Lisa Schade

Broker, BS, CDPE, SFR

Tips for a Healthy Roommate Relationship

Creating a harmonious relationship with your roommate can be an arduous task, often falling prey to a lack of communication, pent-up frustration or selfishness. Here are a few helpful tips from to get you and your roomie back on track.

  • Make it known. Don’t skirt the issue when it comes to describing your day-to-day activities. Before you sign a lease, it’s important for your roommate to understand your schedule to avoid conflicts later. If you are an “early to bed, early to rise” kind of person, a roommate who works on mixing his DJ tracks at night may not be your best bet.
  • Talk it out. Working to communicate your needs and expectations to one another is crucial for a happy roommate relationship. For example, if your roommate is a student and wants to use the kitchen table to study, decide not to watch TV loudly in the same room during study hours. Likewise, if you’re hosting a “Bachelorette” season-finale party at your apartment, give your roommate fair warning to make other plans.
  • Give a little. By speaking with your roommate about both of your priorities and interests, you can find the greatest common ground and meet somewhere in the middle. Giving a little on both sides shows mutual respect, which makes for an ideal living situation.
  • R-E-S-P-E-C-T. One secret to roommate success is creating boundaries between public and private space. Bedrooms should generally remain off limits to the other roommate, and personal items should not be borrowed without permission. Make sure to talk with your roommate about what is meaningful to you and set clear boundaries together.
  • Clean up your act. As indicated by’s survey, keeping clean is a must. While some people are naturally tidier than others, it’s important to divide cleaning responsibilities so the burden is shared. Be sure to discuss expectations for cleaning before you sign on the dotted line. Talk about who will clean what and how often, and what’s acceptable in terms of daily and weekly up-keep.
  • Bills, bills, bills. Make sure you decide on when and how bills and rent will be paid for before making the roommate bond permanent. For instance, if one person is in charge of utilities, make the other in charge of submitting the rent check each month. Designating bills as a shared responsibility helps foster timeliness when it comes to deadlines.


Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.