Selecting a compatible roommate will lessen the stress involved in sharing your living space with another person.
You will be sharing your home and splitting household expenses with your roommate, so ask a lot of questions and carefully observe the person during your interview.
Behaviors that you notice during the interview can give you insight into the person's character.
Some things to look for:
On time for interview
Ask questions about things that are important to you, including:
Are you employed and for how long?
What is your schedule?
How is you health?
Will you be having lots of friends over?
Do you have any pets?
Do you have references (former roommates or landlords)?
Will you sign a roommate agreement?
Often the basis of roommate disputes is a lack of good communication or a mismatch of expectations.
Most roommate disputes can be avoided by laying out simple guidelines and expectations at the beginning of the living arrangement in a roommate agreement.
Your roommate agreement can outline rent and other payment responsibilities, a system of chores, how much notice is to be given before moving out, and any other issues you want to include.
The roommate agreement should spell out your rights and obligations to each other, including:
Date of agreement
Names of roommates
Address of property
Portion of rent and utilities to be paid by each roommate and due date
Total amount of security deposit paid and portion of that deposit paid by each roommate
Agreement that each roommate will pay for any damages that they or their guests cause
Agreement that each roommate will continue to pay his or her share of the rent for a certain period of time if he or she needs to move out before the end of the lease period unless the landlord allows a replacement roommate
Who will find, interview and decide on any new roommates
Agreement that each roommate will pay a specific share of the cost of any repairs, improvements or other costs due under the terms of the lease
Any house rules regarding pets
Whether smoking is allowed and where
Rules about drinking and drug use
Rules about late hours and noise
Whether there will be overnight guests and how often
Whether grocery shopping and cooking duties will be shared
Cleaning responsibilities and schedules
Whether food items in the kitchen are to be shared
Whether personal items including dishes, utensils, kitchen appliances and toiletries are to be shared
Any other agreements that the roommates think are appropriate
Signatures of all roommates
Remember, the roommate agreement is an agreement among the roommates; it is not binding upon the landlord.
The rental agreement is between all the tenants who signed the lease and the landlord, and would also effect any guarantors or co signers.
Settling Minor Disputes
Even though you have an agreement, disputes may arise.
The secret to a quick resolution is communication. Communicate with your roommate if you are upset by something that they did or by something that one of their guests did.
Try to explain why you are upset in a calm manner. Be specific and let your roommate know what he or she could do next time to keep the peace.
Dealing with the Landlord
All roommates should sign the rental agreement. That makes each of you individually responsible for paying the entire rent each month.
The landlord can take you and your roommate to court if the rent goes unpaid or
give you all notice to move out.
If you've already signed a lease and moved in, you'll need your landlord's approval to add a roommate.
Your landlord will likely want to check your potential roommate's credit record and get an additional security deposit.
Your landlord may also raise the rent to reflect the additional person living in the space.
There is a possibility that your landlord will require you to sign an entirely new lease if you're adding a new roommate.
If Your Roommate Violates the Lease
Remember to the Landlord, your and your roommates are 1 tenacy.
If your roommate doesn't pay the rent, damages your place or makes too much noise, the landlord can hold everyone responsible.
Any tenant who has signed the lease is responsible for the rent for the entire duration of the lease whether he or she lives on the premises or not.
If more than one person has signed the lease, each person individually and all persons collectively are responsible for paying the rent in full.
If one roommate moves out and does not pay his or her share of the rent, the other roommates must pay the rent in full or they will be subject to eviction for nonpayment of rent.
Those roommates can then try to collect rent from the nonpaying roommate
You can't evict your roommate yourself, but remember the LL to have less trouble may simply ask all of you to leave...
Work it out or tell the LL you are all moving.. simple
If your roommate becomes violent in the eviction process, you should consider filing an anti-harassment or domestic violence order to protect yourself.