Roommate contract

Avoid roommate drama by creating a roommate contract.

Moving in to your dorm room can seem like a daunting task.  You’re away from home and you’re most likely going to be living with a stranger.  Roommate contracts are a great way to get to know your roommate, set boundaries, and most importantly ensure a mutual respect between you and your roommate.

Don’t know where to start? Here’s a few suggestions for things to include in your roommate contract.

Bringing Property

Due to the limited space in most dorm rooms, living with another college student can involve a lot of compromise.  Before you move in, be sure to communicate with your roommate.  Are you bringing a refrigerator, or does your roommate already have one? Who’s going to bring a fan? Do you need anything else that will benefit both you and your roommate? Be sure to clarify ownership of certain items in your roommate contract to prevent any confusion when you part ways in the spring.

Sharing Items

Conversely, there may be items that you don’t want to share with you roommate.  Be sure to specify what objects your roommate can use, and what things you would rather not lend out.  Clarifying these expectations in your roommate contract beforehand can avoid miscommunication in the future.  If you do decide to lend out items such as clothing or books, be sure to establish a date of return.  If you include these rules in your contract, it will be easier to avoid disputes and misunderstandings.

Schedules

While you and your roommate’s schedules may vary from semester to semester, it’s good to set standards and maintain ample communication.  If you have a class early in the morning, should your roommate go to sleep at a more reasonable time, or can you sleep through most noises? When do you study? Make sure you communicate with your roommate if you’re going to be coming back late or during their study time.

Cleaning

Though dorms are constantly in various forms of clutter, keeping your living space clean is important.  Establish cleanliness standards for your room.  Is it acceptable to leave the bed unmade?  What steps will you take to maintain organization?  Take turns cleaning shared spaces such as bathrooms or kitchen areas.  Be sure to discuss a cleaning rotation; scheduling could be a beneficial asset that keeps your room clean.

Addressing Issues

Even with a solid contract established, unexpected issues may arise during your year together. If this does happen, don’t be afraid to contact a Residential Advisor or another authority figure that can help you and your roommate work through the rough patches.  Be sure to include a way to resolve any disputes that might occur in your roommate contract.  This could mean a gentle reminder in the form of a text or even a mediated meeting between you and your roommate.

Having a roommate can be intimidating, but it can also be an amazing way to share college experiences with others.  Remember, living together will need a lot of compromise.  Having a contract that you and your roommate mutually agree upon is a great way to communicate and maintain a tension-free environment.

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