How to Live with Roommates

Ask Yourself

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Download the "How to Live with Roommates" PDF

  • How much are you willing to pay for your portion of costs?
  • How do you feel about cleanliness, noise level, number of visitors, pets, etc?
  • Do you have a backup plan if your roommate(s) unexpectedly move out?

Find Your Roommate

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  • Think of people you could live with comfortably. These may or may not be your best friends at NU. Why do you think you can live together?
  • Need an NU roommate? Go to Find a Roommate on our website to view roommate listings or create your own.

Ask Your Potential Roommate

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  • How will we divide rent, deposit, and utilities? Will all roommates pay equal amounts?
  • Whose name will be on the lease (or will all tenants’) and on utility bills?
  • Who is responsible for sending payments?
  • What will we share and what will be individual (groceries, cleaning supplies, etc)?
  • How long do you plan to live here?
  • What is your daily schedule like? When will you be around?
  • What would it be like to live with each other? Sit down and talk about habits, preferences, moods, and values.
  • Get to know each other. Take the time to ask and answer questions – about family, hobbies, academic interests, etc.

Ground Rules

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  • Deadlines for rent and utility payments
  • Household chore schedule
  • Noise level and protocol for visitors/guests/significant others
  • Alarm rules, hitting the snooze button could be disturbing
  • Locking the doors when leaving
  • Preferred methods of communication (notes/text/email)
  • How conflicts will be resolved

How to Make it Work

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  • Be open, friendly, and understanding.
  • Compromise. You are both individuals with different perspectives.
  • Never assume. Talk about each other’s expectations for privacy.
  • Give each other space. Talk about each other’s needs for alone time.
  • Always ask permission. Don’t just borrow the iron or eat the cookies, even if it seems O.K.
  • Don’t repress feelings. Communicate with your roommate if he or she is doing something that is bothering you.
  • Appreciate your roommate. Praise, respect, and courtesy are the foundations for any positive relationship.
  • Check out the Roommate Checklist to read more about house sharing tips.