I’ll bet you’re looking forward to the day when you come home from a hard day at work to find out that your new roommate spent their day off painting the entire living room black. Isn’t it beautiful? In case this wasn’t what you had in mind, please consider points 8-15 in Part II in our series on Tips for Roommates (click here for Part 1):
8. Are you nervous about security? If you come home to an empty apartment and an unlocked door, are you going to freak out?
9. What are you expecting to get out of this relationship? Are you two ships passing in the night out of economic convenience or are you intending to be best friends forever?
10. What about utilities? Who’s name do they go in? Are you an energy miser, willing to sit shivering in the dark to save a few extra kilowatts or are you more prone to leaving the lights on and, well, leaving.
11. How are you going to pay the rent? Are you each going to cut a separate check to the landlord or is one roommate going to pay the other with only one check going to the landlord? And what happens if a roommate’s check bounces or they don’t pay?
12. Is your relationship financially lopsided? If you are the economic engine that the landlord is relying upon to approve your housing unit, guess who the landlord is going to go after in the event of a deficiency? Which brings us to our next point . . .
13. You are jointly and severally liable. This is fancy legal jargon for saying that if there is a problem with the rental, the landlord could pursue either roommate individually for the entire deficiency or both roommates together simultaneously. In the event that things go wrong, the landlord isn’t going to be interested in mediating disputes between roommates. Instead, the landlord is going to take the shortest and surest route to the money.
14. What about decorating? Is your new crib going to be something out of Better Homes and Gardens or is it destined to be more like Never Home and Garbage? And does the landlord even allow painting the entire living room black?
15. What about guests? I’m thinking most particularly about opposite sex types guests, particularly guests that are around a lot or never seem to leave. Be careful here. Are you really just getting one roommate or is there really going to be more like two once you account for the significant other?
Finally, a word of advice: Everyone will be happier if you’re living in an apartment with two bathrooms. That’s why the new units at Decker Properties are equipped with two baths, like the Mayfair Apartments in Waupun, WI. That isn’t going to resolve the dispute over who gets the heated-tile-floor, custom walk-in shower, but at least you won’t be stuck cleaning your roommate’s globs of used toothpaste off of your bathroom sink.