How a Roommate Agreement Sets Boundaries
If you are starting out in your career or have relocated to a big city, or both, you are probably going to need one or more roommates to make living in a decent apartment affordable. If you’re lucky enough to have friends to share space with, great. If not, you’re going to be living with strangers. In either scenario, having a roommate agreement in place can make your living situation much easier. Solid friendships have been blown apart from living together and if you’re going to be living with people you don’t really know, it makes sense to come from a place of common understanding.
A roommate agreement is a written contract signed by all residents of the apartment before you move in together. It covers essentials such as paying the rent and utilities, cleaning, quiet hours, guest rules, etc. You can customize the content to meet you and your roommates’ needs and there are lots of templates online that you can easily download and customize. Here are some key points to address:
The most common solution is to have all roommates split the rent evenly. However, there may be circumstances where one person has a much larger bedroom, or one person may have to sleep on a fold-out sofa in the living room. In those cases, then the rent should be divided commensurate with the amount of space each person occupies.
This is another expense that can be split evenly between roommates. Or you could take turns paying all the utilities each month. Using a “level pay” play can keep utility expenses affordable and predictable so nobody is taxed with paying huge energy bills during summer and winter peaks.
Set up a roster of who will clean which areas and how often. There are even apps that will manage that for you. You can hash out loathed and preferred chores, so everybody is happy.
There are some items where it makes more sense to have a communal supply, instead of individual inventories. Everybody can chip in to buy paper goods, spices, and cleaning supplies. You can find apps that will manage the financial side.
Will you and your roommates cook and eat together? If not, then it makes sense to designate kitchen hours, so there’s no overlap. You will also need to negotiate refrigerator and cabinet space.
Discuss each roommate’s sleeping habits and work hours, especially if they work from home. Then, designate hours where everybody will keep noise and activity to a minimum.
First, determine whether anybody living in the apartment is allergic to pets. Next, establish boundaries for areas in the apartment where the pet(s) is allowed, who is responsible for cleaning up messes, etc. The pet owner(s) should solely bear the cost of any deposits and monthly rent for pets.
This can be tricky. There need to be guidelines on having parties, as well as sleepovers. Most apartment residents aren’t comfortable with random hookups/complete strangers camping out in their space. Nor do they want to suffer through a raucous party if they are trying to work, sleep, or study.
A roommate should give other roommates ample notice if they plan to move out. This will give everybody time to adjust and find a new roommate.
Once the roommate agreement is hammered out and signed by everybody, it’s a good idea to have regular meetings to talk about the housing situation and make any adjustments to the house rules. Have this document ready to refer to during these discussions as it reiterates what’s been agreed to and keeps communication flowing smoothly. A roommate agreement paves the way for a harmonious living arrangement with you and your fellow apartment dwellers. It will also go a long way towards keeping friendships intact.
Vision has Roommate-Friendly Floorplans
At Vision Communities, our 2 and 3 bedroom apartment units are designed to be shared with your roommates. If you and your crew are looking for a great community, learn more about living in a Vision Community and explore our available floor plans near you.