Whether you are best friends with your roommate or you met them through an ad, setting boundaries and guidelines for your new humble abode is key to a smooth living situation. Here are things to include in a roommate contract that can be applicable to when you are moving into your first apartment or into a house with 3 other roommates.
Figure out what each person in your home has to pay each month so that they are prepared. If you have to pay for utilities separately make sure to include that in the contract. Write out all other fees that might add on a few extra dollars to the original rent (trash fee, maintenance, etc.).
When roommates have a significant other they tend to spend a lot of time at your place. Make sure that you talk about overnight guests; you don’t want to be paying a water bill for an extra person who isn’t paying rent. Write out guidelines for if you decide to have some of your girls over or a holiday party.
- Do you want to have a cap on how many nights a guest can stay over?
- What is the max amount of people you can have at a party?
Include in your contract how chores will be organized to prevent future squabbles on who did the dishes or washed the bathroom last. Do you want to rotate who cleans the bathroom every weekend? How often should the house be vacuumed? Also set long-term deep cleaning rules such as renting out a carpet cleaner at least twice a year.
Food and mutual house supplies
Write whether or not you will each be buying your own groceries. If you are buying groceries together make sure that you decide on what you are going to buy. You don’t want to end up paying for half of your roommates steak when you don’t even eat red meat. If you are going to be buying separate groceries, you can still pitch in together for common things such as salt, eggs and sugar. Also decide on how much you want to spend on cleaning supplies and other miscellaneous things such as a coffee maker.
Other things that you might want to include in a roommate contract are a pet policy or noise level restrictions. How often should the dog be bathed? How high can you bump your music? Around finals will you have set quiet hours?
Explain in detail what happens if the roommate contract or lease is violated.
After all the roommates read the stipulations and sign the contract, keep it somewhere visible where they can always refer to.
Have you and your roommate drafted up a roommate contract? What were some rules you included? Tell us in the comments below!