How To Be A Good Roommate (I Dare You To Care)

What’s up V.I.P’s. I’ve officially dealt with roommates for the past 6 years here In Los Angeles so I think I have this down just from experience; and for those of you who also have a roommate, I’m sure you can relate. I’ll try to be direct and thorough as much as possible so here goes..

GO OVER THE HOUSE RULES

It’s move in day and your excited to move in your furniture; your excited to finally have a place to call home, and pretty optimistic on the roommate you’ve chosen to live with for the next 6 months to a year. Whether they’re a romantic partner, a family member, a friend or a complete stranger from online, talking about the house rules early on before you move in is super important and sets the tone. I would hope you do this before signing the dotted line and moving in together; but I wanted the set up for this paragraph to sound pretty, okay? Communicate what your likes and dislikes as far as living arrangements are concerned. Find out if the other person likes to have company over all the time. Do you both want cable or wifi or both? Discuss what utility bills will go in who’s name.
Discuss an official quiet hour, so there’s no confusion on someone being loud at a particular hour of the night. Do you both want to split toiletry items and groceries each month to save money? Should we assign a common area to each person to clean each month? Some of these sound a little elementary, but you will get a lot of clarity from just simply communicating. These tips, I find work best with people who have strangers for roommates and need to fill a room so the rent can be paid. If you know the person your moving in with, it doesn’t mean you know how they live. That’s two completely different things. As the old saying goes: “If you want to find out who someone is, live with them.”

PAY THE RENT ON TIME

This one is a no brainer but you’d be surprised. You need the space? Cool. It’s going to cost you every once of the month. And it has to be on time. Of course, this issue is between you and the landlord so it’s none of my business. That’s of course if you have a separate rental agreement with the landlord. If not, it’s just as much as my business as it is yours.
You see, to be a good roommate, you have to be considering of others. And if your not, it won’t be pretty and there will be tension in the room. That’s of course, if both or all roommates don’t care about being evicted. If 2 people are renting an apartment for example, and one person has their rent faithfully every month and the other roommate doesn’t, we’ve got a problem. The landlord doesn’t care about 50% of the rent being on time, they will charge a late fee and both parties are technically responsible. But of course, if your short on the rent, your definitely paying all of the late payments over here!

CLEAN AFTER YOURSELF IN THE COMMON AREAS

For me, this one is a big deal. Often times, I find it hard to find roommates who care about this and it can be pretty tricky actually getting someone to clean after themselves so let me explain. The kitchen, bathroom and living room are all common areas. If I go in the kitchen, cause a mess, let say a medium size mess that’s definitely noticeable, and decide to clean it up about 4 weeks later, that kinda defeats the purpose of me agreeing to clean up after myself. If my roommate comes along and gets to the mess before I do, that’s pretty unfair because more than likely my roommate will always get to MY mess before me. So I beg of you, please clean up after yourself when you make a mess. Not 2 weeks later, not 4 weeks later. Later that night? Fine. A day or two later? Cool. Please be considerate of the cleanliness of our place and the respect for the other person.

SOMETHING BOTHERING YOU? SPEAK UP

There’s nothing worse than passive aggressive roommates. If something is a deal breaker for you, speak up and talk about it. Tread lightly of course and approach it in a nice way. Don’t come with negative, bad energy or it may not end well. You must communicate if you have issues or you’ll be at war with yourself constantly and who wants to deal with that in their own home? Wha’s worse is passive aggressive behavior. Then it can get ugly.

PAID OR BORROWED MONEY? GET IT IN WRITING!

Luckily for me, I’ll never run into this issue because I don’t let anyone borrow money from me, unless its me borrowing from my own 401k account. But if you must let someone borrow money, I BEG OF YOU to please get it in writing to pay you back. Have them sign it. Date it. I don’t care if it seems weird because its a friend you’ve known for a long time. I don’t care if you care what they will think of you if you drew up a contract. It’s to protect you in the event you have to take them to small claims court. If they act funny or catch an attitude because of it, that lets you know they don’t have the best intentions anyway. A good family member or friend would want to pay you back and wouldn’t mind signing the dotted line. This goes for the same if you’re one of those people who pay rent in cash to another roommate. Get a receipt, PLEASE. Find a pen or pencil and write it down on SOMETHING and keep it for your records. You don’t want someone down the road to intentionally or unintentionally think you didn’t pay rent.

If you follow these steps, you should be good. At the end of the day, one theme to take from this is to communicate. It’s the simplest thing but a lot of people lack this skill. Force yourself to communicate more if you normally don’t. Trust me, having a roommate will teach you the hard way if you don’t. For me, I look at all my roommates as a business transaction. That way, no feelings can get hurt and nothing is personal. We don’t have to be friends, we don’t have to mingle but what we do have to do is respect each other and each others space and property. Thanks for tuning in. Share this with someone who could use it. Later,

-V

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