The Roommate Rules List You’ll Want to Copy Right Now

Roommates can be a major blessing if you want to save a little on rent or see a friendly face around. But living with someone new can be tricky as well. Will they do the dishes? Do they have pets? Will they play dubstep at 2 am?

Even if you find a perfect roommate (check out these apartment ad tips for help with that!), it’s important to set some ground rules. Save yourself serious headaches down the line by following this roommate rules list.

6 Essential Roommate Rules

1. Divide bills fairly (and on time!).

No one likes to talk about money. It can be awkward and uncomfortable, but talking about bills up front is a lot easier than arguing over a late payment fee. Be consistent, and you’ll hopefully never need to discuss money again!

Questions to Ask:

  • How will you split the bills?
  • What expenses are you sharing? (Netflix? Eggs? Cleaning costs?)
  • If one roommate pays bills directly, when and how should they be repaid?

2. Follow the cleaning schedule.

We all have different expectations when it comes to cleaning. For every spick-and-span Mr. or Mrs. Clean out there, someone else doesn’t mind dust on the shelves or dishes in the sink. Hopefully, you’ve found a kindred cleaning spirit in your roommate, but you’ll still want to establish a few rules.

Questions to Ask:

  • How long can dishes be kept in the sink?
  • How clean should we keep the common areas?
  • How often should we wipe down counters or clean the microwave?
  • Can magazines and mail stay on the kitchen table?
  • Are there certain chores we each prefer to do? (Can someone clean and the other cook? Does someone’s asthma prevent them from dusting?)

3. Pets are the owner’s responsibility.

If you’re bringing Fido into the apartment, remember he’s still your pet. Check with your roommates’ preferences on having a pet in the apartment.

Questions to Ask:

  • Is your roommate comfortable caring for your pet if you’re not around?
  • What happens if your pet damages something? (Does carpet cleaning come out of your deposit? Will you replace a cat-scratched sofa or pay to repair it?)
  • Can you get a new pet? (Does your roommate mind any species or breeds? Are they cool with a new animal in the apartment?)

4. Don’t borrow without asking.

When it comes to food and household goods, sharing an apartment can be awkward. Just because something’s there, doesn’t necessarily mean you can use it. While some people may be comfortable with their roommate borrowing a shirt, a pan, or a glass of milk, many aren’t. Set ground rules as to what you’re each comfortable sharing and remember: when in doubt, ask.

Questions to Ask:

  • Is there anything you can always borrow, or should you ask each time?
  • What expectations do they have for you returning their stuff? (If you use a roommate’s frying pan, when do you expect them to clean it? If you finish the eggs, do you need to buy the next carton?)

5. Respect each other’s space.

Your bedroom is your bedroom. Maybe your bathroom is just your bathroom. But your living room? Your kitchen?… That’s shared space and should be treated as such so all roommates can live comfortably.

Questions to Ask:

  • What are your views toward overnight guests?
  • How do you feel about parties? (Do you need notice? Is the host solely responsible for cleaning up afterward?)
  • Should the living room be quiet after certain hours?

6. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

Even the best roommate agreement won’t cover every issue between you and your roommate. There’s nothing worse than a passive-aggressive-post-it-notes-on-the-fridge feud with your new roomie. Communicate before things grow into significant problems.

After you find the right roommate, we can help you find the right apartment. Use to see all of the latest apartments in your area and refine your results by amenity, price, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, and more!