A roommate agreement is necessary for anyone considering moving in with another person—whether it be in a dorm, apartment or house. Roommate agreements are great for holding yourself and your roommates accountable for what goes on in your shared living space! Here are some things to include in your roommate agreement!
I know my biggest fear for moving in with another person is their cleanliness. This is the number one item to include on your roommate agreement—even if it is as simple as agreeing to clean up your own mess and put away the things you get out. This item on the roommate agreement is, to me, the most important. If your roommate is messy and dirty, then your shared living space will always be messy and dirty. And I promise, you’re not going to want to clean up after your adult roommate, and they’re not going to want to clean up after you! Having it in a signed agreement is a great way to hold you both accountable!
2. Cleaning Schedule
Another great idea to include in your roommate agreement is a cleaning schedule. Assigning chores, and mutually agreeing upon them, is a great way to make sure everything that needs to be cleaned in the apartment is getting cleaned. For instance, this could indicate who cleans the bathroom what week and how often. The same rule could apply to the kitchen and living room. This is perfect, especially if you guys have opposite schedules and won’t see each other very often. At least you will know you’re both cleaning what needs to be cleaned!
3. Quiet Hours
Everyone loves to have their friends, family, and significant others over, but it’s also very important to be respectful of your roommate. In your roommate agreement, it is very necessary to distinguish quiet hours. For instance, sleeping is a very important thing for many people. So you should probably agree upon a time that should be considered bed time. As crazy as it sounds, if you agree upon 11pm, then you shouldn’t be in the living room watching a movie until all hours of the night, especially if you’re being loud. Or, at the very least, come to an agreement as to when you go to your rooms for bed.
With quiet hours, another important thing to include in your roommate agreement is when guests are allowed to come over. I think it’s also important to discuss people staying over and when it’s appropriate and inappropriate to let people just crash in your apartment or dorm. It’s not always respectful to let someone stay multiple nights in a row when your roommate doesn’t agree to it or know who the person is. Guests should be discussed prior to them coming over, even if it is just to hang out. Take into consideration if your roommate is sick, as they most likely won’t want loud people they don’t know just hanging out. Be respectful of them.
The next thing to add to the roommate agreement is whether or not either of you is planning on keeping a pet. This is important because if it’s not your pet, you shouldn’t have to care for the animal or pay the animal rent fee that most leasing options have. It’s not fair to leave a dog home alone, let it pee/poop inside the apartment and bark all day, as noise complaints could ensue. A lot comes along when a roommate or both of you decide to bring pets to live with you. It’s important to note all of these things in the agreement prior to living together!
Another thing to keep in mind when making a roommate agreement is furniture—who’s bringing what furniture, what happens if someone moves out, who’s bringing the kitchenware, and what happens if someone breaks a piece of furniture. These are all important questions to have answered in writing, especially if something breaks. Like the other stipulations listed in the agreement, this will hold both of you accountable if something were to happen! Furniture is obviously an important part to any apartment and common living space. The bathroom, kitchen and living room should have some type of agreement to who brings what.
I added cooking to the list of things to add to the roommate agreement because it can be a hot-button issue when living with another person. One important aspect to this topic is cleaning up your mess when you’re finished in the kitchen. It’s not fair if you cook in the kitchen, destroy it and just leave it. Another important aspect to this is labeling your food in the fridge and cabinets. You should not be using your roommate’s food without permission, if at all. Always soak dirty dishes if they have to be left in the sink. If you run the dish washer, your roommate should empty them and vice versa. It’s not respectful to leave a mess for someone else to clean up.
One of the most important things to include in a roommate agreement is communication. This is important in order to make sure things are working out smoothly between you and your roommate. Simple communication, like providing your work schedule for your roommate for the week or letting your roommate know you’re going to be home late, is key to a healthy rooming situation. For example, if you’re coming home late, it’s respectful to let your roommate know so they don’t think someone is breaking in at odd hours of the night or morning. The same thing goes for providing them with your work schedule. Communication is the key to any type of relationship, including a roommate relationship, which is why you should add it to your roommate agreement!