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Roommates and Guests

Roommates can save you money by sharing rent and other expenses. It’s also important to understand that you are responsible for the rent even if your roommate does not pay. It is difficult to try to take someone to court over rent money that may be owed to you. It’s always best to choose a person you already know; or someone who a close friend or family member recommends.

Ask yourself if you would you be able to live with someone who:

  • Needs loud music to go to sleep.
  • Doesn’t like or share housework.
  • Uses drugs.
  • Eats your food and snacks.
  • Likes to party often.

When choosing a roommate, communication is important. Compromises can be reached before small problems become big issues. Talk about:

  • Personality differences and values.
  • Housekeeping attitudes.
  • How space and other resources will be shared (food, television, supplies, etc.).
  • Sleeping habits.
  • Social habits.
  • Overnight guests.

Written roommate agreements are a helpful way to avoid future conflict. Decide whose name will be on which utility bills. Discuss what happens if someone moves out before the lease is up. Decide how space and other resources (food, television, etc.) will be shared. Agree on the frequency of visitors and overnight guests. Answering these questions in advance can prevent a lot of arguments. You can Google “roommate agreement” and find a number of example roommate agreements that you can use.

Protecting yourself

Do not give confidential information to your roommate. Never give your roommate your social security number. Be very careful about giving other information, including your password to your computer. Make sure you have a safe place to store valuables. If you can’t lock the door to your room, buy a safe to store your valuables.