The Roomster user is our best resource. Over the last decade we have listened and we have learned. Below we have highlighted several of our users experiences that we thought would help you determine what is best for you and how you can choose, live with, and find a roommate.
We thought this topic would be better presented through an example. This is a question we received by one of our users, we'll let you take a look.
Question: Can Friends Live Together?
To help both of us meet expenses, I'll be renting a basement room to a friend soon. She'll have a six month or one year lease covering rent and utilities. I have questions about sharing the living space. Can anyone share from their experience?
Answers: Discuss It First
Friends are hard people to rent to. Everyone has their own ways and things that may seem not a big deal to some really become a problem to the other person. Things that should be discussed before renting to the friend is whether you'll share food expenses or not, bathroom time usage, visitors during the week, pets, and possibly TV time. In the end, communication is key to me. I think these things should be discussed in advance to maintain a sense of harmony, and to see what works and what doesn't.
We shared a house for 3 1/2 years with a friend and never had any problems. Designate shelves in the frig (door also) for each person's belongings. Label items that might be placed in a community area with a permanent marker. As far as the laundry room goes, each person purchases their own supplies.
Place a calendar in the laundry room to sign-up on or just designate one day of the week for each resident (you have Saturday, she has Friday). Sharing a living space can be beneficial. It is always nice to have someone to watch a movie or share your day with.
Talk Calmly About Money Matters
I had a roommate once and we shared a 2 bedroom townhouse. One day, I walked in to a dripping ceiling where she left the upstairs sink on full blast and then went to work. Needless to say, I was not happy. We talked it out, and thought that house costs, especially for repairs should be split evenly. I think it's the fair thing in the end, because even if somebody ended up ruining part of the home, you both live there.
The Importance of Security Deposits
For the past 6 years I have rented bedrooms in my house to students from a near by university. It is an interesting, and rewarding experience. They have laundry and kitchen privileges. Some things that I have found to make this work for me are: I have a month to month lease I use, it is very clear that a room is being rented not whole house privileges. This permits me some privacy.
After a young man ruined some pans in the kitchen, I began charging a $100 damage/cleaning/security deposit. This is cheerfully refunded when the renter moves if there has been no damage, atnd the room is as clean as when rented. Sharing a phone didn't work out. Each renter can have a private line in their room activated if they wish.
I have found that making expectations clear at the beginning makes for a smooth experience. Finally, I furnish the laundry soap. Cuts down on congestion in the laundry room, we don't have to worry about others using our soap etc. In addition, I supply toilet paper, cleaning products, paper towels, light bulbs, and all utilities.
Having a Legal Agreement
I have rented a bedroom and bathroom in my home for more than t8 years, and, luckily, to some very nice and amenable women. When I first started renting, my then-boyfriend had been a landlord for many years. I learned some things from him, and have developed some of my own techniques.
Get legal, for instance, many stationery stores sell legally-correct rental applications and rental agreements for use in your state. Use these, even if your renter is a friend. There's always the possibility that a friendship can turn sour, and legal agreements can help you sort things out. A legal rental agreement also spells out the terms for providing a 30-day notice if you want your renter to move, or if she wants to move.
Review the rental application and make sure that you are satisfied that your renter can, based on the information, pay the rent and meet her other obligations. Define house rules by writing up some ground rules for who does what in the house. Who takes out the garbage? Who loads or unloads the dishwasher? This might sound tedious but I find it to be really helpful.
I've had several situations with roommates. The one solution that always worked was working out a schedule and posting it. By discussing it, and then writing it down, you can save a lot of misunderstandings.
Here's some ways we did it: Kitchen (we didn't eat in much)-clean up after yourself. Cupboards and Frig: we divided them and marked them, to keep our stuff separate. If there was something we wanted to share, it was marked that way. Otherwise, we kept our food separate. Also, one roommate really wanted to be a Susie home-maker, and would make meals for us both....but not tell me, and was upset with me if I didn't show up! That was weird.
Laundry: set up a laundry schedule....by days or times. Cleaning- we set up a schedule for any common areas. This was where some of the most difficulty fell. With a schedule that said person A is responsible to clean the living areas and person B cleans the kitchen/laundry areas, and then switch the following week or time frame.
Keep communication lines open. And you need to figure out who is the "boss". Since you are renting the basement, then the friend needs to know that you have to be the "landlord". Make sure you have everything in writing.