Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Roommate Contracts

The idea of making up a roommate contract isn’t just something you do when you’re a freshman in the dorms.  They’re crucial for any living situation, but don’t think of it as some unbreakable contract.  It’s more about having a general understanding of how you and your roommates are going to run the apartment. It's quick, easy and can make your living experience a blast!
So you’re probably wondering what is usually included in a roommate agreement?
Here’s a list of topics, but each agreement can be customized to the needs of your roommates. 

Guests – Do you need to give advanced warning? How long is it acceptable for guests to visit? Are there designated times when guests can visit?
Guidelines for use of common space  - When will you vacuum, sweep, of dust?
Personal property guidelines – How do you feel about sharing clothes, movies, or products?
Standards of cleanliness – Will everyone do their own dishes? Who and when will you clean the bathroom?
Designated quiet hours for study or sleep – Do you have early classes? Or are you a night owl?
Guidelines for sharing control of television and other appliances – Who uses the TV and when? Or how to you share gaming devises?
Weekend versus weekday rules 
How to distribute mail – Where will you put your roomies letters or packages if they aren’t there?
Fair division of shared expenses  
Deadlines for rent payment and bills
Smoking and drinking rules- When and where is it acceptable?
Allergy issues that may impact acceptable behavior – Are there certain foods that need to be kept separated?
Pet ownership and care guidelines – Make sure no one is allergic before you get a pet!
How to update roommate agreement
Consequences for violating roommate agreement

These are things to think about as you’re moving in with new roommates.  It’s even wise to discuss some of these things before you agree to sign a lease together.  Knowing how to live with other people can have a learning curve, especially if it’s your first time.  Creating a simple roommate contract can help smooth out potential problems before they start.  Take a little time to sit down with your roommates and discuss the agreement over coffee or lunch.  Hashing these issues out will help you get to know the people you’re living with and save you all trouble in the long run!

Take a look at this sample roommate contract. There are tons on online contracts.  If you don't have time to make your own, there are tons of free contracts online! 

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