Roommate Etiquette: Basic things to know about being a good roommate

I have a sheet I give all new tenants called “Basic Things All Renters Should Know” that helps explain things like how to reset a breaker or a garbage disposal. Since a lot of my tenants are new to living with roommates and new to being renters in general and they sometimes look to me for guidance, it could be helpful to log here my thoughts on how to be a good roommate.

Here are some basic things to know about being a good roommate:

– Do your share of the household cleaning and chores like taking out the trash and recycling.

Have a house meeting. Decide on a reasonable cleaning plan that is fair and to which everyone can agree. Then do what you promise to do when you promise to do it (cross reference this with “Being a Decent Human Being 101”).

– Pay your bills on time.

– Be respectful of your roommates’ needs for peace and quiet.

Communicate with each other and find out what each person’s needs will be for the duration of the lease. Respect all reasonable needs, or work out ones that don’t seem reasonable. And do this IN PERSON, not by using social media or email.

– Check with your roommates if you are planning to have people over or have a loud activity planned for any common space to make sure that it’s not happening at a bad time for them. If it is, then do not have the event. Be respectful of your roommates.

– If you have a significant other, you need to stay at their place as much as they stay at your place, and check with your roommates before starting a habit of having that person over regularly. Also before letting a significant other hang out at your apartment when none of the roommates are home check with your roommates to make sure they are comfortable with this.

– Do your share of chores!

– Make friends with your roommates, but give each other space. Smile, say “Hi” and be kind to one another, and to your neighbors.