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Living with roommates can be tough, but when rents and property prices continue to rise, many renters turn to roommates to weather the economic storm while maintaining a decent standard of living. After all, you’re just sharing some of the spaces; how bad could it be with so many advantages?
Since 2021, more than 8.4 million people live in NYC, and over 40% are living with roommates – which brings up the question, how do you find a good roommate, and how do you recognize the red flags early on?
1. Get to Know Your Roommates1. Get to Know Your Roommates
Most roommates are those you may already know from existing relationships, such as family, dating, friends, or acquaintances. Nonetheless, do you know what you’re signing up for?
The person you’ve known for years may act quite differently when living with them. That’s why you must get to know their quirks and shortcomings before signing a lease.
2. Discuss Boundaries, Rules, and Expectations2. Discuss Boundaries, Rules, and Expectations
When living with roommates, you’ll inevitably have to share common areas like the kitchen, dining room, and maybe even the bathroom.
Harmony in the home requires open communication about lifestyles, routines, and limits, which also includes topics such as:
- Bringing friends over/sleepovers
- Sharing food/clothing
Open communication about preferences, lifestyles, and boundaries is a must. For example, suppose your roommate is a musician and wants to practice in the living room at strange hours. In that case, you’ll need to negotiate a schedule that suits both of you (“curfew”). When rules are discussed and agreed open, arguments are less likely to occur.
3. Clear Communication3. Clear Communication
Having clear communication before and during the time of moving in together is a given; however, many don’t know how to communicate clearly when it comes to boundaries and preferences.
Here are some tips:Here are some tips:
- Be curious: Before assuming, just ask
- Be honest: As hard as it is, being open and honest is key
- Be flexible: You won’t always be able to get your way
- Be communal: Consider having regular monthly meetings to talk about what’s going well or what isn’t
- Be solution-oriented: There’s a big difference between “You’re so lazy” versus. “How can we organize a cleaning schedule that works for both of us?”
4. Share Responsibilities4. Share Responsibilities
Everyone’s experience with responsibilities and tasks will differ while moving out of a family home. One person may have grown up with a parent who did all the housework, while another may have shared responsibilities with everyone in the household.
Consider having a chore chart to split chores and responsibilities evenly; here are some tips:
- Get on the same page about standards
- Make a chore list
- Divide chores 50/50
- Agree on accountability
5. Respect Personal Property5. Respect Personal Property
One person’s idea of a breach of privacy may not be the same as another’s. This is why you must have an open discussion about what you consider private or off-limits before living with roommates.
Here is a list of potential privacy concerns:Here is a list of potential privacy concerns:
- Always ask for permission before using something that isn’t yours
- Knock before entering shared spaces or rooms
- Be sensitive toward feelings
- Give space
- Don’t air out problems between you and your roommates
6. Have a Plan for When Your Roommate Moves Out6. Have a Plan for When Your Roommate Moves Out
People often understand that roommates are only there for a limited period before moving on. This is why it’s best to make preparations early on.
Make sure any damages are fixed or paid by your roommate, and all bills are paid up. You should also notify the landlord if your roommate is moving out before the lease or rental agreement ends. In this situation, you can ask the landlord to release you from the lease or request to find a new co-tenant.
Final Thoughts on Living With RoommatesFinal Thoughts on Living With Roommates
As the real estate market approaches record highs in expensive cities like New York City, living with roommates may be your only option if you want to live in a convenient location.
Still on the hunt for a suitable living space? Contact an Elika expert who will help guide you to your perfect new home.