Creating Roommate Rules for Your College Apartment
You come home after class on a Thursday night to find that there’s a party being thrown in your apartment. You walk in to noisy music, a messy kitchen, and absolutely no peace and quiet – and that killer biology midterm is tomorrow. Don’t let this be you! So, when you first move in, create all the rules for your living space early on so that you’re not kicking yourself later as you’re making the long trudge back to the crowded, twenty-four hour library on campus for not talking to your roommate about this sooner. Here are some points to bring up:
Compare Your Schedules
Your roommate should know your schedule in case of emergencies, event planning, or for study purposes. Taping a copy of your weekly schedule to the refrigerator and/or frequent communication can make for less awkward moments and a more comfortable living environment.
Discuss Financial Responsibilities
When it comes to the rent and the utilities bill, every university varies. Some let you pay the rent along with your tuition while others have you pay it separately and monthly. Others provide your utilities without expecting any extra payments while others expect you to pay it either by the semester or monthly as well. Determine how much each of you owe and create a deadline that each roommate should have it by in order to pay the bills and the rent on time.
Also, if you are considering a larger purchase such as a television or a microwave, suggest paying for it together and splitting the cost.
Discuss the Concept of Sharing Is Caring
While sharing might be caring, you might be particular about your roommate(s) borrowing your clothes, eating your food, or going to your side of the room in general. If you’re the kind of person who prefers what’s yours to be yours (or if you’re into sharing and what’s yours is theirs), then let them know from day one.
Discuss the Rules of Guests Coming Into Your Place
Your studies are the most important thing about being in school – always remember that. If your roommate is constantly bringing their friends or significant others back to the apartment at all hours of the night, not only will your GPA suffer, but so will your patience. Remember to establish rules early on about the times guests are allowed in your apartment and how often, etc.
Know the Rules of Your Apartment Complex
One thing to note when you are talking to your roommate(s) and creating rules is the rules of your apartment complex. Every apartment complex is different – some are smoke-friendly and some are anti-pet. So, when you are talking with your roommate(s), be sure to have read your contract and through the apartment website to use as framework when creating your rules.
Make a Chore Chart
Do you want to keep the apartment clean and keep from arguing over whose dishes are whose and whose hair is in the shower? Create a chore chart in order to keep everyone responsible for certain things. All it takes is a white board and some expo markers – make a row with the days of the week on them, another row with the chores, and fill in the names in the square created by the rows. If each of you agrees to do your share, living with other people can be easy and fun.
How to Make This Work
There are several creative ways to ensure that you and your roommates follow the rules. However, it should definitely begin with a conversation after the first time the rule is broken. If it continues after the roommate has promised to respect the rules following the conversation, then here are some “consequences” you can inflict upon them:
- Pick up extra chores
- Pitch in extra for the bills
- Treat your roommate(s) to dinner
If it gets really bad, then you can always take it up with your RA if you have one. Many RAs have you sign a contract at the beginning of the year stating that you respect and will follow your roommates’ rules. As far as landlords go, there are rare cases that they can help in case of broken lease guidelines or broken apartment property, but most of the time, you will have to deal with it yourself.
With these tips, not only can you ensure that the peaceful living environment is kept, but you can also better the chance of having your roommate(s) as your friend(s) for the rest of your life. Remember, the first rule of any roommate relationship is for you: be the roommate you want your roommate to be.