Tips For Having A Summer Roommate

Summer is here! No matter what your plans are hopefully you already have housing arranged.  If you are staying in Chapel Hill trying to figure out what’s next or starting an internship or job in another city, your housing situation might  involve a  roommate.  This roommate could be a person you barely know or have never met face-to-face.

Living with a stranger can be convenient and a great way to develop a new circle of friends.  However, a summer roommate can be very different from living with someone for an extended period of time.  Because the situation is supposed to be temporary, either or both parties may not feel the need to get to know each other and therefore may not vocalize their expectations very well.  Most of the time this can be ok because summer schedules are busy and you may not even see each other that much. However, because summer schedules can be lax and sporadic  things can go wrong or get annoying.   If this happens, a lack of communication from the beginning and an unclear understanding of how the other person handles conflict can make life stressful.

So, here are some tips for living with a summer roommate you don’t know very well or at all:

Before you move in

  1. Know who else has a key.  (Stay updated on this as the summer progresses.)
  2. Understand how the security deposit works. If there is damage to the property will both or all roommates lose their security deposits or just one person?  Will the check be held or cashed?
  3. Take pictures of everything to document the move-in conditions.
  4. Contact the property owner directly and make sure they know you are there.
  5. Get a copy of the original lease.
  6. Make a copy of everything you sign.
  7. Understand how parking works.
  8. Know how you and the roommate(s) will split the cost of utilities.

Within a few days of moving in make an effort to get to know the other person, maybe invite them to dinner.  This will make it easier to discuss the following up front:

  1. Rules about any and all types of guests  (Weekends, after 5pm, overnight, long-term)
  2. How the bathroom will be shared
  3. Noise
  4. When front and back doors will be locked
  5. How often and who will clean and take out the trash on trash day
  6. Parties and what will be served at the parties. If you are uncomfortable with what is being planned speak up and offer an alternative that you are comfortable with.
  7. What you are willing to share (e.g., cleaning supplies, food, and space)
  8. Expectations regarding cleaning before ALL/BOTH of you move out

Do you have suggestions for living with someone you  do not know very well during the summer?  Leave a comment below, Tweet us @UNCCampusHealth, or share your thoughts on our Facebook wall!

Have a great summer everyone!

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