Sharing an apartment with a roommate offers many benefits. There’s always someone available for a little conversation, plus splitting the cost of the rent means you’ll have more disposable income. While the experience is a positive one for many renters, issues with roommates can sometimes make you question your decision. Luckily, you can avoid potential problems by keeping these four things in mind before you sign a lease with a roommate for a Bridgewater apartment.
You may get along fine with a prospective roommate when you spend a few hours with him or her, but could you live together successfully? It’s true that you don’t really know someone until you live them and their idiosyncrasies.
Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to the ideal living arrangements. Failing to discuss those preferences in detail before you move in together can lead to a less than ideal living situation. For example, if you enjoy frequent lively get-togethers with your friends at your apartment, rooming with an introvert who needs a quiet place to recharge may not be the best idea.
Before you move in together, be sure to discuss:
- Your tolerance for noise
- How much solitude or togetherness you prefer
- Your position on smoking, drinking and drugs
- Overnight guests (How often and in what circumstances)
Consider creating a roommate agreement, a document that helps you determine how you’ll handle the issues that can complicate sharing an apartment with someone else. Your roommate agreement doesn’t have to be quite as detailed as Sheldon and Leonard’s in “The Big Bang Theory” but should cover issues such as rent payments, utility costs, room assignments, moving out prematurely, dispute resolutions, guests, pets, noise levels, cooking and cleaning. Keep in mind that roommate agreements aren’t legally binding, except in the case of financial matters, according to NOLO.
Things can change a lot in the course of a year. You may decide to get married, accept a new job out of state or move in with family members. Obviously, it’s important to consider these issues when someone asks you to share an apartment. If you’re actively looking for a job in another location or thinking about moving in with a significant other soon, it may be best to turn down the offer.
It’s also important to ask your potential roommate these questions. If he or she moves out suddenly, you may need to cover the rent and utilities yourself or scramble to find another roommate, if permitted by your lease.
Sharing an apartment with a roommate can save or cost you money, depending on the agreement you make with your roommate. Find out if your landlord offers separate leases or if both of your names will be on the same lease. If you will be both be named in the lease, decide who will make the payment to the landlord, when the rent payments are due and how the rent will be split.
If both bedrooms are equal size, a 50/50 split makes sense. When one roommate has a large bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, while the other roommate has a much smaller room without an attached bath, some adjustments in that percentage may be necessary.
It’s also important to discuss the payment of security deposits and utilities (if they’re not included in your rent). As part of your roommate agreement, you may want to stipulate that any damage caused by a roommate or his or her guests will be covered by that roommate only.
Cleanliness is a common sore spot with renters. One roommate may think that the kitchen is a mess if there is a single glass in the sink, while the other might consider that viewpoint unnecessarily rigid. Although it’s easy to agree to basic cleanliness standards, following through on the agreement can be challenging if you and your roommate don’t share the same cleaning philosophy.
Before you begin looking at apartments with your potential roommate, pay a visit or two to his or her current home. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that it’s neat and clean or dismayed at the stack of crusty dishes in the sink or the black ring around the bathtub.
Location is an important consideration when you’re sharing an apartment with a roommate. Fairway 28, a Country Classics Community, is located just minutes from major highways in Bridgewater, NJ. The one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments offer spacious bedrooms, in-unit washers and dryers, a 24/7 fitness center, and extra storage and private garages. Contact us for information about current availability.
NOLO: Renting a House or Apartment with Roommates
Zillow: 10 Tips for Renting with a Roommate