House Rules For Roommates
Living with house mates or roommates can be a challenging experience if there are no rules to determine what is acceptable and what is not. Rules don’t have to be complicated or extensive. The primary purpose and idea behind the rules is to create a peaceful co-existence that works for everyone in the house. Ideally, these rules should be established before you move in together.
If it isn’t yours, don’t mess with it unless you ask. Sharing a house or room does not mean that you share everything. You share space. If you didn’t buy it or acquire it in some way, it isn’t yours. Respect the personal property of your roommate and expect that your roommate will respect yours.
Respecting Quiet Times
Keep the noise down when someone is trying to sleep or study. One roommate shouldn’t have to wear ear plugs just so the other can enjoy his music, TV or other noisy activity.
Be clear on what is expected of all household members financially. If bills are split equally, there should be an honest accounting of the bills and a fair split. The money that is due from each house member should be paid on time and with the full amount. If one person is responsible to pay a certain bill or pay all the bills from common funds, the bill or bills should be paid on time and in full. No one likes to discover a bill didn’t get paid when they turn the service off.
Keep your part of the house clean and neat. Pitch in to keep common areas clean. No one should have to follow around behind other house members and clean up. If a cleaning schedule is created to cover the various housekeeping chores, all members of the house should do their share when it is assigned.
Alert the other members of the house if you are bringing a guest over. This should be especially true if the guest may inconvenience any other house member.
Legal and Illegal Items
Be clear and in agreement on what substances are allowed in the house and what are not. Drugs, alcohol and tobacco are just a few of the substances you may need to discuss. Pets may be another, especially if your rent agreement doesn’t allow pets. Be very clear on what you each expect in regard to these items and stick to the agreement.
Have a plan for resolving conflict. Conflicts happen between even the best of friends. Establish rules of engagement so you can work things out without resorting to a huge fight.
Put It in Writing
Once you have agreed on the house rules, put them in writing and all house members should sign them. In this manner, you have a firm copy of what the agreements are and recourse if you have to take legal steps.