Finding Roommates

You will find many benefits to having a roommate, including sharing the cost of living, companionship, and sharing college experiences. Having a roommate can be a unique experience, but you must remember when sharing living space with another, it is a good idea to have a roommate agreement or rules. It is best to put your expectations in writing.

Roommates need to agree on such things as privacy, noise, study time, overnight guests, pets, parties, entertaining, sharing food and/or personal items, cleaning responsibilities, drinking, smoking, bills, and other issues that may arise as a result of conflicting lifestyles.

A roommate who threatens the health or safety of other roommates or who has broken the lease can be evicted. However, under a joint lease, the landlord has the right to evict all roommates and then to sign a new lease with the remaining roommates who wish to stay.

If your roommate is collecting the rent money to pay the landlord, never pay your roommate in cash. Pay in a check or money order. It is even a good idea to pay your rent directly to the landlord or office yourself so that you are certain that the payment is received. If possible, sign separate leases rather than a joint lease.

Never co-sign for a roommate. If your roommate needs a co-signer, then the roommate's parents should co-sign the lease. If you are interested in finding a roommate, you can search on the roommate message board or list your roommate search there on the website at .

Once you have identified a potential roommate, you need to find out some information about the person. One way to accomplish that is to have the person fill out a questionnaire. Click here for a sample questionnaire .

This questionnaire will allow you to discuss the varied issues of living together so that you can choose a roommate wisely and communicate consistently with that person to work out any problems. If you will be sharing an apartment with a roommate you don't know, ask the landlord to let you sign separate leases so each of you are responsible only for your share of rent and any damages you cause.

And beware, your best friend may not be the best choice for a roommate. Living together could strain your friendship. You may find that you disagree about anything from cleaning and parties to paying bills. Negotiating a compromise, subletting, or sticking it out can be very difficult.