Roommate Rehab: 4 Strategies to Minimize Roommate Drama

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Roommate Rehab: 4 Strategies to Minimize Roommate Drama

Staff Writer · Mar 3, 2010

Making the decision to take on a roommate, or to be one, guarantees at least a conflict or two during the rental agreement. Any two people living together under one roof for an extended period will clash from time to time. However, there are ways to minimize and not elevate roommate drama:

1. Compatibility

Don’t move in with someone you’re not compatible with in the first place. A low rent payment should not be the deciding factor, because you can end up with a low rent payment and a miserable one year existence. You’re bound to argue more with someone you’re not compatible with, which leads to anger and tension in an apartment. It’s even worse when you have to share a small apartment, because you’ll feel trapped inside it. Roommate matching services use quizzes to determine whether a potential roommate is compatible. You can do the same by at least asking some compatibility questions upfront on topics, such as hobbies, values and cleanliness.

2. Determine a Chores Schedule

Not maintaining a clean environment is one of the main source of contention between roommates. Part of the reason is that the subject is approached so casually. That’s fine if it works out, but if  there’s drama between you and your roommate, because you or they are always cleaning the apartment and picking up after the other person, then it’s time for a new strategy. Have a meeting and write up a list of chores for the common areas, and put the name of the person responsible to complete the chore, and how often. Then, agree upon consequences for the chores not getting done. For example, the roommate who doesn’t do their share can pay a cleaning fee to the other for the time they spent doing the chore. You know your roommate best, so come up with something that works to motivate and hold each other accountable.

3. Collect Rent the Day Before

If rent is due on the first, agree with your roommate to have the rent ready the day before. The biggest arguments by far occur when one or more roommate doesn’t pay rent, or fails to pay rent on time. Collecting rent prior to the due date will at least prepare the both of you for the possibility that rent will be late, or give you enough time to make a decision to pay it in full and collect it from your roommate later that month. Make them pay you a late fee if you pay their share of the rent, or else you’ll be paying all the rent more often than you want.

4. Walk Your Dogs

Your roommate may not like your dog the way you do, and it may cause problems between you two. Help to minimize the stress of living with a dog (stress for your roommate), by walking it and giving it the attention it needs. This reduces the dog’s need to bite things it shouldn’t, and it won’t be as restless in the apartment.

Sometimes you can’t minimize roommate drama, other than to have someone move out. However, these 4 strategies should help in most cases.

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