“A good roommate may be the single most important thing to have when one is away at school.” –Barbara Dana
Regardless of where we are in life, it is a reality that some of us cannot afford to live alone—particularly when we are still starting out our careers or are still students. To grant us the avenue of living by ourselves, we look around for roommates to help us pay the rent. These people can be anyone from your friends to your relatives. But with all the merits and exceptional reasons to having roommates, there are in the world, we would even consider sharing a roof with total strangers. After all, what is living with a stranger anyhow if he or she can help you pay the rent of a swanky unit in Bonifacio Global City, right? Unfortunately, not all roommates are created the same and if you have ever been considered bunking with one, you most probably have heard all the horror stories involving them. Sloppy roommates who fail or otherwise refuse to clean up after themselves, roommates who steal your stuff and even roommates who regularly default on their half of the rentals—these are just a few of the range of possibilities you can have when living with a roommate.
Indeed, there are a lot of exceptional reasons to live with roommates, but living with them can either be a bane or boon. However, while hoping for the perfect roommate is not exactly realistic, there are things you can do to ensure that the person you are choosing to split the rent with would be trustworthy or at least reliable. Here are the ways how:
1.) Ask your relatives or friends
Undoubtedly, if you want to live with someone you can trust, why not live with someone you already know such as your friends and relatives? Unfortunately, while this may sound like a straightforward and easy solution to the roommate dilemma, living with friends and relatives is known to be risky. It can easily cause even the most steadfast relationships to go sour but this does not mean that you can only live with complete strangers. In lieu of having a friend or relative be your roommate, ask them instead for recommendations. You might not know these individuals personally, but you would be able to trust the recommendations of your friends and loved ones.
2.) Do multiple interviews
Considering that this potential person is not only going to be paying half of the rent, but also sharing the roof with you, it is expected for you to conduct interviews. However, do not stop at just one prospective applicant but rather, talk to several candidates and take your pick from them. Meet those who seem trustworthy and compatible and ask the right questions. Know what their likes and dislikes are. From the answers you get, you should be able to picture out whether the two of you can exist together. Furthermore, you should ask what they do for a living as this will be a good indicator whether they are reliable and can pay their share of the rent.
3.) Be upfront about costs
Let your roommates know what is expected of them and let them know what exactly it is they are signing up for. Meet them in person and discuss in detail how you are going to split the costs of the rental and utility bills. Additionally, this would be the perfect time to discuss some ground rules together about what is or not allowed while you two are under one roof.
4.) Ascertain everything is in writing
You might trust your roommate implicitly, but that would not fly if you fail to get him or her to sign the lease or sublease agreement. Regardless of how much you seem to trust this person, it is still imperative that they sign the least as in this way, you would not rely on trust alone should one of you fail to pay rent, cause damage or may do something that would make the other liable monetarily. At least legal snags would be easier to address when everything is in writing.