Adding a Roommate? Tips for Interviewing Your New Roomie

Housemates relaxing together in their sitting roomIt doesn’t matter if you have known the person for years or you just met them, a roommate relationship is a big decision. You’ll live together, share expenses and both be responsible for the apartment. It is important to establish some ground rules with one another once you move in, but before you even pick out the new roomie you need to conduct an interview. These questions can help you avoid any hiccups with your roommate and even help you pick out the right roommate for you.

How Will the Bills be Split?

This is the most important question and should be figured out before anyone moves in. Discuss what your roommate’s share of the rent will be, but also include utilities. How do you want to receive payment? Will your roommate pay the property manager directly or write you a check for their half of the expenses?

What’s the Grocery Situation?

Some roommates keep groceries to themselves, while others share. If you are going to share, it is best to grocery shop together and set ground rules on the food — such as no guests eating the food you contributed toward.

How About Guests?

There’s nothing worse than a roommate’s boyfriend spending every night at your apartment. Discuss guest rules and set some ground rules about who can stay over and for how long.

Who Will Handle What Chores in the Apartment?

You don’t want to be stuck with all the cleaning — especially if you both have separate bathrooms. Set rules and discuss how the cleaning will work. Such as you cleaning the kitchen one week and the roommate the other. Also, establish rules for bathrooms and how often they should be clean. Because you have a security deposit on the apartment, you want to make sure you get it back.

What’s the Noise, Party and Alcohol/Smoking Policy?

Are you okay with a roommate that smokes or drinks? What if a roommate wants to have friends over until 11:00pm at night? Set some rules and discuss the noise, party and drinking/smoking policies. That way everyone is clear what can be done in the apartment, how late they can be noisy, etc.

A Few More Tips for Success

  • Don’t pick a roommate just because they are a friend. Sometimes friends are too irresponsible to handle moving in — and it could cause a rift in your friendship when you have to boot them out.
  • Ask your new roommate for proof of employment and make sure they can actually pay the rent. There is nothing worse than counting on a roommate’s help only to be stuck with the bills yourself.
  • Check with your apartment manager to see what the rules are about roommates. Some places require your roommate to be on the lease — which means applying and passing a credit check too.
Apr 2014