Moving in with someone can be a trying experience, even if that someone is your best friend or a loved one. It can be even more difficult when your new roommate is also a stranger. After all, every one of us is our own unique individual, with our own habits and quirks. Traits that may seem charming at first can start to grate on one’s nerves over time as you get use to sharing your space with another. Before you know it, simple disagreements can devolve into screaming matches, and have you at one another’s throats.
Most conflicts between roommates cam usually be traced back to a basic incompatibility between personalities or not having clear boundaries and responsibilities that are defined when individuals first move in with one another. The following tips can make moving in with someone a little less stressful and dramatic for everyone involved.
Searching for a Roommate, Simplified
One of the best ways to reduce potential conflict with roommates is by choosing to share your space with someone whose personality and habits are compatible with your own. Try one of these apps to simply your next search for a roommate.
EasyRoommate is a free site that makes it easy to find either a place to rent, or a compatible roommate. Spend a few seconds defining your preferences in a prospective roommate, and then you are free to browse profiles. If you are a college student and need housing and roommates close to campus, you can customize your search to more narrowly define your results.
Roomster is another free to use site that makes it easy to find either a new place to rent or a new roommate. Just fill out the questionnaire and then review your roommate recommendations, which are based on the percentage of shared responses and preferences. This site allows users to connect with others using their favorite social media platforms, so you can easily connect with a prospective roommate by messaging them on social media. You can also easily glean details about their personality and lifestyle through their posts, tweets, shares and likes.
Sharing is Caring
Once you’ve found a compatible roommate, and a great place to rent together, you will want to reduce the chance of friction by establishing some boundaries and responsibilities with your new roommate.Use these tips to make certain that everyone that you will be sharing your space with understands their rights and responsibilities.
1. Make certain that everyone signs the lease agreement. If your lease agreement allows you to sublet, you could always let your buddy stay at your place, and pocket the money, without placing him on your lease, but this can be a dangerous idea. If your roommate hasn’t signed the lease, they aren’t legally responsible to pay for anything, including any damages that they might inflict upon the premises. Protect yourself, and your friendship, by having all roommates sign the lease.
2. Create and post roommate guidelines. Sit down with your new roommates and decide how you are going to divide the various bills for utilities, as well as how you will alternate common chores such as general cleaning like washing the dishes, taking out the trash, and cleaning the common areas. Print out the guidelines and have everyone sign that they agree, and then post a copy in the common area so that everyone knows what is expected of them.
3. Since roommates are sharing your space, it makes sense that they share the expenses. Especially since the overall cost of many common utilities such as the Home Telephone, Internet and Cable TV bills, can often cost less when you agree to bundled deals. Even with agreements that spell out who is responsible for paying each bill, sharing these costs are frequently a source of roommate conflict. You can remove some of the potential for stress and drama by using free apps that make it easier for roommates to pay rent and share expenses.
Free Expense and Bill Sharing Apps
There are several apps that can help you to figure out how to fairly divide and keep track of shared expenses. Two of the easiest bill sharing apps to use are Rentshare and SpotMe.
Rentshare is a free app that allows roommates to easily split their rent and pay it directly to any landlord. The site also allows users to divide common utilities such as Cable TV, and electricity. Since the app allows users to conveniently pay anyone, roommates can even use the site to split the grocery bill. One of the best features of this site is that it sends users helpful email reminders before a payment is due so that roommates are less likely to forget to pay their fair share.
SpotMe is another free expense sharing app that is compatible with the iPhone and Web. This app also helps users to easily split bills, with the app’s interface providing easy to understand visuals of balances, and itemized expenses.
By clearly defining the boundaries, you will reduce potential sources of conflict with your new roommate.
Once you’ve found a compatible roommate, agreed upon some basic responsibilities and boundaries, and created a system to make it easy to share the costs, you’ve gone a long way in reducing or eliminating many of the most common sources of roommate drama and conflict. Now, you are free to enjoy sharing your space, and your time with your new roommate as you bond over common experiences, such as trying to find something great to stream on Netflix, or how to pick out an automated home security system to make your new place safe and fun to enjoy.
Have you ever had a roommate that was just too much drama to handle? Let us know in the comments section below if you’ve used any of our tips to make moving in with someone fun and stress free. If you have any tips on how to share your space with a roommate, please feel free to share your advice with our readers!
Photo Credit: Robert Judge