Roommate conflicts are a common occurrence both on campus and off. The best way to manage potential conflicts is to create a roommate agreement in writing at the start of your time living together. The agreement can outline cleaning duties, paying bills, guests policies, noise, and use of the common space. Putting responsibilities in writing may help to avoid problems later. Check out the example roommate agreement below, from Nolo.com.
Sample Roommate Agreement
(Adapted from Marcia Stewart of Nolo.com)
Alex Andrews, Brian Bates, and Charles Chew are cotenants at 1972 Commonwealth Avenue, Brighton, Massachusetts, under a year-long lease that expires on August 28, 201X. They have all signed a lease with the landlord, Phil Smith, and have each paid $700 towards the security deposit of $2,100. Alex, Brian, and Charles all agree as follows:
(1) Rent. The rent of $2,100 per month will be shared equally, at $700 per person. Alex will write a check for the total month's rent and take it to the manager's office on the first of each month (or the next day if the 1st falls on a holiday). Brian and Charles will pay their share to Alex on or before the due date.
(2) Bedrooms. Alex and Brian will share the large bedroom with the adjacent deck; Charles will have the small bedroom.
(3) Food. Each cotenant is responsible for his own food purchases.
(4) Cleaning. Charles will clean his own room; Alex and Brian will clean theirs weekly. The household chores for the rest of the apartment -- living room, dining room, kitchen, and bathroom -- will rotate, with each cotenant responsible for vacuuming, dusting, mopping, and bathroom maintenance on a weekly basis. Each cotenant will promptly clean up after himself in the kitchen. No one will leave dishes in the sink for more than 24 hours, and everyone will promptly clean up when asked.
(5) Utilities. Everyone will pay an equal share of the electricity and gas bills. Alex will arrange for service and will pay the bill. Within three days of receiving the bill, Charles and Brian will each pay Alex one-third of the total.
(6) Cable. Alex will arrange for cable service and will pay the monthly bill. All roommates will share the cable bill equally.
(7) Guests. Because of the apartment's small size, each tenant agrees to have no more than one overnight guest at a time and to inform the others in advance, if possible. Each cotenant agrees to no more than four guests overnight in a month.
(8) Exam Periods. During mid-term and final exam periods, no cotenant will have overnight guests or parties.
(9) Violations of the Agreement. The cotenants agree that repeated and serious violations of one or more of these understandings will be grounds for any two cotenants to ask the other to leave. If a cotenant is asked to leave, he will do so within two weeks, and will forfeit any outstanding pre-paid rent.
(10) Leaving Before the Lease Ends. If a cotenant wants to leave before the lease expires on August 28, 201X, he will give as much notice as possible (and not less than one month) and diligently try to find a replacement tenant who is acceptable to the remaining cotenants and the landlord.
(11) Security Deposits. The cotenant who leaves early (voluntarily or involuntarily) will get his share of the security deposit returned, minus costs of unpaid rent, repairs, replacement, and cleaning attributable to the departing tenant, when and if an acceptable cotenant signs the lease and contributes his share to the security deposit. If an acceptable cotenant cannot be found, the departing tenant will not receive any portion of his share of the security deposit until the tenancy of the remaining cotenants is over and the security deposit is refunded, in whole or in part, by the landlord.
(12) Dispute Resolution. If a dispute arises concerning this agreement or any aspect of the shared living situation, the cotenants will ask the the Office of the Dean of Students or the Office of Residential Life for Off-Campus Housing for assistance before they terminate the cotenancy or initiate a lawsuit. This will involve all three tenants sitting down with an administrator in good faith to try to resolve the problems.