When you choose to share an apartment or home with a roommate, it’s a huge relief to have someone to share the expenses with. It may be a relief when it comes to sharing the financial burden, but in order to maintain peace and harmony, you will need to lay down a few ground rules. This is where having a roommate agreement comes in handy. With everything in writing, the rules are understood and both parties know what to expect when it comes to certain aspects of the living arrangement.
Paying for Common Items
There are many household items that will be shared expenses by the residents. Toilet paper, paper towels, dish soap, and other cleaning supplies are normally shared between the members of the household. It may be easiest for every member of the household to contribute a specific amount of money to a fund that can be used to purchase items needed for the residence. If something needs to be purchased, the person who buys it can be reimbursed from the money in the fund.
Dividing Up the Household Tasks
Household chores are often a bone of contention between roommates. It’s important to create a chore schedule on the first day so that everyone knows what they need to be doing on any given day. If someone needs to swap chores or days with someone else, the changes need to be written on the schedule so that there is no confusion and all of the daily chores are taken care of. The house will stay clean and organized and everyone will always have a role to play in keeping it that way.
Having pets brings a lot of additional responsibilities. The owner of the animal must agree to the basic ground rules of the house. Plus, it is up to them to ensure that their animal is properly taken care of at all times including cleaning up any messes the animal may make. Before a pet is brought into the home, all of the parties involved must agree that the pet is welcome.
Rules for Having Visitors
We all like to invite our friends and families to our homes for gatherings or just to spend time with one another. When you have roommates, however, it’s important to make sure that they are comfortable with you having visitors. If they are very private, they may not want someone they do not know in their home. It is important that you come to an agreement about who is allowed to visit and who is not. In most cases, family and friends are agreed upon, but the line is drawn at throwing parties or bringing someone into the home that is unfamiliar.
Food is something that is commonly shared, especially if everyone in the house agrees to cook larger meals so everyone can eat. For personal food items, each person should have their own specific area in the refrigerator and pantry. This ensures that things will not get mixed together. While items used for the larger meals can be stored together, each person having their own areas ensures that they will have the foods they want, when they want them.
Another thing that is a common sticking point in a roommate agreement is the living environment. Agree on a specific temperature for the thermostat. Once it is set, leave it alone. Being comfortable in your own home is essential. The same is true for lighting. While many people love natural lighting, others don’t like to have the curtains wide open. Come to a mutual agreement that everyone can be comfortable with.
If you plan on having a roommate, it’s important to have an agreement between all of the parties involved. This ensures that everyone is treated fairly and all the needs are met. You can find several different templates online for roommate agreements that are legally binding and will ensure that you are as comfortable as possible with your living arrangement.