Protect yourself financially when it comes to new roommates

So, I lost the roommate battle. Well, perhaps I should say that I conceded — with certain strict requirements.

When we left off last week, I wasn’t crazy about this chick’s personality. However, after seeing her one more time, she seemed. . . nice enough. And, pretty stable. Not exactly, the glowing words one would like to use to describe their ideal roommate, but. . .it could have been worse; she won’t be keeping a python under her bed or throwing raves in our living room. However, there was still the financials to be discussed due to her unemployment status**. This was where I held my ground — and you should too.

My current roommate’s tagline was pretty much, “Oh, she’s fine. She’ll be able to pay rent.” However, this was unsubstantiated by. . .anything. With no job and no offer to share nary a bank statement, my roommate was asking me to trust her friend. Yeah, no. What I needed was to know what would happen should the worst occur — who was going to be responsible for paying her rent($900)?? Was my roommate going to agree to be her guarantor(a person who is legally responsible to pay rent should the renter prove unable) If so, would she sign a document saying so?

Turns out. . .nope, she would not. Her friend’s parents would, however, and now we have a happy little form clearing my current roommate and I of all financial responsibilities. She also signed a sublet agreement with the girl who’s room she took.

Messy? You bet. Awkward? Uh, totally. Necessary? DEFINITELY. Especially now, when everyone’s wallet is tight, it’s important to protect yourself.

***I should say that if I, your MyFirstApartment maven, were to look for an apartment right now, I would also expect to be vetted thoroughly. This situation is not a matter of being nice vs not nice; it’s that signing a lease a business agreement with financial consequences. If the apartment doesn’t pay the full amount on the lease, your landlord can take you to court and win. With or without Judge Judy, you’ll be on the hook.

Author My First Apartment
Alissa

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I've lived in apartments in 6 cities (including 2 foreign countries). Does that make me an expert? As of now, my ceiling isn't leaking and I don't have rodents (knock on wood) -- so I'm going to say yes . . . but ask me again tomorrow:) These days, I'm enjoying life Chicago style, but my years in Brooklyn are never far from my mind. P.S. By day I work at GolinHarris, but these opinions are totally, 100% my own.

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