As a roommate, you want to create a living situation that’s peaceful and stress-free. In last week’s installment of our roommate series, we explored ways to prevent roommate disputes that commonly arise when moving in with someone. This week we’ll illustrate how to use one of the techniques in greater detail.
One of the most important tactics in preventing disputes is discussing expectations before entering into a partnership. While you may think that moving in with someone is just a casual arrangement, it is actually a type of partnership. You and your roommates become a team when you decide to live together, so discussing the rules and standards of behavior before you bust out your new duvet cover goes a long way in establishing a positive environment.
A roommate contract is a powerful tool to understand what’s important to your roommates, outline house rules, and determine consequences of bad behavior. From determining chores to understanding security deposit splits, a roommate contract covers a wide range of topics.
Because many people feel uneasy broaching sensitive topics, an added benefit of roommate contracts is that they allow you to bring up subjects not often discussed. Many people have trouble approaching discussions about rents, overnight guests, and personal hygiene, which is why a roommate contract is so important – it takes away that discomfort and allows you to go through a document in a more clinical way. No one is attacked or spotlighted for their behavior when developing a roommate contract. The process becomes collaborative and everyone has voice and opportunity to contribute.
We’ve created an informal roommate contract to help you understand how to deal with a variety of activities, behaviors, and situations. In the ArbiClaims Roommate Contract, you and your roommates will figure out how to handle damages, establish a subletting policy, and create house rules. This is the contract we encourage everyone to use and modify as necessary. Having a conversation about the contract and agreeing to the terms prevents disputes and arguments.
Without a roommate contract, you may come home one day to find out that your roommate listed his space on temporary rental websites, such as VRBO or AirBnb. Or, you may find that your roommates expect you to clean up after them, pay for groceries, and house their guests for weeks. You may find it uncomfortable to propose a roommate contract. No one wants to be the killjoy, but trust us: Setting expectations in the beginning prevents disputes down the road.
Download our free ArbiClaims Roommate Contract. We encourage you to modify it to suit your needs and unique arrangements.
Interested in learning more about ways to prevent roommate disputes? Check out the other posts in the series: