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Roommate Relations

Choosing a roommate will be one of the most important decisions you make while attending the University of North Texas, Texas Woman’s University or North Central Texas College. If you are thinking about roommates, we suggest that you choose wisely.  You’ve heard the stories and you may have already encountered the horrors of a roommate situation gone bad. Statistics show that your emotional happiness and positive social experiences while attending college are directly related to your living environment and your relationships with roommates. Dealing with continual conflict and personal strife can cause stress and put a real cloud over your daily activities. No doubt, choosing the correct roommate is extremely important to your mental health and well being. So, remember that old wise tale, “friends aren’t always the best roommates.”

OK, we’ve discussed your emotional situation at school, now let’s look at your financial well being. Odds are, you’ll probably decide to take on a roommate to off-set your living expenses. Sure, it’s a little more than living on campus, but if you do it right living off campus can be a rewarding experience, as well as an opportunity to set the groundwork for living on your own. Renting can also establish a credit history.  A word to the wise, roommates can effect your credit rating!  A financially irresponsible roommate literally holds your credit rating in the palm of their hands, not to mention thousands of dollars of future rents due. It might not be a bad idea to discuss exactly how your roommates intend to pay for their portion of the rent, utilities, etc.. If possible, have a guarantor/parent confirm that there won’t be any financial surprises in the middle of your rental agreement.

A growing trend for students is “Roommate Contracts.” You don’t need a lawyer, just sit down and draw up a document on your own. This agreement should address lifestyle preferences and household rules. After you have decided what is acceptable, have all parties sign the contract. This may seems awkward, but it may also prevent problems in the future and it will create an environment of mutual respect and understanding. Here are a few things to consider before drawing up your roommate contract:

  •  If possible, get each roommate’s parent or parents as co-signers on the lease agreement.
  • Establish rules on when and how monthly rents and utilities will be paid.
  • Create a personal folder for each member of the household. The folder should contain information on who to in case of an emergency,  blood type,  medical records  and current  prescriptions).
  • Discuss study habits and the expected study environment. Establish some sort of daily hours for studying.
  • Define a cleaning schedule for any common living areas like the living room, kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Discuss a food policy to determine if you will share a food budget or shop individually.
  • Establish lifestyle rules such as sleeping hours or personal habits like smoking or drinking.
  • Weekend Guests – define your expectations and the responsibilities of visiting friends and guests.
  • Establish  weekly meetings to discuss upcoming events like class schedules, tests, social activities, job hours.
  • Weekly Household Meetings – Get things out in the open, address  issue before it becomes a problem.
  • Transportation – Are you are going to share a ride to campus? If so, create a carpool budget.
  • Relationships – Create a significant others policy. Boyfriend and girlfriend issues can become real problems.
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