How to Write a College Roommate Agreement

Whether you’ve been best friends with your college roommate for your entire life or you had never met them before moving day, it is a good idea to write a college roommate agreement not long after you move in together. College Roommate Agreement, TJ Woods Insurance Agency, Worcester, MAWhile not typically a legally binding document, a college roommate agreement will set expectations for behavior and responsibility, and may be referred to in the future if any issues occur. Even if you sense that this is about to be the beginning of a great friendship, you should still sit down together and put parameters on what you are comfortable with and what you are not. Living with someone is a completely different dynamic than simply being their friend, so it is even more vital for friends to create a roommate agreement when moving in together.

Costs

If are living in an apartment with other people, you will need to come to an agreement on how costs will be shared. Will the rent be split evenly, or in proportion to the size of each bedroom? How will the utilities be taken care of (i.e. who’s name will be on which bills and how will they be reimbursed)? Websites such as BillPin can help you easily track expenses and split bills.

Is each person responsible for their own groceries? Most people choose to buy their own. When it comes to household cleaning supplies, they should be bought together and the cost split evenly, since each roommate should be doing their part in the cleaning. A chore chart may be necessary to ensure that everyone contributes equally.

Quiet Hours

Inquire if your roommate prefers to stay up late or get up early. Put rules in your college roommate agreement indicating what time of day the lights are allowed to be on. It may be necessary to establish quiet hours for homework and sleeping. Some people may prefer to sleep in complete darkness or require the use of a noise machine, so make limits on lights and sounds.

Guests

Is there a certain time of day that visitors are allowed/not allowed? Are guests allowed to sleep over (and if so, does this include both males and females)? Decide if notice should be given before a visitor is permitted to come over. With dorm rooms, the idea of guests can become tricky because you or your roommate may want alone time with a friend or lover, or require solitude in order to study. Determine how this can be achieved without making the other roommate feel awkward or uncomfortable in their own room.

It is also important to outline both roommates’ outlooks on smoking, drinking, and illegal drugs. Are parties allowed, and if so, will there a limit on the number of guests or how late they are allowed to stay?

Personal Items

All personal items, unless otherwise specified, should be off-limits to others. Set a boundary for which personal items are okay to use without asking. Some of these things may seem unnecessary to discuss as long as the roommate has common courtesy, but not everyone has the same idea of what is acceptable behavior.

By writing down the answers to these topics, you will be able to refer back to the agreement if necessary. Creating a college roommate agreement allows room for discussion about various, often sensitive, subjects.

In the case of a breach of the college roommate agreement, or if your roommate does something that you feel uncomfortable with, it is important to have someone else that you can speak to. If you live in a dorm, your Resident Assistant will be able to help you settle any disputes or even find you a new roommate if necessary. A landlord may be less helpful on such matters, so be sure to ask your landlord if they will be available to speak with if the time comes. Otherwise, your school will have counselors or even an off-campus housing office that can help you settle problems with a roommate.

Another thing that many first-time renters don’t realize is that it is important to have renters insurance, even if you only plan on living in the apartment for a short period of time. Renters insurance will cover your personal items should they be damaged, and will also provide you with a place to stay if your apartment becomes unlivable.

If you are interested in learning more about renters insurance, please contact the agents at TJ Woods Insurance. We would be happy to help you have a wonderful and safe school year!

Have you ever experienced a situation in which you wish that you had written a college roommate agreement, but didn’t?