Becoming Roommates: Essentials to Consider

Having a roommate comes with several benefits. Splitting the bills is easily the biggest pro. And it’s not just rent. It’s all of the bills that include cable, water, trash, and any other services you may pay for like Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Also, 2 and 3 bedroom apartment homes also offer more square footage than a typical studio or 1 bedroom residence. The more space that each of you has, the better.

But there may also be an unwanted side as well. If you choose an incompatible roommate, it may leave with your feelings such as anger and stress. Best friends even find out that that living together isn’t what they thought it would be.

So we try and take the guessing game out of this whole process and offer you some tips that will help solidify a quality roommate.

Make sure Money Doesn’t Become an Issue

Money can become a driving wedge between roommates. After all, if you pay your rental share on-time every month but your roommate is late, late fees will incur, and this can quickly become an issue. Or if they fail to pay their share of the cable, you will find yourself covering the entire amount.

Sit down with your potential roommate and discuss how much money each of you will be making a month. Also, communicate how both of you can save money. The apartment manager will run a credit check, but you also need to have a heart to heart as well.

It’s also a good idea to discuss other bills that all of you may have to pay, like student loans and credit card debt. These conversations aren’t comfortable at first, but they can prevent you from a problematic situation in the future.

Discuss the money

Discuss who pays the cable or the lights each month. Usually, one renter will sign up for the utilities. So it makes sense that one person will be responsible for each specific bill each month. So the best method here is to divide them up as evenly as possible. So one roommate may pay for the cable monthly while the other pays for the lights. There are great apps you can download to your phone like SplitWise. They allow you to divide bills and make sure everyone gets paid back fast.

One quick rule to remember. Never get in the habit of covering any expenses for your roommate. If you do, it’s a good idea to plan on never getting that money back.

Buying food can also be a tricky situation. Unless you do the shopping together and split that bill evenly, one person usually will be the one who spends more time in the grocery store and thus paying out of pocket for food. Also, we have seen many times that one roommate will consume more food than the other(s).

Here are a couple of solutions to consider:

  1. Label your food, so the other roommates realize that it’s off limits.
  2. If labeling is too big of a deal, have the other roommate venmo the money to your account, so groceries are split evenly.
  3. If your not a foodie, then you probably don’t go shopping much. You are probably a person that grabs a bagel for breakfast and eats out quite a bit. In this situation, you don’t keep much food at home, and this won’t be much of an issue at all.

Once you have the money situation figured out, then you can move onto the next topic.


If you don’t like pets, (and there are many of you who don’t) then living with them will be a big shock to you. Others who love them, let them sleep in their beds and allow them to lay on the couch. They track in dirt and unless they take regular baths, they will give off an odor.

Discuss pet policy

If your not a pet person then you probably will want to find another roommate. But if you don’t have any other options and cannot afford the rent on your own, here are some tips.

  1. Keep your door to your bedroom closed at all times. Dogs and Cats will wander in all the rooms in the apartment. And one day you will find that they have fallen asleep on top of your bed.
  2. Don’t invest in any expensive furniture in the common areas. You might ask your roommate to purchase a doggy bed or chew furniture. Ask that their cat be declawed (if he or she already hasn’t been)
  3. Many apartments charge pet deposits, fees, and even monthly pet rent. You shouldn’t have to pay for these and rightly so. Be sure that you bring this to the attention of your roommate.

Now if you are the one with the pet. You should appreciate the situation. Approach your roommate and ask about any concerns they have. A thorough discussion should alleviate many of the issues before they occur.

Determine their Lifestyle

Now you will need to find out what kind of person you will be living with. Remember that how they lead their life will affect you too.

Cleaning: People who keep a clean environment simply cannot live with someone who doesn’t mind clutter and regularly leaves dirty dishes and clothes lying around the common areas. If you have specific requirements, make them known upfront.

Chores: Many roommates put up a calendar on the freezer. Determine who cleans the kitchen, bathrooms, and living areas every week. It is best to rotate these tasks. That will minimize the complaints. Or you can agree on hiring a cleaning service that will do this weekly.

Don’t forget about taking out the trash. Many apartments have valet trash which is nice. But in the event you don’t, someone will have to physically transport it to the dumpsters outside.

Remember that discussing the major topics upfront will reduce any foreseeable future issues. That way both of you can live happily in your next home.

Renting with your friend is easier with Rentberry. Learn how to apply for the apartment with a roommate, and sign up today to find the perfect home.

Author Bio

Andrew works at Rentkidz – a free apartment locating company that serves the Texas area. Their agents assist individual customers to find and secure apartment housing based on their specific needs.

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