In 2017, 32 percent of the U.S. population lived in shared households. In other words, nearly one in every three Americans has a roommate or a housemate. Yet almost anyone who’s lived with other people will agree that finding someone to live with is one of the biggest challenges of looking for an apartment.
Once you’ve found roommates, your work isn’t necessarily over for good. After the first year of your lease (or sooner, if you’re unlucky), your roommate might decide to move elsewhere, meaning that you have to find a new roommate all over again. Alternatively, if you decide to move elsewhere and still need to live with roommates to afford your lifestyle, you’ll need to restart your hunt.
Although finding roommates is stressful and time-consuming, people do it successfully all the time. Here are the best ways to find new roommates.
If your roommate is moving out, but you’re staying
Let’s say you have a few months left on your lease, and your roommate tells you they’ll be moving out at the end of the lease. There’s nothing wrong with that – leases are only binding through their duration – but it does put you in a bit of a tight spot. Address that bind in the following ways:
1. Have your roommate help with the hunt for their replacement
Since your roommate is leaving, it’s important that they help you find someone to take over their portion of the new lease. If they were leaving mid-lease and leaving you in an especially precarious position, the majority of this responsibility would fall on them, but a respectful, end-of-lease departure means you should split this responsibility evenly.
2. Start with word of mouth
Since your roommate has given you notice with a couple of months to find a replacement, you can start by casually mentioning to your co-workers and friends that you’re looking for a new housemate to move in when your lease renews. These people or someone they know could be looking for a new apartment!
3. Turn to the internet
Housing groups on social media, classified advertisement websites, and housing search engines can expose your open room to people you wouldn’t know otherwise. When you post there, include as much detail as possible about your rent, utilities, security deposit, apartment location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, nearby public transportation, and other things that make your apartment special. You should sit down with potential roommates to chat about
If you’re moving out
If you’re moving out instead of your roommates, you too can follow the above guidelines. Tell people you’re looking for a new place to stay, visit internet sources for open rooms, and above all, be a good housemate as you depart. While you may feel less urgency to help find your replacement, it’s only right: you would want your roommate to do the same to you!
Lead the hunt for your replacement, pay off your share of the rent and utilities, pack up and move without disrupting your house’s natural order or taking up too much space, and only take your own belongings with you when you move. If you split belongings with housemates, that’s a different story.
Make sure leases are signed and deposits are paid
Once you’ve found your new roommates, make sure that everyone’s names are on the lease. Make sure your landlord collects any deposits needed. Finally, get your house keys into the right hands and enjoy your new living setup!