Top Tips to Manage A Roommate

“Alero, I am cash-strapped and I need to rent a new apartment that is really close to work. I wish I could just stay with you. I am seriously considering having a roommate as a means of reducing the burden of rent but then again I don’t know a thing about having one! I have lived alone for the most part of my life! I need your help!” Sewa cried.

Alero wouldn’t stop laughing at her. “Having a roommate is not the end of the world now Sewa, just make sure you carry out enough research on the person you plan on renting with. After you are pleased and comfortable enough with what you have found out, you can then follow these steps in managing your roommate relationship:


1. Setting Ground Rules

When managing a roommate, you have to set some ground rules. Whether you have known the person for a long time or you just met the person, it is imperative you have some laid down rules first. Everyone has different needs and wants and it is important that you respect each other’s desires as much as possible. Setting ground rules would go a long way in establishing a peaceful co-existence, at least for the span of the roommate relationship. Some of the topics you might want to cover include; cleanliness and having company over.

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2. Different Routines

Talk about the kind of schedule you both keep. For example, your roommate may still be in school, work at night or work a regular 8-5 job. With this information in mind, both of you can better manage your different schedules. You can be mindful of her sleep or work routines. Just because you are renting an apartment with someone does not mean you have to walk on eggshells when you’re at home, you can simply try your best to be as courteous as possible and hope she would return the favor.

3.  Bills! Bills!! Bills!!!

Next step! How do we handle bills? It is important to establish who pays for what and when they do as soon as possible. These costs range from house supplies and basic home utilities like PHCN bills, water bills, DSTV subscription. Would you buy food together or separately? Would each roommate be responsible for a different utility bill? You need to figure all of these things out. Usually, roommates make a list of possible bills and split the costs right down the middle. If there are three of you or you have the master bedroom, a 50/50 split wouldn’t do therefore a reasonable ratio should be predetermined.

4. Sharing

A lot of people, girls especially, can be very possessive of their things. Even if you lot are incredibly close or you have known each other for years, you should still give your roommate the courtesy of asking before using any of her things. You can’t go on assuming that whatever is hers is yours as such thoughts can backfire!

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5. Chores Schedule

I hope you can agree that there is nothing more annoying than a roommate who piles dirty dishes in the sink and watches someone else clean them up. To avoid this, establish something like a chore schedule for you two to follow. You can be in charge of washing the plates while she has the responsibility of making sure the trash is taken out. This way, you both know your responsibilities around the house.

6.  The Company Issue

It is only natural that you would  want to invite your friends over to the apartment but always ensure you check with your roommate first even if you share mutual friends. You definitely want to avoid having your roommate come home to a house full of people when all she wants to do is curl up and read a book or take a nap. If your roommate isn’t too keen on you having people over that often, try as much as possible to reach a compromise so as to weed out any tension.

7. Be Friendly

Your apartment should be your own haven or getaway from the pressures of the day. You may not see it as such if you don’t have a good relationship with your roommate. Your home should be your safe place and your roommate should contribute to that feeling. Be friendly and at the same time, give her her space. Communication is key! Although you and your roommate may most likely not be family, you are a unit living together in one apartment. It’s important for the harmony sakes that you get along so you can open up the lines of communication if there were to be a conflict. Also, if you won’t be coming home or if you are going to be home later than usual, it is good to alert your roommate so she can be notified for safety reasons. The earlier you establish the routines for everyday life, the happier the home!”

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With these, Sewa was so relieved as she looked forward to having a roommate!

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