Roommates - What Needs to be Clear
Setting up Boundaries
Finding a roommate for your apartment can be hard enough, but even after that, it is important to set up some guidelines between you and your roommates in order to avoid conflict and maintain a healthy relationship within the confines of your apartment. By setting up guidelines, you can ensure that no one's boundaries are crossed. There is a wide range of guidelines that should be set up, such as: noise limits, curfews, cleaning responsibilities, utility payments, and visitor policies.
Rent is Due
When you enter into a rental agreement (lease) for your apartment, it should be made clear that all the roommates are legally bound to make a monthly rent payment for a certain number of months. You don't want to have to be responsible for your roommate's financial problems, so there should be a set date every month when the rent for the apartment is collected.
Ideas for Roommate Rules
Utility payments: A cork-board or whiteboard set up near the common area should display all bills, utilities, and rent that is due. By using such a system, all roommates are aware of impending costs, and all apartment-related payments will be payed on time.
Cleaning regimens: Bathroom, hallway, kitchen, common area, etc? Who will clean these and how often? While a specialized system is often helpful, it is important to establish a rule which ensures that all roommates "clean up their own mess" in any area of the apartment with the exception of their own room.
Noise and curfew: Every roommate should know the limits of noise and behavior in the apartment. The general "quiet hours" rules most hotels enforce are: no music or guests after 10pm. This is a good starting point, but some roommates might be more or less lenient on quiet hours, usually depending on their age.
General hygiene and good manners: Aside from specialized jobs, every roommate should know that it is their job to maintain general respect for the apartment, establishing an acceptable level of cleanliness is the most important factor for this.
All in all, it is important to set up guidelines and rules within your apartment to ensure a healthy working relationship with roommates and to make sure the property is kept in good shape.
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