Remember that roommate rules questionnaire your floor fellow handed out at the beginning of first year? We don’t. We’ve come up with our own replacement, because having roommate squabbles during exams is worse than actually taking exams.
If you just discovered that your roommate uses a live rooster as an alarm clock, enjoys practicing Tai Chi in the shower, or shuns the modern concept of a toilet in favour of a chamber pot, it may be too late to find another one. But you may be able to compromise on some other issues before the year gets underway. Here are some things which you and your roommates should discuss:
Chores: Sorting out household responsibilities should be one of the first things on your roommate discussion list. Make sure you decide who will take out the garbage, the recycling, who will cook dinners, and who will clean common spaces, which includes doing the dishes. While you don’t need to set up a hard schedule for this, you may be disappointed when your roommate fails to make chicken fingers six months from now,
Groceries: If you don’t want to end up with vegan, low-fat, calcium enriched body wash, you might want to set up some sort of grocery schedule with your roommates. It is also important to set up a payment scheme for the groceries, so you don’t end up buying cases of Dom Perignon only on the weeks you are paying.
Bills: Breaking down the bill payment costs between roommates is almost as important as choosing a house 12-pack. Important services include: electricity, internet, phone, and TV. You also need to ensure you have an overdraft plan. What happens when your roommate comes home at four in the morning, drunk, and downloads every episode of Star Trek in ultra high-definition?
Friends: Your apartment is your own personal space, but you are sharing it with others. You should set up rules with your roommates about having company over. Do you let them know? How far in advance? What if your friends are having a sleep-over and you’re going to stay up late telling scary stories?
Sex: We’re not at a Mormon school, and your roommates might shag. If you’re really unlucky, you might have to deal with apartment-cest. Convention dictates that a tie on the door, ask no more. If you’re planning a love escapade lit by hundreds of candles and set to the tune of Dido, you might want to let your roommate—and the fire department—know in advance. Be sure to set up rules for repeat visitors.
Vacation: The school year comes with several breaks. You should decide in advance what you’re going to do with the apartment, and who’s going to take care of your pet fish, Gob. Subletting and rent-splitting during time away are issues to think about.
No matter how much you prepare, you will hit bumps. Whether you have the roommate who never cleans the pots, or the roommate who smokes too much pot, there will always be things that annoy you about each other, but how you choose to deal with it is the true test.