College Roommate Tips
By Aidan Cannon
One of the best parts of the college experience is moving out of your childhood home, and settling into dorm life means meeting roommates. Your college will try to room you with people who have similar interests or are studying the same subjects. Roommates can be the first friends you make in college, and it can be really exciting navigating the new experience of higher education together. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. You may be matched with a roommate who you don’t get along with or someone who unintentionally makes your life more difficult with how they choose to live. There is no shortage of roommate horror stories out in the world, but there are also ways to avoid conflict and resolve your issues peacefully. Use this guide to solve your roommate disagreements without resorting to shouting matches.
Sit down and establish rules
The first step to mitigating conflict between multiple parties is open and honest communication. When you first meet your roommate, after all your unpacking is done, you should sit down and have a conversation with them about what expectations are going to be for your shared space. These discussions can include responsibilities like cleaning and trash, but also policies like visitation of friends, family, and significant others. This should also be an opportunity to discuss specific needs or desires the both of you have, such as having a quiet space to work during certain hours and not making noise before a certain time in the morning. Additionally, you should delineate what parts of the dorm belong to whom, so nobody dominates the space and leaves the other with no room to live. Making these decisions now won’t guarantee a dorm free of conflict long term, but hopefully, they will give you and your roommate something to refer back to if problems do arise.
Speak with your resident advisor
If serious problems do appear, consider speaking with your resident advisor. Your RA is there to answer any questions you might have about living on your own for the first time, but can also try to resolve conflict between roommates if need be. They can act as an independent third party to try and more objectively evaluate if anyone is at fault for your roommate problems. You can also discuss with them the rules you and your roommate created so they understand the context of your disagreement. Talking to your RA is a great first step if you feel your roommate is being unsafe in any way, such as excessive drinking, drug use, or any kind of self-harm. However, most of your issues will not be that grave, and you should try to discuss your grievances with your roommate before getting authority figures involved.
Apply for a room change
If you feel that the differences between your roommate and yourself are truly irreconcilable, you can investigate if your university will let you change rooms. This will allow both of you another chance to be matched with people who better suit your respective lifestyles and continue your studies distraction-free. Although your relationship may have broken down with your roommate to the point that it’s hard to be pleasant to one another, they may still help you with the application process, as it’s in their best interest to get the situation sorted out as quickly as possible. Some roommates just aren’t meant to be, and that’s ok! It’s a good learning experience that will inform how you interact with different roommates in the future.
Minimize time spent around them
If all else fails, try your best to keep your distance. This can mean spending the majority of your time on campus, with friends or significant others at their residences, or just around town. While ignoring the problems that you have at your dorm might not seem like the most productive use of your time, taking a break from your roommate drama can help you evaluate next steps and even formulate possible solutions to your problems. Spending the majority of your waking hours outside of your room can also make your predicament more bearable assuming all other solutions fall through. The minimal time you’ll spend around your roommate will reduce the likelihood of any substantial fights breaking out, and the remaining periods will be bookended by both of you sleeping.
You don’t need to be friends with someone for them to be a good roommate. A person might live with one or many other people whom they just inhabit a space with and otherwise leave each other alone to live separate lives. However, sometimes sharing a living space with other people breeds conflict and strife, ultimately pushing them apart to an untenable degree. At that point, it’s time to investigate strategies to make sure the situation doesn’t get out of hand. Using this guide will help you navigate the often confusing interpersonal politics of being a roommate and hopefully mitigate future fights.
Like many students, you are likely getting ready to start college for the first time or head back for another year. Whether it is your first time or your fourth year, you can have a roommate you do not know. Even if you already know your roommate, there is always more to learn about them. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get to know your roommate, both on and off campus!
Communication is crucial, and talking to your roommate can help you get to know your roommate better. Even something as simple as talking about what they did over the summer or what they are planning on doing this weekend can be super informative. You may also choose to write down a few questions you would like to know, like where they grew up or what they do in their free time. Asking these kinds of questions can be done in person when you move in or even before move-in day through phone calls, texts, or social media.
Speaking of social media, you can follow their social media accounts as a way to get to know them. This way, you can see what kinds of things they enjoy doing and you will be able to get different topics for things to talk about when you do meet in person. Look for commonalities in hobbies, music, and other things you enjoy.
Watch TV shows together
One popular thing that most people do is watch TV. Many people have a favorite TV show and this is likely true of you and your roommate. Take turns binge-watching TV shows that you enjoy. Even if you do not like the same show, learning about what you both like and dislike will help you get to know each other better. If you have not seen each other’s favorite shows, watching them will help you learn about each other. You may even decide to start watching a TV show you both have not seen. This will give you something new to explore together and talk about.
Depending on your schedule and budget, you and your roommate can have your own spa day. This could mean going to a spa on the weekend and getting facials and massages. This may also mean setting something up in your apartment or dorm and having a DIY spa day. Do each other’s nails. Go to a mall that has massage kiosks or massage chairs and get a mini massage if you are unable to afford a spa massage. Do facials using things you make from scratch. These will all help you save money while having fun and getting to know each other.
Attend orientation together
If you are both freshmen, arrange so that you are at orientation together, especially if there are multiple orientation sessions. This will help you know someone else in your group and have someone you can explore campus with. Make note of places you want to go and things you want to do together both on and off campus. If orientation requires that you both have to spend the night, room together so you can get a taste of how it will be living together, especially if you have not had a chance to meet up in person before.
Whether you are living in a dorm or an apartment, you have a chance to decorate your space with your roommate. This is a great opportunity to learn about your roommate’s style and likes. Set up a day in the first few weeks of the semester when you and your roommate do crafts and create décor items for your space. Not only is this a fun way to get to know each other, but it is also a great way to learn new skills and save money on expensive décor items. Making things yourself will give you a sense of pride and you will have a memory with your roommate that you can cherish for years to come.
There is nothing better than being able to find out what kinds of things your roommate cares about. This can be done by volunteering together. Take turns picking out causes you love and do something to help make a difference in this area. If your roommate does not have a cause they support or they do not want to volunteer at all, this can also say a lot about them but be gentle and nonjudgmental with them. Be willing to try new things and learn new skills. You may even want to see if your school has a club or organization that is focused on providing students with opportunities to volunteer and get involved. This is helpful if you are unsure where to start or are not as familiar with the community around your school.
Getting to know your roommate as early in the semester as possible can help make the rest of the semester and school year manageable, and luckily, there are a variety of ways to do so.
When you’re getting ready to move in with someone new, you absolutely must communicate with them about what each of you is bringing to the table. After all, you don’t want to end up with multiple of the same devices nor do you want to have none of something you both need. While not everything needs to be coordinated, moving in with someone requires a lot of communication. To start your journey, here are five apartment essentials to split or coordinate with your roommates.
Kitchen utensils are a must when it comes to coordination. Unless one of your roommates follows a strict diet and they do not want to share anything in the kitchen, this is something that needs to be coordinated. Extra forks and spoons don’t hurt too much, but you don’t want to have three blenders on the counter. Split objects like the aforementioned blender, air fryers, pots and pans, and plates and cups! Too many sets can take up a lot of space that you’ll need. While there is a wide range of kitchen sizes, many starter apartments have smaller ones. You still need to have a snack cabinet, right?
Depending on the space you’re in, if you have a common area like a living room, you need to split or coordinate furniture. Think about what it is that you’ll be using and sharing. Usually, these are things like couches, chairs, lamps, side tables, and coffee tables, but there might be other things you or your roommates know you need. Decide who buys what, unless you want to go shopping together. It can be easier to split tasks up so that everyone arrives with something and you’re not sitting on the floor for a couple of weeks! Ensure that the way you split it up comes out to an even price so that no roommate is paying loads more than the other unless you plan on paying them back. Do keep in mind that, if a roommate purchases your couch for the place, if they move out, the couch is theirs! That goes for what you buy as well. You can always choose to leave it behind, but you own it.
While not all decor needs to be run by each other, if you have a clear vision for a shared space, it might be worth talking it over. If you have separate bedrooms, you can each decorate your rooms however you please, so long as you don’t break any renting rules. However, please keep in mind that these shared spaces are shared. Do not force your ideas onto your roommates! Some decor falls into categories that everyone might like: clocks, extra couch cushions, and rugs. Split these among yourselves so that, again, you all contribute equally.
Next is cleaning supplies. When you’re first moving out on your own, you don’t realize how much has always just been in your cabinets. You need to go out and buy all those wipes, toilet bowl cleaner, and more. Not only the cleaning products themselves, but items such as brooms, mops, brushes, and sponges. And do you want to splurge on a vacuum? You might not use these items as often as you do in the kitchen, but they are still necessities to have around the apartment. It is also helpful to coordinate the cleaning tasks and cleaning styles when you’re speaking with your roommates. Do you clean the bathroom once a week while your roommate likes to clean it once a month? Depending on this spectrum, you’ll go through a lot more or less cleaning supplies. If you’re the one who is in charge of cleaning the bathroom often, those materials might reside on your shopping list, while your roommates take care of the kitchen.
Big electronics are things that likely everyone will use and that should be coordinated. Think things like TVs, fans, and printers. You don’t need more than one, especially because you might not even have the space. Consider what big purchases you and your roommates will all need and want to share. There are a lot of devices that might make your lives better. Do you want a humidifier? A fancy coffee maker? Talk this through with your roommates so you can split what you want accordingly. If you both want a printer, you can split the cost. If you’re the only one who wants a coffee maker, then that will be a purchase you make for yourself. On the other hand, maybe your roommate already has one that they can bring! See how important communication is?
There are plenty of things you need to buy to anticipate moving in with some new roommates. Before buying anything, communicate effectively so that you know what you need or do not! That way, you can split and coordinate purchases accordingly.
Most college students that have had to live with roommates during their college years can attest to the fact that at one point or another, their roommates have caused some form of stress. Unfortunately for many college students, the stress can start as early as the search for roommates to fill an apartment. Some college students are lucky enough to find roommates quickly and keep the same roommate situation for the entirety of their college experience, however, many college students can experience several roommate changes in as little as four years.
Finding roommates can be difficult in itself, but if you are a transfer student, you can face even more challenges in your roommate search. If you are a transfer student in need of a roommate, keep reading for roommate tips to keep in mind.
Join student groups for the college you are transferring to
If you are transferring colleges, you likely are moving to an unfamiliar campus and likely will not know many people that can be your potential roommate. While this can limit the number of interactions you have with potential roommates that you would have if you lived in close proximity to the campus, you can still network with current students on the internet.
Look for student groups on Facebook you can join, colleges will have a variety of student-run pages, from ones focused on general news and announcements to ones centered around housing opportunities and roommate postings. Joining these groups can get you connected with potential roommates regardless of your current location.
Network with fellow transfer students
You are not the only transfer student looking for roommates and you should absolutely use any transfer student networking to your advantage when searching for roommates.
If you do end up living with transfer students as roommates, you also have the advantage of a built-in support system as they understand your unique college experience of coming in as a transfer student. This can be especially helpful if you are transferring later in your college experience as you don’t have the benefit of getting the usual welcome experience freshmen get at the beginning of their college experience.
With fellow transfer students, you can help each other explore campus and get used to your new environment together.
Use roommate-matching websites
If you are not getting anywhere with Facebook groups for your college campus, there are websites specifically designed to help college students match up with potential roommates, such as Roomsurf. With Roomsurf, all you need to do is create an account, complete the roommate matching quiz (around 20 questions), and then review your matches for potential roommates.
As a transfer student, websites like Roomsurf can eliminate a lot of the time-consuming legwork that comes with searching for a roommate on your own. While you can scour Facebook groups for potential roommates, you likely aren’t getting to see if you and a potential roommate is compatible via a Facebook post. Roomsurf will take compatibility in mind when matching you up to potential roommates, saving you plenty of time and headaches.
Matches are based on how you and a potential roommate answer questions. You will answer a question and also answer how you wish a roommate would respond to the question. You will apply a weight to the importance of the issue, and match percentages will be based on your personal sensitivity to the question. You can review your match’s answers to the same questions via the “Compare Us” tab to get a clearer picture of your compatibility.
On-campus housing for roommate matchups
If you feel like you are not getting anywhere during your roommate and housing search as a transfer student, consider on-campus housing if it’s an option available to you. On-campus housing, while not desired by some college students, can be extremely helpful to you as a transfer student. Your roommates will more than likely be randomly assigned, but roommate preferences are often taken into consideration when assigning roommates.
On-campus housing can help you feel more at ease as it will be one less thing to worry about, and it can help you get used to your new campus. Dorming for freshmen students is encouraged for a reason – living on campus will have you interacting with the campus community on a regular basis, and will help you settle in as a transfer student.
Transferring colleges can be a daunting task in itself, and finding roommates as a transfer student can be even more challenging for most. With these tips in mind, you can expand your options and help yourself complete your roommate search successfully – good luck!
When you get a new roommate, there is always that introductory period that can get kind of awkward. Getting to know each other, learning about preferences and interests, and gauging their personality doesn’t come without some uncomfortable and awkward moments, which is where icebreakers come in! Icebreakers are simply activities and conversations that you can have with your roommate to help get to know them better without the weirdness of the process feeling like a police interrogation.
If you’re getting a new roommate this summer, here are seven ways to break the ice!
1. Start on Social Media: In a digital age, so many of us make connections on social media before meeting face to face. Meeting in person with a roommate may not be possible for a lot of reasons at first, whether it’s because you live in a different area or have conflicting schedules. In any case, try to get to know your roommate first on social media by following any pages or accounts they may have on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc. Doing so will give you the opportunity to interact with their posts and also give you insight into what their interests are, what activities they like to do, and their personality as a whole.
2. Take a Roommate Compatibility Quiz: Most roommates have a few things in common that help them make the decision to live together. Even though you may already be firm in who you are living with, it doesn’t hurt to take a roommate compatibility quiz to understand your roommate’s schedule, living preferences, and boundaries. Roommate quizzes typically ask questions about bedtimes, smoking and drinking habits, cleanliness, having company over, and more. Having a clear idea of what your roommate is like to live with not only helps break the ice, but also helps facilitate a healthy dynamic between the two of you.
3. Help Each Other Decorate: Move-in day is finally here! You and your roommate are eager to move into your dorm or apartment together, and nothing is more exciting than taking out all of your belongings and making the place your own. Of course, you and your roommate are going to have different bedrooms that you can unpack and organize separately, but a great ice-breaking can simply be the two of you decorating your shared space together. Hanging pictures, putting furniture together, unpacking boxes and storing items, adding lights and plants, etc. can all be activities that can help you both get to know one another and connect on a deeper level.
4. Explore Campus Together: With your apartment or dorm unpacked, decorated, and organized, it’s now time to explore your campus and surrounding city together. Whether the two of you are new to the area or are familiar with the town or city, going out and exploring together is a fun way to get to know each other and break the ice. Whether it’s stopping by campus favorites, going to get coffee, taking public transit downtown to famous landmarks and popular tourist spots, or strolling around the park, taking this time to venture outdoors can bring you two closer together.
5. Make a Playlist for Your Roomie: If you follow your roomie on social media, it is likely that you have gained some knowledge about their favorite genres of music, beloved artists, and their overall music vibe. Making a playlist is an interesting way to bond and break the ice with your roommate, as it shows you not only pay attention to those small details others might pass on, but you also are thoughtful enough to make the effort to do something nice for them. On whatever music service you use, whether it be Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, etc., you can put together a playlist of songs that reminds you of your roommate, songs that you guys have bonded over, or songs that you think they might like based on their preferences.
6. Prepare a Meal for Them: Many people say that cooking is an act of love, and what greater way to show your roommate some love than by preparing a meal for them? As you’ve gotten to know your roommate on social media and in person, there’s a good chance you’ve gathered some information about the type of foods they like. Going off of their preferences, make a meal for them! Sitting down and enjoying a meal together (that you made for them) will definitely make them feel special and help break the ice.
7. Throw a Party Together: After moving in together, there is nothing more fun than having that first official party to commemorate the special occasion. Take the time to sit down and brainstorm with your roommate about a party theme, who you’re going to invite, the type of food and drinks that are going to be available, music, and more. Planning this type of event together will help break the ice and strengthen your connection, and having the chance to let loose and enjoy the fun together will prove that you both are a solid pair!
Though meeting and connecting with a new roommate can be awkward at points, these different icebreakers will help ease those initial feelings and help the two of you become close friends!
While in college, living with roommates is a common situation for just about anyone you ask. Whether it’s out of convenience or the need to save on rent and living expenses, college students will often have at least one roommate at one point or another. As a recent graduate, you may have previously dreamed of moving out on your own and getting a space you can afford with your new career. However, many recent graduates find themselves still seeking out roommates after college. Unfortunately, many also find it more difficult to find roommates after college than it was while they were inc college.
In college, you have the benefit of a large population of people your age searching for roommates in a smaller location – your chances of finding the right roommate are higher than if you were searching for one randomly. After college, especially if you are relocating to an entirely new area, you may find yourself struggling to connect with potential roommates.
Keep reading for advice for finding roommates as a recent graduate.
Figure out your roommate priorities
In college, you may have been pretty lax with what you wanted as a roommate – they could be loud or quiet, have a completely different schedule than you, and so on. After college, you may want to look for a more quiet roommate who can cohabitate peacefully. Prior to your roommate search, figure out what you are looking for in a roommate.
If you are a recent graduate needing a roommate, you are not the only recent graduate needing a roommate. While your friends may not be looking for roommates, their friends may find themselves looking for a roommate. As you search for roommates, ask around your friend circles, as they are more likely to know people of a similar age that are also looking for roommates.
Plus, if you are getting connections from your friend, they likely are given the “ok” by your friend and they likely also believe you and the potential roommate could be a good fit for each other.
Try to get to know them
In college, you may have the benefit of knowing your roommates prior to moving in. If you elected to live with friends, coworkers, or classmates, you likely had a general idea of who your roommates were and what to expect. Of course, you get to know someone on an entirely different level after becoming roommates with them, but knowing them personally at least a little can help you feel more comfortable than living with a complete stranger.
As a recent graduate, you may find yourself looking at a complete stranger as a potential roommate. Rather than going into it blind, make an attempt to get to know the potential if you have the time to do so. If you’re pinched for time in finding a roommate, you may not be this lucky, but if you have a bit more leeway, schedule a lunch or two to get to know your potential roommate. You can’t get to know everything about them in just two or three chats, but you can build a relationship prior to move-in to get the both of you more comfortable and familiar with one another.
In college, you likely roomed with college students that had similar lifestyles to you. Classes during the day, studying on and off, attending parties or nights out, or hosting nights in. This type of activity was typical for a college student. As a recent graduate, you and your roommates are more likely to have conflicting interests and lifestyles.
One roommate may be a workaholic, bring their work home and opt for quiet nights in. However, you may have a more flexible job, allowing you to choose your own hours, be out and about, and have friends over late on weekdays as an early morning in the office can be avoided. Without proper communication, these two lifestyles can lead to roommate clashes. As a recent graduate, set expectations about your living quarters and what you want out of the space.
Some college graduates are immediately ready to jump into a calm, settled-down life as they settle into a new career. Other recent graduates opt to live it up in life after college. For some, this can mean going out often to hit the bat, but for others, this can mean continuing to host guests at any and all times possible if that’s how they were in college. Whatever the case may be, make sure you and your roommates are on similar pages to minimize potential clashes regarding your lifestyles.
Searching for a roommate after graduating college may seem like an impossible feat, but give it time. It may not be the instant connection you are looking for, but with proper time and care, you can find roommates for your new living situation.
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 and saying goodbye to your old one.
Goodbyes are never easy, but when the time comes, here are a few ways to send your roomie off in a happy, friendly way!
Before the Roommate Leaves
1. Talk the Decision Out: A change in your living situation, especially if a roommate plans to leave, can affect you mentally and emotionally. When your roommate breaks the news that they plan to leave and move out, have a sit down just to discuss their plans, the future of your living situation, and of course, any emotions that the two of you may be feeling. You want the relationship and situation to end on a good note, so this is the time to voice how you feel, ask any questions and get concrete answers, and understand the change.
2. Go to Dinner: Once the serious conversation and sit down are out of the way, a great way to say goodbye to your roommate is by going out to dinner together. Whether you go to a fancy restaurant or a casual dine-in place, taking the time to get away from your apartment and enjoy each other’s company is a great opportunity to unwind and have fun together. Order some unique drinks, try a meal out of your norm, and don’t forget to take pictures to document the occasion.
3. Host a Party: Parties don’t have to be reserved for birthdays, and another way to say goodbye to your roommate is by hosting a going-away party! If your roommate isn’t into surprises, inform them of your plans to make sure they’re ok with it. Otherwise, keep the party a secret. Gather your friends together, put together an eclectic mix of music, get decorations, and don’t forget about the food! If ordering out or catering is too expensive, ask some of your friends to bring a few appetizers and entrees for a potluck-style gathering.
4. Help Them Pack and Clean the Apartment: A big part of moving out is de-cluttering, cleaning out your space, and packing up your belongings. Outside of the emotional weight of moving, the hectic nature of packing can be stressful, and helping your roommate deal with this is just another way to show them you care. Offer to get moving supplies like boxes and tape, help them pack their clothes, appliances, and toiletries, and try to clean furnishings, vacuum their bedroom, etc. to take some of the burden away.
After the Roommate Leaves
1. Keep in Touch: Just because your roommate moves away, doesn’t mean that you can’t maintain a relationship with them after they leave. While your schedules may not always line up, time can always be made to talk from time to time. Send text messages regularly, FaceTime or Skype on occasion, or write letters to keep in touch. Reminisce on the times you both had while living together, update one another on new things going on in your life, or even watch a movie or TV show to rekindle your old bond.
2. Arrange to Get Together: Whether your old roommate has moved a few miles down the road or to another state, finding time to get together can be difficult. Work, school, home responsibilities, family, etc. can fill up your time and create a busy schedule, so it’s important to be understanding of each others’ obligations. Nonetheless, if you both can carve out time in your schedules to go out to dinner, see a movie, grab a cup of coffee, etc., these small hangouts are just another way to keep the connection going and deal with any feelings of sadness that you both may be experiencing. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to have fun if you’re dealing with stress in life.
3. Find a New Roommate: Finding the right roommate for you can sometimes be a challenge- it’s a big decision! Living with someone other than immediate family or what you are used to isn’t always easy, but if you search for a roommate through trustworthy avenues and do your best to compromise in the areas of chores, cleanliness, communication, privacy, and paying bills, the living situation for the two of you will be stress-free and comfortable. While you are bound to run into some problems along the way, just remember to talk it out and try to see the situation from your roommate’s perspective. And remember, your old roommate will always be around to listen to and understand your potential problems!
Going from living with a roommate to dealing with them moving out is a large adjustment, and at times, proves to be difficult. If you do your best to help them before the move and keep in touch afterward, it will be a smooth experience all around!
Roommate disputes are normal, but sometimes things can escalate to the point where you need to end things with your roommate. It can be challenging, especially if you are friends, but in the end, breaking ties will save you in the long run.
Image via pexels.com
Communication is crucial in any relationship, even the one you have with your roommate. Having a conversation with your roommate about any of the issues you are facing should be the first line of defense. However, if you find yourself having to keep reminding them and they keep disrespecting your wishes or they are not willing to compromise, it may be time to find a new roommate. The first conversation should be just the two of you. If that does not work, consider having a neutral third-party person step in to help mediate. From there, if things still have not improved, consider moving on.
Your roommate may repeatedly fail to tell you if they are having visitors, especially those who may be spending the night. This is a major thing as you need to plan accordingly, so repeated offenses of not being told about visitors can be problematic. A simple text letting you know they are expecting a visitor is all it takes, so if they are unable to do even that, it may be time to break up with your roommate.
Your sleep is being disturbed
As a college student, you likely get very little sleep as it is, especially if you are busy with homework, studying, work, and student organizations. You need any amount of sleep you can get. However, your roommate may do things like play loud music or turn the lights on when you are trying to sleep. This may be okay occasionally, but if it is becoming a hassle and your grades and work performance are suffering, things need to change.
Property is disrespected
You and your roommate may have some things that you share such as certain décor items and you also have your own personal items that are all your own. If you are finding the things that are either yours are shared are being damaged or even taken, this can be grounds for finding a new roommate, especially if your roommate is not being honest about what is happening with your things. Your personal property is that- yours. You deserve to know that it is going to be respected.
Likewise, your roommate may intentionally be damaging the property you are living at. They are aware of the rules as they also signed the lease and you probably have a roommate agreement, so they know how to properly take care of the property you are renting. Damaging the rental space can negatively reflect on both roommates, even if only one roommate is to blame. It can lead to a negative reference on your next rental application and you may not get your security deposit back. If your roommate is causing property damage, it is time to cut ties.
They are not contributing to chores
Living in your own space means that you are responsible for things such as cleaning, doing the dishes, and other chores to help keep your space clean and tidy. If your roommate is not contributing to these tasks and you have talked to them about pitching in, they are disrespecting you and your time. Cleaning and doing chores in general is tiring and time-consuming. Life is busy and you may opt to take over their chores for a day or a week if you know they have been extra busy. However, if they make a habit of not pitching in, they are not taking your time and other priorities into consideration.
They do not pay their share
Life happens sometimes. Your roommate may have had a bad financial month and may be unable to pay their share of rent this month. You may also have to help them cover their food and utilities occasionally. However, if they are consistently not paying their share of the rent or they are not paying you back when you covered them, it is not fair to you. You have a limited budget as well and you need money for things such as tuition, books, and food. If this is a common issue, let your landlord know immediately and proceed to try to find a new roommate. Letting your landlord know what is happening will allow them to know that you are trying to pay your share but your roommate is not paying their share. They may be lenient and understand that you are doing your best. They will be less likely to hold this against you if your roommate is the one who is unable to pay.
Breaking up with a roommate is hard, but in the end, it can save you time, money, and hassle. If you are friends, it can also save your relationship, especially if you are constantly fighting about roommate issues.
By Aaron Swartz
There’s a lot of minutiae that comes part and parcel to living in an apartment, and one of the little complications you may have to deal with at some point in your time as a tenant is the question of subletting. Subletting is essentially adding someone to a preexisting lease, usually as a replacement for someone else. It’s common to see subletting happen when you or someone you live with is about to move and can’t wait for their current lease to end, or simply if the rent is a bit too high and you need to split the load further. This summer, if you’ve got plans involving being away from your apartment for a while you may be interested in subletting your space to keep rent payments going and your space in good shape. To help you find the best temporary replacement possible, here are our top five tips for subletting your room and finding a great subletter.
1. Check with Your Landlord
Our first tip is absolutely our most important one because if you’re not in the clear with your landlord you could be in some serious trouble. As part of the terms of the lease you signed your landlord will have made clear whether subletting is allowed, and in most cases, just going ahead without notifying your landlord will break the terms of your lease and lead to a whole mess of trouble. Before you take any steps to try and sublet your space, check with your landlord about it. They may, unfortunately, tell you that you can’t, but that’s just one of those things you have to accept might happen at the outset. Assuming it’s within the permissions of your lease and your landlord agrees, though, you can move on to searching out a great candidate to sublet to.
2. Word of Mouth
The world may be using the internet more and more every day but there’s a lot to be said about using word of mouth even still. Talk with your friends and family and let them know you’re looking to sublet your room and ask them to spread the word in their circles. We think it’s pretty likely you’ll get at least a couple of interested parties hitting up your phone and email to ask follow-up questions. One of the great perks of using your social circle to find candidates is you don’t need to worry quite so much about references and background checks; you already have at least some idea of who will be living in your home this summer.
3. Go Online
Word of mouth is great like we said, but that doesn’t mean you should discount online resources either. The most powerful tool the internet gives us is the ability to connect with all sorts of people all over, meaning you can find a lot more potential subletters when you go online. Use social media like Facebook and Instagram to start making posts and browsing local groups to see if anyone’s interested. You can also go on sites like Craigslist and other advertisement sites to directly post the details of your room and offer. You’ll have plenty of interested responses in no time.
4. Background Checks and References
When you’re inviting a stranger to live in your home it might be a good idea to do some research about them, or we think it’s a good idea anyway. References are a great place to start. Have any interested candidates provide you with a few references you can reach out to so you can better get a sense of their character. It’s a simple screening step that will save you a lot of trouble if you implement it. Additionally, if everything else about this candidate seems good we’d recommend doing a cursory background check. There’s no crazy work needed for that, but we suggest you do three things:
● Check criminal records at the county, state, and federal level
● Check sex offender registries
● Check their social media profiles and online footprint
Checking these three things will give you an accurate view of their background and should protect you from accidentally inviting a known serial killer into your home.
5. Run an Open House
Our last tip for you is a pretty simple one but it’s a great way to really get people interested and also be more honest with what you’re offering. An open house doesn’t have to be much, just an hour some afternoon, or maybe a few different times, where you show people around the space to generate interest. You can advertise it online and locally and getting some people in the door should help you secure a great subletter for the duration of the summer.
Subletting is an interesting puzzle when it comes to apartment living; you sort of have to become a realtor for a while. With these tips, you should have a great idea of how to find a great temporary roommate with zero strings attached. Happy hunting!
Living with a roommate is definitely a different experience for everyone. Some opt to live with their best friends and end up having the best time, or end up seriously questioning their friendship choices. Others elect to live with complete strangers that end up becoming their closest friends, or just stay being someone to split the bills with. Whatever the case may be, living with roommates is a life experience that allows you to learn and grow plenty.
You would be surprised by how much life experience is to be gained just by living with roommates. Keep reading for skills you learn living with roommates.
Above all, living with roommates is a big opportunity to develop your communication skills. Sure, you will work closely with classmates and colleagues in school and at work, but there’s a level of communication needed to share a living space with another person. Being able to communicate effectively with your roommates is essential in making sure that your living situation is a good one. From cleaning schedules and house rules to daily talks, communication is at the forefront of your relationship with your roommates.
Establishing a relationship between roommates, regardless of how close you are prior to move-in, will allow everyone to feel comfortable voicing their concerns and opinions. For example, if you are the common link/mutual friend between two roommates that did not know each other beforehand. Keep the dynamics in the back of your mind as you communicate – you don’t want to look like you are siding with one friend and leaving the other behind. Make sure everyone has the chance to express their opinions and have a say when it comes to their living situation.
Things are bound to go awry at least once or twice between roommates, and that is okay and to be expected. What matters most is that in the event you are the one to mess up, you take accountability for the issue at hand.
Brushing things under the rug, or even passing the blame onto another roommate will only lead to more issues. Just think about how frustrating it would be to see something go wrong in the apartment, know you were not at fault, then see the blame being shifted around as no one takes accountability for the issue. Avoid being the cause of frustration or distrust by taking accountability if you mess up, whether it be forgetting to do a chore to disregarding a roommate policy regarding guests.
When things do go wrong with roommates, no matter how small of a conflict, you need to get the issue addressed and solved in a timely and effective manner. A small issue left unaddressed can leave negative feelings among roommates to fester until another issue comes along to have the feelings explode into a full-on blowout. If the issue had been resolved when it first popped up, the impact could have been greatly minimized.
Being able to resolve conflicts between roommates as they come up is essential in keeping things smooth between roommates. Don’t be passive-aggressive – tackle issues head-on as they come.
Living with roommates, unfortunately, often leads to a lack of space. Any common areas, from kitchen counters and cabinets to hallway storage, are often fair game between roommates. This can often lead to overstuffed fridges and cluttered counters in the bathroom without proper planning and organization.
Note that everyone has the right to common spaces, so if things are getting cluttered, it’s time to sit down and evaluate the space they have. For example, if a hallway cabinet is overflowing with clothes, leaving it difficult to be used for anything else, see how you can organize the cabinet better. Who do the clothes belong to? If everyone is contributing to the clutter, you can choose to have everyone store the clothes in their personal closet. If everyone lacks proper space in their personal closets, a compromise can be to utilize a clothing rack in your living room that everyone can use, freeing up the cabinet to be used as storage for other goods.
No one wants to live in a messy apartment, especially when the mess is not even theirs, to begin with. Even if you are leaving small messes behind in your wake, if everyone is leaving their own small mess behind, it’s going to create a large mess that someone is going to have to deal with.
Do your part as a roommate in cleaning up after yourself. Take the time to sort out a cleaning schedule/rotation with your roommate to keep cleaning fair and organized.
Living with roommates definitely comes with its challenges, but looking at it as a learning experience where you can pick up valuable skills and life experience can put a positive spin on it.