One of the most potentially tense conversations that could occur among roommates is the topic of dividing rent. Most of us shy away from talking about money, especially with friends, but if not discussed honestly, it will cause resentment and tension between you and your roommates over time.
Know your budget as well as your roommate's rent boundaries
Before any discussion of rent can begin, each of you must openly lay out your rent constraints. What is the maximum and minimum amount of rent that each of you can afford?
During this step, it's important not to embarrass anyone, whether it's the roommate who can afford less or the roommate whose least concern is money.
How to divide the rent
The best way to divide the rent is to attach a value amount to each of the bedrooms. Whoever lives in the largest bedroom pays the higher rent. Conversely, whoever has the smallest bedroom, pays the least. Most apartments have one primo bedroom. It either has more closet space, better light or a better view--something that sets it apart from the others and should cost more than the others.
If you all have different budgets, then this will help determine who lives in which bedroom.
On the other hand, if you can all afford about the same, you must speak openly about your individual needs. Do you want a nicer bedroom or would you prefer paying less rent and using the extra cash elsewhere? As roommates, don't let the discussion become a competition for either winning the best bedroom or paying the least. Try to match bedrooms to lifestyles and preferences. This will make for more harmonious roommate relationships.
You have problems with your roommate. He just leaves his dishes in the sink for you to wash. Or her clothes hang on the couch. Or he never takes out the trash. You've already had several spats over her messy habits, but the roommate problems haven't disappeared and you can't move out.
You're not alone. It is very difficult to find a roommate with whom you get along and who has the same cleaning habits. If you can't or don't want to find a new roommate, there are ways to calm the tension.
The most important rule to remember is to resist the urge to clean up after your messy roommate. This may encourage your roommate to clean even less; they may think, consciously or subconsciously, if he will do it, why should I? Also, it is unfair to you, because you may find yourself constantly tidying up.
Instead of cleaning all the time, set some suggested rules with your roommate.
Remind yourself that your bedroom is the only place in the apartment you truly have control over. Decorate or furnish your room, so that you have one haven in the apartment. You must compromise over the common areas.
It is hard for many tidy roommates to understand why their messy roommates wait so long to clean the dishes or take the trash out. Remind yourself that not everyone works on the same cleaning schedule. While some prefer to clean and pick up after themselves every day or every other day, others clean once a week or every other week. If your roommate cleans a little less often than you do, resist the urge to force your roommate into your schedule. Instead, try compromising on the number of days dishes are allowed to sit in the sink or when trash must be taken out.
Also, try dividing the chores. You can take out the trash and your roommate cleans the dishes. This may help your messy roommate focus on only a few chores and develop a habit of keeping certain areas clean. If you do this, make sure to assign yourself chores that you care most about, so that you can be certain these will get done.
Consider hiring a cleaning service. Talk to your roommate about splitting the cost of a cleaning person. This may take some of the burden off of you and get your roommate financially involved in the neatness of your apartment.
|One of the joys of living with the right roommate is having a friend you see every day, first thing in the morning and last at night. On the other hand, crazy roommates can make your skin crawl, your face turn red with anger, and smoke blow from your ears. To avoid that, here are six tips on choosing the right roommate:
1. Find a similarly tidy roommate. Neat goes with neat, and messy goes with messy. For a roommate to be right for you, it's important that he or she is roughly as clean or as messy as you are. For larger households--three or more roommates--the level of neatness tends to lean towards the majority preference, so avoid being the odd one out.
2. Find someone with whom you can discuss finances and money issues. This is essential. Because you'll be splitting the bills on electricity, gas, cable, Internet and possibly furniture, you must feel comfortable enough with your roommate to talk candidly about the size of the gas bill or whether premium cable channels are worth the cost.
3. Discuss your preferences for inviting friends over. How often do you like having people over? Do you mind if your roommate's friends are at your apartment late? If you disagree over having people over all the time or letting friends sleep on the couch, it'll be a source of tension.
4. Discuss how late or early you go to bed and how sound of a sleeper you are. Could you handle it if your roommate always had people over who talked loudly late into the night? What about an early-to-bed roomie who's always yelling at you to turn down the TV to near-silent levels? The right roommate should have a similar sleep schedule and/or noise preference as you.
5. Ask about pets. Don't forget to find out what pets they have or whether they're OK with yours. Are they willing to help care for the animal, say, when you're out of town? Also, discuss any allergies.
6. Choose a person for compatibility, not likability. Friends do not always make the best roommates. You see your friends on a limited basis, so neither of you has to deal regularly with each other's idiosyncrasies. This would change once you became roommates, and your friendship could be strained as a result. So, make sure you're especially honest about your lifestyle preferences when discussing rooming with a friend.
Picture this. Friends dropping by unannounced to watch TV. Your roommates’ high school chums camping out on the couch for three weeks until they find their own apartments. Parties with uninvited guests traipsing in and out. Or even an annoying roommate who wanders in and borrows your clothes. Despite all of this, there are ways to protect your room and valuables from others.
Yes, for cautious types, it’s an agonizing part of apartment living that strangers will file in and out of your apartment. When home, it’s easy to guard against this, but how do you keep people out while you’re away.
For starters, I suggest taking a deep breath. Chances are, if you trust your roommates, you can be sure to trust their friends. Sure, there’s always a suspect person in a network of friends, but one can’t really guard against every danger.
However, if you live with a roommate who doesn’t respect boundaries or have guests staying over frequently, protecting your room can be a good idea.
Adding a Lock to Your DoorAdding a keyed lock to your door is probably the easiest, most effective way to protect your belongings. You can lock up during parties and whenever you leave. To do this, you must buy a new doorknob that comes with a lock and key. Instructions are included on how to change the knob.
Telling Your Roommates About Your New LockIf you’re close with your roommates, they could take offense to suddenly discovering a locked door. Some may wonder whether you trust them or not. To minimize any hurt or avoid any miscommunication, take time to explain to them your reasons for the lock. One major tip towards diplomatic communication is to phrase sentences using the word “I” a lot and not “you.” When telling them, focus more on your own personal motives and less on their or their friends’ actions. Here are some articles on effective communication.
Give the key to one trustworthy personIf you can, I suggest designating one roommate or a close friend to hold the second key. There may come a time when you’ll need someone to access your room while you’re away.
| 1. You come home wanting to talk about your day to someone. There are people who like coming home to a quiet apartment. And there are those who become depressed at the thought. If you hate coming home to an empty apartment, then you may need a roommate. Just make sure you find a roommate you're compatible with.
2. You have no money to yourself or to put in savings after paying off rent, utilities and basic living needs such as food and transportation. Roommates help you save money. Sometimes, rent is cheaper with a roommate. Also, roommates split the cost of cable television, utilities and home supplies.
3. You hate cooking dinner for one. Find yourself cooking a platter of lasagna and freezing it for weeks as you slowly finish it off? Maybe you yearn for a buddy to help with the cooking, cleaning and, of course, eating.
4. You like having friends who know what you look like before you put your face on. Roommates have a special bond, because you've seen each other when sick, tired, crabby and sans make-up or hair gel.
5. You have a dog and need help walking it. Just kidding. I threw that one in as a joke. But, if you do have a dog, it would be nice if your roommates shared the responsibilities of taking it outside. It's also a good idea to share pet safety concerns with your roommates.