One of the best ways to share your apartment peacefully is for you and your new roommate to put together a Roommate Agreement. This agreement can be as formal or informal as you want, as long as you both agree to the terms presented. Both parties (or more if you share your space with 2 or more people) should sign the agreement, promising to uphold the issues presented. You and your roommate should sit down and take some time to address the issues that below and write up your agreement according to the specifications of your living space, as well as your personal preferences.
In the long run having this agreement as a reminder of each of your responsibilities will ease tension when disagreements happen. All childishness and drama will be set aside, and you and your roommate will live together peacefully…and have fun too!
The following are some things to consider when forming your Roommate Agreement:
- Expenses. This for many is the hardest issue, but once things are made clear as to who is responsible to pay for what life together will be easier. With respect for each other decide on the rent payment division, food and grocery expenses, and any subsequent utility expenses such as electricity, garbage pick up, or parking.
- Storage Spaces. If your apartment, like many, is limited to closet and cabinet space, thoughtful division for personal items will be helpful. Examine all the storage areas together and agree to who will use what space. Keep the space division as equal as possible. This includes kitchen cabinets, refrigerator shelf space, bathroom cabinets, closets, and the entertainment center if you have one, and any built-in shelving.
- Space of Apartment in General. Consider what areas of the apartment are shared, like kitchen, living room, and bathroom, and what areas are considered private space, such as your bedroom. Agree to how each of you will approach the others’ private space and adhere to this agreement.
- Personal Items. It is most important to consider what items are to be shared and what items are to be kept for individual personal use. Decide how all food items will be shared and be respectful. If one of you has dietary issues this could be very important. Also make agreements on other personal items like shampoos, towel usage, and other grooming essentials like blow dryer use. Apply labels to items that are personal so there is no confusion.
- Cleanliness. If both of you are neat freaks I see no problems! But, as with normal living, not all of us are neat 100% of the time. Make an agreement to keep the place looking neat by not leaving unnecessary items around the shared spaces, like clothing, used dishes, ashtrays, magazines, etc. Also, and most importantly, make a chore list for each of your weekly responsibilities to keep the apartment clean. These chores can be rotated weekly or to your own preferences. In this way each of you will be clear on who is responsible for what and held accountable. Post the list in the kitchen area, or somewhere visible as a reminder to get things done.
- Noise issues. Make rules to acceptable noise levels for certain times of day. If you or your roommate is a musician, make agreements to when and where you will each practice your instrument and at what times of day so as not to inconvenience the other. Other things to consider are music playing and TV watching and the volume used for each.
- Parties and Overnight guests. Another thing to consider is when and how often each of you will have overnight guests or parties. Set agreeable limits. Decide on how much notice needs to be given to your roommate when planning a party or having someone stay over. It’s no fun to wake up and make your way half naked to the kitchen for coffee, only to find some strange guy sitting there. Be sure to inform your roommate beforehand when having someone over. This way no surprises or problems will arise. Planning to have a party together will be tons of fun and with each of you informed properly, with enough time to make arrangements for it or otherwise, this will keep the occasion from getting ruined with a disagreement.
Hope you found some of these suggestions interesting and useful. If you are already sharing an apartment, there is no reason not to incorporate a Roommate Agreement into your present arrangement. This will inevitably help to remove potential conflicts. Thanks for reading.
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Finding a roommate to share your Allentown apartment can be a difficult task, but one of the key strategies on your search is to meet the potential roommate in person and interview them. They in turn may do the same. I discovered through experience some interesting questions that you should include on your questionnaire and thought I’d share.
image: Cafe by Stockholm Syndrome
As protocol for the meet up, make sure you decide on a public place to have the interview, especially if this is a stranger responding to your ad for a roommate. Make it a comfortable place, where you can have a coffee or tea and get to know each other. Avoid bars and liquor. You want to have a clear head and a clear atmosphere. Also, I suggest you meet during the day if possible, on a weekend perhaps if you both work full time, or during a lunch hour.
Open your meeting with a nice greeting, and a handshake. First impressions? Take notes in your mind when you can. Your first impression will take you far. Trust them. An immediate bad feeling can be telling you something. When you sit down, don’t be afraid to bring out your list and take notes. This is your place you want to share after all. You will want to find someone truly compatible to make life easier, not more stressful. With that said, here are the questions:
- Have you shared an apartment with someone before?
- Was the person you roomed with a relative, girlfriend or boyfriend, co-worker, or friend?
- Why did you decide to move out?
- Was there any problem with your previous roommate?
- Do you have a full time job?
- What are you work hours?
- Do you do any work at home? How often?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you use recreational drugs or alcohol?
- Are you in a serious relationship? Will your boyfriend or girlfriend be staying over and how often?
- Do you have a special diet that you follow, vegetarian, diabetic, vegan, or any other?
- Are you religious? Does your religious principles effect you daily living and how so?
- Do you consider yourself a neat person or carefree and sloppy?
- Will you be will to do a share of the chores to maintain a neat and clean apartment?
- Will you share the cost of cleaning products for the apartment?
- Are you willing to work out and divide the cost of a grocery list each week?
- Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
- Friends? How many?
- Will your friends visit a lot, and do you like to throw parties for your friends? (This isn’t a bad thing, as long as the two of you are in agreement!)
- Do you watch much television? What do you watch? How often?
- What time do you usually go to bed, and what time do you get up?
- Are you a musician? What instrument do you play? How often do you practice?
- Are you willing to co-sign a lease?
- Are you willing to sign a roommate agreement?
- Are you able to supply references from previous roommates, employer, or previous landlord?
Asking any of these questions will open a dialogue with your new acquaintance and will help you get a feel of what the person is like. Keep in mind that this list is designed for an interview with someone you’ve never met before. If the person you’re meeting is an acquaintance, adjust the questioning accordingly….or perhaps not! It’s up to you, but do take the time to get to know a person before jumping in to sharing your Allentown apartment.
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