The Tenets of a Good Roommate Contract

Although many roommate relationships are friendly and mutually beneficial, some of them can go south in the blink of an eye. No matter how charming or considerate someone seems, cohabitating with them can reveal a number of unsavory truths about their behaviors. With this in mind, it behooves soon-to-be roomies to draw up a roommate contract before committing to live together. This will ensure that both parties’ expectations are made clear from the get-go and reduce the likelihood of unpleasant surprises down the line. When putting together your first roommate contract, make sure to take the following items into account.

Financial Expectations

The contract you make with your roomie should clearly outline the financial expectations of both parties. For starters, this means deciding how much of the rent each party will pay. While most roomies split rent 50/50, other financial arrangements aren’t unheard of. For example, some roommates will split the rent 70/30 or 60/40 with the caveat that the party paying less will handle the bulk of the chores. This section of the contract should also dictate the by date by which both parties must have their respective shares of the rent ready. The last thing you want is for your personal credit to take a hit because your roommate is late with his or her portion of the rent.

Students on the hunt for a shared living space should exercise caution when rooming with people they barely know. Before committing to become someone’s roommate, confirm that this person has a consistent income and is fully capable of paying their share of the rent.

Noise Expectations

Few things are more aggravating than living with a roommate for whom volume control is an alien concept. Having a perpetually noisy roomie can make it difficult to relax or concentrate and throw a wrench into your sleep schedule. As such, your roommate contract should outline clear expectations regarding noise levels. In many cases, this means deciding on designated quiet periods, which typically last from late evening to early morning.

Pet Expectations

Before moving in with someone, both of you should make your stances on pets known. If there’s a certain type of animal to which you are allergic, make your prospective roomie aware of this posthaste. Additionally, if either of you have a strict no-pets policy, make sure this is known from the outset. If either of you will be bringing pets into the residence, your contract should outline expectations regarding pet care.

There are a number of perks synonymous with living with a roommate. For example, being able to cut your rent costs in half can be a tremendous boon to your personal finances. However, if this financial windfall comes at the cost of cohabitating with someone you can’t stand, the additional money in your pocket may not be worth the trouble. To help ensure that things remain nice and cordial between you and your roomie, draw up a roommate contract that includes the items discussed above.

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