Roommates 101

Published: March 6, 2019

Whether you’re a student, young professional or an active adult who is living with a friend, navigating a roommate relationship can be a fun and exciting experience. In a shared apartment, you have your personal space and a larger communal area, so it’s important to discuss each other’s living habits before moving in together.   

Choose Your Roommate Carefully

Whether it is someone you know well, or connected with elsewhere, having a roommate has legal implications that should be considered.  Ensure that both of you are on the lease so you each have equal rights to the suite and deposit.  If you are both on the lease, Boardwalk cannot deny service or entry to another in situations of dispute.  To remove any one person from the lease or ask someone to leave, a written agreement is necessary with a signature from all parties.  Lastly, all roommates and leaseholders are responsible jointly and severally. That means outstanding rent, even moveout charges, can be collected from all or any one party.

Decide what Personal and Communal Space Is

The last thing anyone wants is for someone else to invade their personal space. Before moving in, you should decide what is considered personal space and what is considered shared space in the apartment. Defining each other’s boundaries will ensure a peaceful living situation.

Respect Your Roommate’s Stuff

This may seem simple, but it's one of the biggest reasons why roommates experience conflict. Do you share your pots, pans and utensils? What about your shampoo? Be clear about what you’re okay with sharing, and have a clear understanding of what your roommate is willing to share with you.

Consider a Chore Chart

Though you should probably outline some cleaning expectations in the initial roommate agreement, it helps to keep track of what’s getting done with a chore chart. Discuss exactly what each task involves, how often it should be done and who should do it — it’s an excellent way to avoid roomie spats down the line.

Address Small Problems ASAP

It’s important to solve problems when they’re still small. If you let things build up over time, it may add unnecessary stress and frustration to the relationship. If your roommate does something small that bothers you, you should speak to them right away to clear the air. Sometimes things can be perceived wrong, and a simple discussion will fix things. After all, your roommate may not even know that there's a problem.

Discuss Visitors

Be mindful of how often you have people over. Many people have experienced living with someone whose boyfriend or girlfriend was more of a third roommate than an occasional guest. Speak with your roommate about this, and make sure you don't overstep any boundaries when inviting others over.

It requires very little energy to be a good roommate. Whether you're moving into an apartment with your best friend or with a stranger, a little respect and understanding will go a long way in maintaining an enjoyable living experience.

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