Living with roommates can be a great experience, but it’s important to discuss a wide range of topics before you sign the lease and move in together. Open and honest conversations will help set expectations and hopefully decrease problems down the road.
Here are some of our suggestions for questions to ask both yourself and your potential future roommate(s):
- Whose name will be on the lease (or will all tenants)?
- What bills are not covered by the rent payment (gas, electricity, recycling, water, cable, internet, etc)?
- Whose name will be on these bills? How do other roommates pay these costs?
- How financially stable are you? What are your income sources or other debts?
- How will food and other disposable items be paid for and/or shared (milk, cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, etc)?
- If you rent a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment, who gets the big bedroom? Who shares the bathroom? Do all roommates have the same costs?
- Who will occupy which areas of the apartment?
- How long with each individual remain a resident of the unit? Is anyone going on an internship or studying abroad? Are your roommates graduating next year? What are your plans?
- Does anyone plan to sublet? If so, when?
- How will disputes be resolved?
- What methods of communication do you prefer? (texting, in-person, email)
- Do you and your roommates have the same understanding of your relations? Are you looking for a best friend to live with, someone with whom to do things on weekends, or just a roommate?
- What's an average day look like for you? (e.g. early bird vs. night owl, class schedule, etc.)
- What kinds of leisure activities might you want to do in the apartment/house?
- In what order would you put these activities: work, play, clean, and rest?
- How do you spend your weekends/days off?
- How many nights a week do you go out?
- Is it okay to leave your books/projects laid out in the shared areas?
- What are your feelings about the use of tobacco, alcohol, and/or other drugs?
- What kinds of guidelines do you and your roommates want to set for guests and/or significant others?
- Which bathroom will guests use?
- How will you and your roommates divide cleaning/cooking/other household responsibilities?
- Are you messy or clean?
- Do you cook at home?
- Which items, electronics, and appliances can be shared? What cannot be shared?
- Are pets allowed? Will you or your roommates have a pet? Will everyone help with the responsibilities?
- Any allergies or special dietary needs
Updated Roommate Checklist for COVID-19
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it's especially important to communicate frequently with your roommate(s) and address any concerns or actions that might put your household’s health and safety at risk. Here is an updated Roommate Checklist with some suggested questions to ask yourself and your current or potential roommate(s).
- What are your personal thoughts on the COVID-19 situation?
- Are you taking additional precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19?
- Have you, someone in your household or someone you regularly interact with been diagnosed with COVID-19?
- Are you in a vulnerable population outlined by the CDC?
- What are your thoughts on guests? If at least one roommate deems it unsafe or is uncomfortable with having others over, are you willing to honor that?
- If one of us has symptoms or tests positive for COVID, what is our mutually agreed upon plan of action? Are you prepared to isolate?
- What are your long-term plans? Can you commit to a 12-month lease? What might happen that would cause you to prefer a shorter lease (planning to study abroad, financial considerations, switch to fully remote classes, etc.)?
- Do you wear a mask in public?
- What are your shopping habits and frequency? How have you been getting groceries?
- What are your study/work habits during this time? Have you been working remotely or in-person in an essential capacity?
- How often do you plan on using our shared living space with guests (e.g. living room)?
- How often do you visit or stay with family, significant other(s), or friends?
- As restaurants and bars start to reopen, what are your plans? Will you immediately visit these establishments, or take time before venturing out?
- Do you have plans to travel this year? (i.e. ski trips, plane travel, other outdoor activities, holidays, winter break, etc.)