No matter how close you are with your roommates with whom you are living in your apartments in Blacksburg, VA, having a set roommate agreement is essential to smooth living.
You may be under the impression that you don’t need any type of contract—after all, you’ve known your two friends for years. What could go wrong living with them?
You’ll rethink that notion once your roommate starts doing something you can’t live with.
If you don’t have an agreement with your roommates, you may want to take the initiative to create one.
Take these steps to form a working agreement upon which your roommates can agree.
Discuss specific protocol for various scenarios:
Your roommate agreement should outline policies for overnight guests, climate of the apartment, and other situations that would otherwise be tricky to coordinate without a roommate agreement.
If your roommates agree that they must give the others two days of advance notice before bringing an overnight guest to your home, explicitly add that to the agreement. If you all decide that they can stay for a maximum of three consecutive days at a time, make sure to include that detail as well.
The more comprehensive your roommate agreement, the clearer it will be to stick to. Also, make sure the wording on the agreement is clear enough to be understood by all signers.
As for apartment rules, have a group discussion with your roommates about each person’s needs as far as bedtimes and wake-up times they tend to follow, thoughts on noise level in the room at certain times of the day. Discuss small details such as room temperature as well.
Establish cleaning expectations
No room stays clean on its own.
Your roommate agreement will not be complete until you have addressed how to maintain your space; how you are going to split up small responsibilities such as taking out the trash cans, vacuuming the floor, and organizing clutter?
These are surprisingly important questions, believe it or not. Minor matters such as these can accumulate and grow into larger issues that you won’t want to be worrying about when your attention should be on managing college itself.
Academics and extracurricular activities become harder to enjoy when you are unhappy with roommate relations at home.
Have every roommate sign the agreement
Sign the document. Sign the document. Sign the document.
Without signatures from all of your roommates, the agreement is not an agreement, and technically the contract will not apply to those who have not signed it. A signature in your roommate agreement should ideally represent a commitment to contribute to the well-being of your shared space, and demonstrate willingness to cooperate.
Note that your roommate agreement may be subject to amendments and additions as time progresses, and that you are more than encouraged to revisit your agreement several times throughout the duration of living with your roommates. As issues arise, the agreement should reflect upon and attempt to resolve these issues.
Treat your roommate agreement seriously, understanding that the sole reason it exists is to prevent uncomfortable predicaments and promote smooth relations with individuals who may live quite differently from the way you do.
Overall, it is much easier to resolve conflicts if you have a roommate agreement for your off-campus apartment. This will prevent misunderstandings and assumptions from growing out of control.
Without a roommate agreement or some type of statement co-drafted by all individuals involved in your housing situation, it is much harder to hold roommates accountable for maintenance of the space.
Creating a coherent and thought-out roommate agreement will bring your roommates peace of mind, and make for a more pleasant experience even in times of disagreement.