With housing prices on the rise year after year, many people in the Windsor and Essex County area can save money and achieve their financial goals by living with roommates. The monetary saving isn’t the only benefit. If you don’t like living alone, it’s nice to have company, as well as someone to take on an equal share of household tasks like cooking and cleaning.
Many people, especially early on in life, choose to live with friends or even family members. This can work out well, but if it doesn’t it can swiftly end the relationship.
Although having a roommate is something that most people will do at some point in their life, many of us have no idea where to start when it comes to choosing the right person to live with.
As property managers in Windsor, we’ve seen many different roommate relationships over the years, and have a pretty good understanding of what makes this relationship successful.
Here are some of our best tried-and-true tips for finding the best roommate.
1. Check your lease
Before bringing on a new roommate, check your lease. The number of people who can legally occupy a dwelling should be laid out in the lease, and tenants have a right to have that many people living in the unit. As long as you’re under the legal limit of occupants for that dwelling, there should be no problem with bringing in a roommate.
Tenants cannot make money for themselves by bringing in additional roommates and making them pay a higher percentage of the rent. In the same vein, landlords also cannot raise the monthly rent once more people are living in the unit.
2. Lay out your requirements
Once you’ve determined that you’re legally permitted to bring on a roommate, sit down and write about yourself and your home. List some qualities you’d like your new roommate to have. Some points to cover include:
- Your preferred level of cleanliness
- How often you do chores
- Your eating and cooking habits
- Your morning and evening routines
- Whether you like to socialize at home
Try and be honest about your needs, and habits. If you’re a night owl, and your new roommate loves to exercise with music at full volume every morning, it will probably lead to conflict. Try to evaluate yourself as objectively and honestly as possible, and write out your wants and needs clearly, so you can find a good fit.
3. Ask friends or family for recommendations
Many people start their roommate search by asking family or friends, to see if someone close to them wants to move in. Living with family or friends can be really fun, but it can also be tense and stressful if you find out that you’re not compatible housemates.
Instead of risking an important relationship, ask friends or family if they know anyone who is looking for housing. Since they know you, they’ll be able to help you determine compatibility with the individuals they suggest.
4. Post on social media or classifieds
If you aren’t able to find a roommate through a friend or family connection, post your listing online. Many different social media and classified sites can help facilitate the search for a roommate. Facebook has lots of different groups focused on housing, or you could try a site like Roomie.ca, Craiglist, Kijiji, or Roomie Match.
Some of these sites are free, while others require you to pay a small fee to display your listing. It may be worth paying the fee to join a site like Roomie Match, where all the profiles and listings are approved by a human to weed out scams and inappropriate messages.
5. Narrow down a few applicants
Once you’ve posted your listing and have gotten a few responses, go through them to weed out any that you think would be a poor match. Hopefully, you have at least a few options to choose from. Then, ask each applicant whether they can talk to you over the phone, over video, or in person.
6. Come up with a few great questions to ask every applicant
Once you have interviews scheduled, spend an hour or so before the first one figuring out what questions to ask. Most people tend to paint themselves in a positive light, but by asking questions, you can get a greater understanding of their day-to-day life, habits, and personality. Some questions you could start with include:
- What are your cleaning habits?
- What do you do most weekends?
- Do you smoke?
- When do you usually go to sleep, and wake up?
- Do you like to socialize at home?
- Do you prefer spending time in common spaces, or in your room?
- How long would you ideally want to live here?
7. Do more than one interview
Don’t just interview the first person who sends a good response to your listing. Pick the top 3 (or more!) and do interviews with each person. That way, you can get more comfortable with the process, and make comparisons to ensure you find the right roommate.
8. Ask for references
Don’t be afraid to ask candidates that you interview for references. Ideally, they would be able to provide a contact number for a current or former roommate, so you can ask how they got along, and what it was like to live with this person. Landlords can tell you how often they paid their rent on time, but won’t be able to share much about their day-to-day habits.
9. Make your choice carefully
Once you’ve finished all the interviews, take some time to examine all the information before making a final decision. Read over notes from your interviews, as well as any other supplemental information you gathered, like credit checks or references.
An important decision like this should always be made using both intuition, and hard facts. You may have gotten a great first impression from one person who you think would be fun to live with, but if they can’t pay rent on time, the relationship will quickly become problematic.
10. Make an agreement in writing
Once you’ve picked a roommate and have extended an offer, work out a roommate agreement together. This is an informal document that lays out each person’s rights and responsibilities. It can include everything from a chore schedule to a curfew for noise and other disturbances in the common areas.
Drafting this together will help get you on the same page before they move in, and is a great resource for resolving potential conflicts.
Looking for a New Place? Find Listings at Goldmar Property Management
At Goldmar Property Management, we care deeply about creating positive experiences for both our landlords and tenants. That why we’ve made house hunting in Windsor and Essex County so easy. Just visit our website for available listings, which are searchable by area, budget, and size. After that, check out our blog for more resources on how you can ensure a positive renting experience.