Though cleaning can be a bore and most definitely a chore on an individual level, doing it with roommates can help the process go a lot smoother and faster with the right amount of teamwork and a great Spotify playlist.
As spring is in full force, its time to get to giving your shared living space a refreshing, revitalized cleaning. If you’re looking for starters on how to get your group of roomies motivated, here are five simple, stress-free ways to accomplish your spring cleaning goals together.
1. Evaluate the Mess: Every large cleaning project starts with a moment of realization that cleaning has to be done. Before you and your roommates jump into scrubbing the floors, vacuuming carpets, and cleaning out the fridge, evaluate exactly what you need to clean beforehand. Start with the common, shared spaces before going back and forth between private bedrooms. Once everyone has an idea of which rooms need some TLC, determine how much cleaning each space needs to plan out the kind of job it is going to be, as well as how many people will be needed to do it. From there, you can get your supplies together and get started.
2. Divide and Conquer: When tackling a cleaning project in a shared apartment or home, it makes the most sense to assign each roommate with a different task to effectively break up the work and get it done in a timely fashion. While one person focuses on the bathroom, another can get started on the kitchen. Breaking up your group of roomies and assigning each person to a specific duty also makes each person take responsibility for their role in the messiness (and cleanliness) of the space, which is great especially if the workload tips more in one direction over another.
3. Have a Goal in Mind: Once you get started on spring cleaning, it can be difficult to know when to stop and quit for good. While it is not bad to have a pristine, clean home space, you don’t want to burn anyone, including yourself, into the ground by going overboard on what you’re doing. To avoid this, establish a goal with your roomies on a standard of cleanliness that is comfortable and suitable for everyone, as well as the timeliness of when each person wants to finish the cleaning. Establishing these needs and goals with one another will make the process easier and also help everyone practice open communication, which will pay off in the future when a potential conflict arises.
4. Keep It Fun: Cleaning is a chore already, and it can be even more boring and exhausting when it is taken too seriously. While spring cleaning is important for everyone, it does not need to be a daunting task that makes everyone miserable by the end of the day. Turn the cleaning spree into a bonding experience with your roomies by blasting a fun playlist, taking breaks to laugh and talk in between tasks, take funny pictures, rearranging the furniture, hanging up artwork, etc. Cleaning does not need to be reduced to the physical act of getting dirt and grime out of your home, it can also be a cleaning of bad vibes and negativity- so use the opportunity to do both!
5. Reward Yourselves Afterwards: After a day of hard work and cleaning, end the day on a solid, positive note by rewarding you and your roomies. This can come in many different forms, but just do something that will make everyone feel good, accomplished, and happy after taking the time to curate a healthy, shared space together. Agree on starting a new Netflix series accompanied with popcorn and sweet treats, decide on a fun place to get take out from, go on an evening walk to get some fresh spring air. Rewarding yourself with your roommates will not only maintain the good energy everyone established during the day, but it will also inspire you to want to clean more routinely.
While the time of spring cleaning can be especially overwhelming, it can be a carefree, relaxed project to do with your roommates. Establishing a plan is the best way to start things off, but there is always room for improvisation along the way, so go with the flow of your roommates to decide what the best approach is for everyone. Once you’re finished cleaning, don’t forget to reconnect with your roomies and reward everyone for their great teamwork!
The biggest benefit to having a roommate is making rent more affordable when you can split the cost. In an ideal world, all roommates will pay their share of their rent in a timely manner as agreed upon, with no issues for the entire time you live together, however, this isn’t always the case. Life happens and for whatever reason, you may find yourself in a situation where your roommate is unable to pay their share of the rent as promised. It’s a stressful situation for everyone involved, but you can’t just let the situation go by unsolved as it’s going to affect you as your name is on the lease as well. Keep reading on what to do when your roommate can’t pay rent.
Stay calm and assess the situation
In the best case scenario, you have a good relationship with your roommate and they bring up their inability to pay their rent as soon as they are aware of the situation themselves. When you do become aware of the situation, it is important to stay calm as you figure out the best way to handle the situation.
If you are close with your roommate, such as being close friends outside of just a roommate relationship, you may be more comfortable coming to an agreement to temporarily cover their rent. If your roommate just got laid off, for example, you may opt to cover their rent as they find a new, steady job and get back on their feet on the condition that they can pay you back after a chosen time period.
However, if your roommate is a random match-up you found on a local ad calling for roommates or someone you don’t get along with, you may be more wary about their ability to pay you back should you offer to cover their share of the rent. If this is the case for you, you may opt to go straight to your landlord to figure out your options (and if you are truly responsible for their share of the rent).
Whatever approach you decide to take, make sure you make an effort to document everything along the way, from emails between your roommates and landlord, to bank statements showing any transactions regarding rent.
Check with your lease to verify if you’re liable to cover the rent
Once you have assessed the situation you are facing, refer back to your lease agreement to verify if you are responsible for making rent is paid in its entirety, not just your portion. In most roommate situations, you both will be listed on the lease agreement. Check the lease to see if the agreement has joint or several liability. If you and your roommate are jointly liable, you are both equally responsible for making sure the total rent is paid, regardless of whether or not you or your roommate are paying their individual portion. If you and your roommate are severally liable, you are only responsible for your portion of the rent, and it is your landlord’s responsibility to get the other portion of the rent from your roommate.
Speak with your landlord to discuss your options
You and your roommate aren’t the only renters that have found themselves in a situation where they are unable to pay rent, and your landlord has likely dealt with this situation before. Depending on the landlord, they may be able to offer options to help your situation.
Your landlord may agree to have your security deposit cover the portion of the rent that your roommate can’t pay.
Your landlord may also be more flexible when it comes to deferred rent or establishing a repayment plan. For example, your landlord may offer to let your roommate pay in installments over the course of a month rather than paying the rent in full at the beginning of the month. Or, they can allow your roommate to apply for rent relief if they find themselves facing financial hardship.
Evicting your roommate
If you happen to be the only person on lease and are not coming to an agreement with your roommate on them paying rent as promised, you may have to look into eviction to solve the issue at hand.
Tenant’s rights will vary depending on the state you are residing in, but doing a quick search on your state and “tenant handbook” or “tenant rights” can get you the information needed to navigate a possible eviction. Eviction can be a difficult process, so it may be something you consider as a last resort rather than the first solution you choose.
For example, if you and your roommate are both on the lease, you would not be able to evict them just because they aren’t paying rent. Your landlord will have to get involved to take action, and may have to evict you as well, which will affect your credit and your ability to rent in the future.
Finding out that your roommate can’t pay rent can be a stressful situation for anyone. With this information in mind, you can help yourself and your roommate find the best solution for your situation.