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He Said, She Said

Before making any final decisions, it's a good idea to discuss issues of concern with your future roommate. A roommate contract [PDF] is also a good idea. The Dean of Students office has prepared a contract that serves as a solid foundation for a meaningful, productive, and mutually beneficial relationship between roommates.

Consumption of Substances

  • Does either one of you smoke? If one of you does and one doesn’t, how do you feel about this arrangement? If you are a non-smoker and you’ve never lived with a smoker, don’t be so quick to say “it's no problem.”
  • Do you drink alcohol, and if so, how often? How does each roommate feel about having alcohol present in the home?
  • Does either roommate have a history of drug abuse, or does one of you use drugs occasionally?

Lifestyle Habits

  • Are you a “morning person” or a “night owl”? If you have opposite habits, how will you go about respecting those differences?
  • How much time do you spend at home?
  • How do you feel about overnight guests?
  • Does either of you own a pet? Does the other roommate have any pet allergies? Do you plan to bring home a pet in the future, either jointly or separately?
  • How do you feel about playing music? The television? How loud? How late is too late?
  • How late is too late for incoming phone calls?
  • Is quiet important to you? How often?

Property and Household Chores/Obligations

  • How do you feel about your roommate using your possessions? Would you prefer to be asked permission first?
  • How will you divide groceries? Will you buy them separately and prepare your own meals individually or will you cook meals together?
  • How will household chores be divided? And what will happen if one of you fails to do his/her fair share?
  • How will you ensure that both of you produces your portion of the total rent each month on time?

The issues outlined, among many others, should be looked at and decided upon before signing any leases. Also remember that the most important aspect of a good living environment will be good communication and respect for one another.