Apartment Rules for Roommates

Roommates. The word may send steam out of your ears, but at some point in your life you will likely have to deal with sharing your living space with someone else. Whether you live with a close friend or are randomly matched up, eventually your roommate relationship status will be changed to: it’s complicated.

If you are concerned about getting to know your roommate or keeping a good relationship with your roommate, start at the beginning. Get everything out in the open about what you want out of the living arrangement, what you expect and what you will do to contribute. (Let’s face it – you may be considered a bad roommate.) Use Move For Free’s apartment rules for roommates to create your own guidelines.


Make a cleaning schedule

Nobody likes to live in a mess, but it can be difficult to clean up someone else’s clutter. In order to avoid this, create a rule to clean up after yourselves. Wash your own dishes. Don’t leave your things lying around in public spaces. A little pile of items can quickly turn into a mountain and result in spiteful remarks and mean looks.

Will you need to make a shower agenda?

A long, hot shower is the perfect start to a good day. Your roommate probably thinks so, too. So don’t steal all the hot water. Cold showers ensure an angry roomie, and that can lead to large amounts of icy stares in your near future.

Food: Will you share or keep things separate?

This is a big one! Make the decision at the beginning if you will be willing to share your food or if you will be irritated every time your chip bag mysteriously dwindles down without your consent.

Taking out the trash

Filling up the trash is easy. The hard part is deciding who is going to get rid of it. If you’re waiting on your roommate to take it out, chances are, he or she is thinking the same thing. The easiest way to get around an overflowing trash can is to make a rotation schedule. And don’t forget to put a new trash bag in the can!


Money can come between even the best of friends, so a roommate is no exception. Paying rent on time is very important and can be a problem when you don’t control the entire amount being paid. Don’t wait until you start receiving notices for late payments. Ensure on time payments by setting up a meeting every month. Use this time to go through bills, statements and, while you’re there, air out any other concerns you may have.

If you put these rules into play at the beginning of your shared living arrangement, it should result in a less stressful environment. Communication is key. Talk to each other. Have a good understanding of everyone’s expectations, and do your part to be a good roommate from beginning to end.