One of the best ways to save money on monthly rent and utilities/cable is to get a roommate. However, when you agree to live with someone else, you have to prepare yourself for all of the challenges that come with having another person sharing your space.
According to a Rent.com survey, 45 percent of renters admitted to having issues and complaints about either a current or past roommate. Obviously living with another person is challenging; no roommate is perfect. Whether it’s someone who “forgets” to wash his or her dishes or treats the living room as a laundry basket, you’re bound to encounter something about someone that bothers you at some point throughout the duration of your lease.
We’ve put together the top three roommate complaints and some insight on how to live with a difficult roommate:
- Roommates that Just Aren’t Clean – Our Rent.com survey found that the number one complaint about roommates is overall lack of cleanliness. It may seem juvenile, but it’s worth creating a chores chart or designating certain cleaning task to different roommates. You can switch off duties every week so one person isn’t constantly stuck cleaning the toilet. Post the schedule near your door or on the fridge so everyone can see it.
- Paying the Bills On Time – Constantly bugging your roomie to pay their half of the rent or writing a check for their half of the cable bill can be a huge pain. Sit down together and decide how the bills will be paid at the beginning of your lease to prevent this from happening. With new apps like Venmo or websites like Splitwise.com, delivering the bills on time is now easier than ever and a great way to avoid arguments about who is going to pay for what.
- Boundaries Aren’t Optional – If you’re someone who treasures their personal space and private time, living with roommates can be a struggle. When you’re cohabitating, you need to set boundaries and ground rules. Is it okay if you eat each other’s food, as long as no one is finishing the salsa without replacing it? Or will you be purchasing separate items from Trader Joe’s and only sharing things like condiments. When there are clear expectations from early on, you’re less likely to fight over who finished the last scoop of ice cream.
Communication is necessary for all of your life relationships, especially with your roommate. Instead of leaving passive aggressive post-it notes around your home, speak up and get your issues out in the open so they can be dealt with quickly and smoothly.
You may get annoyed that your roommate watches terrible reality TV shows in the living rooms on weeknights; he or she may hate that you forget to replace the toilet paper. Unless you have problems with your roommate that are extreme (such as stealing from you, disrespecting your personal belongings, etc.), odds are you will be able to deal with a difficult roommate situation.
Remember to stay calm, treat your roomie with respect and offer up a few solutions to what is bothering you. If all else fails, you can always go to your bedroom and close the door.