For some people, being a good roommate is innate. For other’s, it is not, and that’s why below is an explanation of three core guidelines to being a good roommate. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be able to live in harmony with roommates whom you may know well or may have never even met face-to-face. These guidelines translate from college life well into adulthood.
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1. Pay Rent
Now, this may seem like a given, but situations can arise when a roommate is not capable of or simply does not want to pay rent. This guideline is the basis for being a good roommate and should never be overlooked. Sometimes money can be tight, so it’s hard to pay rent and still have leftover money for necessities. Refer to “Tips for Low-Income Students” for help with that.
When leasing, your landlord may give you some leeway on the exact date you must pay rent without receiving late payment charges. Most places give you until the fifth of each month to pay your rent in full. If you are subleasing, there is not much leeway on the date that you must pay rent. You and whomever you are subleasing from should write out agreements on the exact date that you will be paying your portion of the rent each month.
Ultimately, if you pay your rent on time each month, you should get along with your roommates well. However, there are still two other very important guidelines for making your home life harmonious with your roommates.
2. Be clean and clean up after yourself
Most people like living in a clean environment, and depending on you and your roommates, that means cleaning common areas and your own area as well. Many people find creating a chart of chores that roommates are assigned to weekly or monthly to be very helpful. Rotating these duties weekly or monthly makes it fair for all who are living in your home.
Sometimes you may find yourself picking up the slack for other people, and all you can really do in that situation is hope that it reciprocates when you may be swamped with work or school and are having a hard time getting your duties done. Either way, everyone in your house should pull their own weight as far as cleaning goes. The most harmonious roommates usually have a mutual level of cleanliness that they prefer their house to be in, and if you aren’t on the same page, it may be time to find a new place to live or vice versa.
3. Be courteous and friendly
In order to get along with your roommates, it is somewhat of a necessity that there is mutual respect and courteousness for each other. It’s fairly easy to determine how long a relationship can last based on how people treat each other. In the instance of roommates, depending on how long you’d like your living situation to last will be determined by how well you treat each other. This can also apply to other relationships in life. We usually don’t tend to stay in relationships or maintain friendships with people who treat us poorly. Healthy relationships are a necessity for a harmonious roommate dynamic, which means being courteous and friendly to the people or person you are living with. If you find that you have to force yourself to be kind, friendly, or courteous to anyone who you live with, it may be time to find another place to live.
There are many other ways to be a good roommate (and a good person), so if you follow these three guidelines to their core, you should find yourself being a very solid person to live with. Whether you’ve never moved out of your parent's house and are planning to, are in a living situation that isn’t working, or are simply looking for ways to make your current living situation better, these three guidelines should prove themselves valuable.
Alec Mackenzie is a writer from the San Francisco Bay Area and currently lives in the Greater Los Angeles Area. He has been writing creatively since high school and throughout his college career, with versatile experience in fiction, non-fiction, journalism, and screenwriting. When not working at his day job, he enjoys being outside, staying active, cooking, and writing.