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The Roommate Etiquette Guidelines Everyone Should Live By

We all strive to be the best roommate we can be, right? If you’re anything like us, you’ve come across your fair share of crazy roommates and people that just can’t seem to grasp the idea of a shared bathroom (clean up after yourselves, guys!) 

While there’s no Roommate Handbook (as far we know), there are some roommate etiquette guidelines that everyone should live by. If you don’t already know some of these, then – we hate to break it to ya – you may not be the best roommate. But don’t fear – Roomi is here to guide you on the path to a peaceful shared living space!

We hope this will help to prevent any future fights with your roommates!

  1. Don’t expect the “cleaning fairies” to clean up after you

Clean your own mess and regularly clean communal spaces. Never leave your own dirty dishes, clothes on the floor or food packages strewn about the place – they won’t disappear on their own, and your roommate doesn’t want to clean up after you, either.

On the same note, don’t neglect the communal spaces that naturally gather dust and dirt over time. Never adopt the mindset of “it’s not my mess so it’s not my problem”, because everyone’s responsible for grime on the floor and smudges on the bathroom mirror. Consider creating a chores schedule if you and your roomis are struggling to split this naturally.

  1. Keep the noise down

Look up the specified “Quiet Hours” in your own state. New York, for example, enforces quiet hours in all neighbourhoods from 10pm until 7am. (So much for the city that never sleeps!) Monitor the volume of your TV, your conversations with friends and the clatter you’re making in the kitchen when whipping up grilled cheese at midnight.

Similarly, find out what type of music your roommates listen to. If it’s different to yours, you might want to avoid playing it too loudly – even in the daytime. Your Katy Perry album might just make your Slipknot-loving roomi’s ears bleed.

  1. Always pay your rent and bills on time

One of the main concerns with living with a stranger is a financial one. If you’ve never lived out of your parents’ home until now, you’ll have to get used to paying bills and rent on time every single month. We know – it sounds like a lot!

There are some ways you can help yourself stay on top of things:

  • Make a list of your bills and rent due dates
  • Set up reminders; even just using the calendar in your phone can work
  • Set up automated payments wherever possible

Maintaining a good record is good for your credit score, so staying on top of rent and bills does more than just keep the peace at home.

  1. Set expectations early on

It’s important to have transparent, clear conversations with your roomis at the beginning of your tenancy agreement. Talk about which stuff is okay to share and which stuff is off-limits. For example, you might be happy for them to use your milk when they run out, but you don’t want them touching your expensive shampoo.

This avoids any awkward chats further on down the line – and stops you getting annoyed when your toiletries go missing.

  1. Don’t overdo it on the guests

Most roommates and housemates are happy for you to bring over your friends or significant other from time-to-time. When this happens a little too regularly, though, they can start to resent it. Having to share the shower and the sofa with non-roommates all the time becomes draining.

Again, talk it out before you move in. Find out what the expectations are around guests and come to an agreement you’re all happy with.