One of the most important aspects of your life off-campus is your roommate. There are many things to consider when you are living in an apartment, so you want to make sure the person you live with is aware of the legal, financial, and personal implications of a shared living experience.
It’s a good idea to take the initiative and get acquainted with your potential roommate. Establishing a solid foundation for your roommate relationship from the beginning will help you to minimize or eliminate conflicts in your living environment.
If you’ve never lived in an apartment or with a roommate before, you'll have a list to keep in mind. The following checklist contains discussion points and questions that may come in handy as you establish rules and guidelines for your living situation.
- How will the rent be paid? Does the landlord prefer one check, or do all roommates pay separately?
- What is your definition of loud and soft noise? Should quiet time be established?
- Are pets allowed? If so, who is responsible for this pet? Is anyone allergic?
- Is smoking permitted?
- What are your reactions to alcohol consumption? Are any roommates underage?
- Who is responsible for collecting/paying bills? In whose name will they be listed?
- Who will buy groceries? May roommates borrow food from one another?
- Will sharing or borrowing of personal items be allowed?
- What are your thoughts on overnight guests? How often may they stay and for how long?
Create a roommate contract when you move in with your roommate(s) to help you remember and clarify what was discussed and agreed upon. If conflict arises, it’s easy to simply refer to the contract and revisit your mutually agreed-upon guidelines.
Actions Speak Louder than Words
You can talk to your roommate until you’re blue in the face, but sometimes there are nonverbal clues that can illustrate a breakdown in communication. Keep your eyes peeled for these warning signs:
- Your roommates are not speaking
- They leave when you enter a room
- They complain to friends about you
- They get angry over trivial matters
The best way to deal with this is to confront the situation head on. Talk to your roommate(s) and try to understand what the problem may be. The key to successful conflict management and resolution is communication on an equal level. Avoid behavior that will continue to break up communication.
Utilize “I” statements to clearly express how the conflict affects you and has made you feel. Take responsibility for your actions and hold the tone of the discussion by your calm and positive example. Everyone has an equal right to be heard, so create an open environment so everyone has the ability to speak freely.
Mediation and Conflict Resolution Resources
If you are unable to resolve conflicts, think about consulting outside mediators and resources within Suffolk and the city of Boston. An uncomfortable living situation can lead to a decrease in school attendance, homework completion and health.
Off-Campus Housing Office
6th Floor, 73 Tremont Street
5th Floor, 73 Tremont Street
Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 4:30pm
Rental Housing Resource Center