Roommate Rules–Living Harmoniously When Sharing a Home

  |     |   Three Sixty Living

You certainly don’t have to be best friends with your roommate. You do, however, have to know how to live well with them. Having a good relationship with your roommate can save a lot of headache and stress. Conflicts are inevitable, but starting off with a good foundation of rules for respect can help you navigate those issues objectively and fairly. In apartment living, a roommate contract or agreement is an essential tool for successfully living with another individual.


However you choose to lay out the ground rules, here are our top 7 ideas we think are essential to include in a roommate agreement. 


  1. Money

    Start off with the details of paying rent. Decide who is paying what and when and put it in writing so there is no confusion. From there, decide how you will pay bills and pay for communal items such as cleaning supplies or toilet paper. Getting this sorted out right away will save issues in the long run. 

  2. Schedules 

    Lay out your daily schedule. Having a physical copy of this posted on the fridge or someplace visible can help each roommate be more courteous. Consider concrete guidelines for quiet hours. If you know that your roommate has a shift at 5am, you may be less likely to practice your flute late into the evening (or we would hope so).

  3. Cleaning
    Put together a cleaning schedule for the upkeep of your place. Maybe this means creating a roommate chore chart and assigning a person and timeframe for completion. Maybe verbal agreement is all you need. Either way, splitting up the duties in the shared spaces such as the kitchen and bathroom can ensure that you'll always have a tidy space.

  4. Guests

    It is worth discussing the boundaries for guests. Whether it is about who can stay and when or what they can and can’t use, the guest policy is worth bringing up and setting some ground rules on. 

  5. Food

    Discuss meal times and storage of food. Designate certain shelves or pantries for each roommate if you decide to buy food separately. Consider whether or not you and your roommate will cook together, or if you need to rotate when the kitchen can be used for meal times. 

  6. Temperature 

    Avoid the classic “temp-war” and set a certain temperature that you and your roommate are both comfortable with in each season. This one can easily go untalked about and cause tension later on. Blasting the heat or AC will raise utility bills, so choose a set temp for those summer and winter months. 

  7. Communicate 

    Overall, communication is key. Set a precedent for how you'd like to communicate with each other. Would you rather text or have a meeting when conflict arises? 


Using these ideas, make your roommate agreement. Having these ground rules up front and creating a written document to reference in case conflict arises can make co-living a whole lot easier. Consider posting it in a common space like you do with your schedules or chore sheets. Adjust your needs as they come and be open to changing how things are done to better suit your living styles. Apartment living is fun! And, when you set boundaries, living with a roommate can be too. 


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