When you are in college living in the dorms, it’s not uncommon to be asked to sign a roommate contract. It usually requires having a quick conversation with your roommate about things like when you like to go to bed, how often you want to clean the room, and how many guests you anticipate having over. Sure, if this is an exercise your RA made you do, it probably felt a little awkward laying down the rules, but ultimately it was nice knowing that you would always have a contract there to reference if a roommate didn't hold up their end. Even though you’re now an adult, it probably couldn’t hurt to have some similar rules in place. That’s why CNBC Make It and Bustle created this roommate contract for millennials. Print it out, share it with your roommates, and you will never have to fight over trivial little things like whose turn it is to buy toilet paper ever again.
After all, post-college roommate situations can get a little tricky. Now, if a roommate doesn't pay their share of the rent or utilities, you're in trouble. It's no longer a simple solution of having them move out and into some other open dorm. In an apartment, all roommates are responsible for the full payment, and if a roommate is being cheap or avoiding paying, serious issues can arise. If you're subletting, you usually sign a sublease detailing exactly how much you will pay, but if you're coming into the apartment from the beginning, you usually don't lay everything out in the same manner.
That’s where a roommate contract becomes helpful. While you may not always be living with your bestie, keeping a friendly atmosphere is key to happy living. It's a way to get everything you want out in the open so you don't have to bring it up later. This way you know what to expect from each other from day one.
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The directions in the contract are simple:
"You found the perfect apartment, the perfect roommate(s), the perfect couch, and now it’s time to move in and live happily ever after. But when it comes to cohabitating with someone else — a friend, a stranger, even a significant other — awkward tension can arise if you don’t talk about the big stuff first. Fill this out with your roommate/roommates, and make sure everyone has one to go along with their copy of the lease."
Starting with the most important point, the contract breaks down how much each roommate will pay for rent every month, as well as who will be responsible for sending the rent check. Once the most important piece is out of the way, the contract moves on to things that will affect your daily life. This section, entitled "Things To Think About...And Talk About," is broken down into eight parts, each ending with the line "How you're going to handle it" and room for you to fill in the blank. Addressing everything from who's going to take out the garbage to if you anticipate getting any pets, every point of living together is covered. All that's left is for each of you to initial and date it.
While issues are still bound to arise from time to time, having the tough conversations in the beginning provides an opportunity to continue open communication between you and your roommate. It's so important to know what kind of living situation you are entering into. Honestly, even if you're just considering living with someone, this roommate contract could be a great test to see how compatible your lifestyles are. Living with someone has its ups and downs, but with a roommate contract, you may start seeing a lot more ups. Check out the full roommate contract here.