Living with others is not an easy task. Whether it’s with random people or your best friends, there are bound to be disputes. It can be difficult to confront others, so knowing how to handle the problem ahead of time can help to nip it in the bud.
Money seems to always be an issue. In my apartment, we try to keep bill payments as organized as possible. One roommate is responsible for paying the rent, while I take care of the utilities. In order to ensure that everyone pays the bills and that they are on time, a good idea is to keep a whiteboard in the kitchen that has the amount of each bill, when it is due and who has paid. It’s also beneficial to avoid paying in cash. If you are the one who takes care of the bills, have your roommates simply transfer the money into your account or right a check. This way, everything is documented in your bank account and you can prove who has or has not paid, if necessary. Find what works best for you, but remember that everyone on the lease is legally responsible for paying the bills, so make sure you have this under control.
Another issue that is prevalent deals with guests. If you’re going to be having people over or a friend visit who needs to stay on the couch for a couple of nights, be sure to consult your roommates first. Yes, you should be able to do what you want, but it is their space too, so make sure you all establish a level of respect and understanding before you decide to throw a wild party!
Sharing is caring, but don’t use something that’s not yours without asking. I am more than willing to allow someone to use my hairdryer or borrow a shirt, but if I find them exploring my closet uninvited, we will have a problem. Set boundaries and be generous, but once a roommate crosses the line, you may want to invest in a door lock.
Money, social and personal property issues can all be avoided by having an open line of communication with your roommates. If you let problems build up, they will only be worse in the long run.
Photo credits: Tracy O