Whether your roommate is a relative, close friend, or someone found online, sharing space can get tricky! (Take this quiz to find out what type of roommate situation is best for your personality.)
It’s important to establish a set of rules, but also to check-in regularly, to make sure the rules still make sense and everyone if comfortable with them. Set up a regular time, like 8pm on the first Sunday of the month, to settle bills, check-in with each other, and maybe have some wine and cheese! Situations change all the time, perhaps you or one of your roommates got a new job, boyfriend, or dietary restriction (perhaps become vegan), that can totally change how your apartment functions!
Here are some basic rules to start out with:
- Who checks the mail? Do they put everyone’s mail in a central spot or leave others’ in the box?
- Who is in charge of each bill, like utilities and cable? How will they be paid?
- Can we wear shoes inside?
- Do we lock the door every time we leave? (I once had a roommate who refused to lock the door. In NYC.)
- What time does everyone shower?
- What is communal and what is not?
- Does everyone chip in for communal supplies (like toilet paper), or do you rotate buying it?
- If someone breaks something, who is responsible to replace it?
- Is there a cleaning schedule?
- If I don’t cook, do I still have to clean the kitchen? (Answer should be yes…)
- How long are dishes allowed to sit in the sink (24 hours?)
- How long does food sit in the fridge before anyone can throw it away? Do we date it with marker?
- Where do we leave shared, portable things like the TV remote?
- What can be left in communal spaces? Magazines? Makeup? Nothing?
- Who is in charge of calling the super when something breaks?
- Who calls the cable/gas company and waits home for them?
- Who does the communal laundry, like dish towels and bath mats?
- What is the guest policy? Is advanced notice necessary?
- Do we have any policies for throwing a party?
- Are copies of the keys forbidden? (Yes, they should be.)
- Will we chip in to get our building staff holiday gifts?
- Is smoking allowed in the apartment?
- Do we have official quiet hours?
- If someone wants/needs to move out, how much advance notice is expected?
Let us know in the comments below if we missed your must-include roommate rule #25!