Save On Rent: Tips To Share An Apartment With A Roommate

by Lorie L. on February 14, 2011

Getting a roommate is one way for you to reduce the amount you have to pay for the rent on your apartment. However, there are a few things you need to think about when getting a new roommate.

Do You Have A Roommate?

1. Roommates don’t always get along. More often than not, roommates could become the worst of enemies. Before you and a friend become roommates, set your boundaries first. For instance, if you lose a roommate who wasn’t a friend in the first place, it’s fine. But if you lose a friend who just incidentally became a roommate, you’ve lost both a friend and a roommate.

2. Roommates don’t always promptly pay their share of the bill. You need to make sure that you can safeguard your rent. If you’re the one with the lease contract, you may want to take measures to ensure that your roommate’s end of the rent gets paid on time, every time.

3. Sharing of stuff, aside from the rent, is a major consideration. Be sure that you’ve discussed what things are fine for sharing, and which are not, before you go into a contract with your roommate.


Aside from these points, there are a hundred and one other things that could go wrong in a shared living arrangement. Just brace yourself for the possible mishaps and be ready to forgive, confront or negotiate; but use diplomacy when you’re trying to work things out with your roommie.

Save On Rent: Tips To Share An Apartment With A Roommate

Here are our tips on keeping your living situation as peaceful and pleasant as possible:

  1. Before you take on being roommates with a stranger, do a background check. While this may sound like you’re being a little too paranoid, doing a background check can give you some peace of mind, especially if you know for sure what kind of person you’ll be sharing your living quarters with. You don’t want to encounter surprises after you’ve got your roommate on board. Some landlords check on their tenants’ credit report information. In your situation, you may want to do a simple background check in order to play it safe.
  2. Set the boundaries for the level of cleanliness in your apartment. Some people are okay with a little mess. Others are comfortable with living a la Joe’s Apartment. Yet others are a tad obsessive-compulsive to the point that they’ll go berserk if you’re not as big a neat freak as they are. To the veterans of roommate dynamics, it comes as no surprise that cleanliness is a source of duress. But if you’re a greenhorn in this area, don’t say you weren’t warned. Roommate fights could be prevented if both parties know that they should maintain the cleanliness of the apartment.
  3. Passwords, credit cards, and bank accounts should be safeguarded at all costs. Some people get too comfortable with their roommates such that they end up sharing their passwords, ATM PINs, and even credit card information. Or, they may have gotten into a bind and “needed” their roommate to withdraw cash for them. This is bad form, any day. Nobody should be sharing their passwords and PINs with anyone, not even highly trusted roommates. If you really need your roommate to get money for you, use a prepaid reloadable card account like the one offered by Mango Mastercard Prepaid Debit Card with just a limited amount loaded so that you can share the PIN with your roommate anytime. Keep the password for this account different from the standard ones you use. This may be a tradeoff between risk and convenience, so you’ll need to gauge whether entering into an arrangement like this is worth it to you. Either way, take steps to protect your identity.
  4. Be wary of sharing too much! Some people are comfortable enough to open a joint online savings account with their roommate. But this could be quite risky. Again, it would depend on whether you have a very good relationship with your roommate and if you truly trust this person. But any intermingling of finances can be fraught with issues, so be very careful.
  5. Develop a relationship based on mutual respect. Setting boundaries also involves issues with how you deal with privacy matters and other social arrangements. It’s best if you can find a roommate that shares the same values as you do. Manage your expectations and you’ll have a better experience.
  6.  
    Living with a roommate may have its risks, but if you manage it right, you get to save on your rent and other apartment expenses, while living a less lonely existence. Good luck with finding the right person to share the rent with!

    If you enjoyed this post, you can get free regular updates through our RSS Feed, or you can have our latest posts delivered to your email inbox by supplying your address here. Your address will only be used for this purpose, and you can unsubscribe anytime.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 savvysavingbytes February 15, 2011 at 8:30 am

When I moved to NYC I had roommates in my 1st two apartments and both worked out well. In the first apt. they were friends of a friend. I agree that setting boundaries at the beginning is a good idea. To simplify things, we divided up the chores so that every week someone would cook dinner, someone would do the cleaning, someone would do the laundry, etc. We also saved all receipts to add up the weekly totals and divide costs among us.

My first apt was in Greenwich Village and it was fun.

Leave a Comment