8 Issues to Consider in a Roommate Contract

A roommate agreement is an opportunity for people living together to address issues and arrive at agreements before problems arise. Many colleges encourage new roommates living in the dorms to take time in the first week to develop roommate contracts. These contracts are not legal documents, but some colleges have procedures in place for those who violate agreed upon standards. Whether living in a dorm or off-campus apartment, consider these issues before you voice concerns and set limits in a roommate contract.

Visitors Most students will want to bring friends back to hang out in their room. Problems arise when one roommate is trying to sleep or study and another roommate has visitors. Are there times when all roommates agree to meet friends elsewhere? Is there a limit to the number of visitors you want at any time? Three? Ten? Consider everyday situations like study groups and hanging out, but don't forget the more extreme possibilities of late-night gatherings or large parties.

Overnight Guests No one wants to come home to find a roommate having sex, but keep in mind not all overnight guests are dates. Do you want to have your sister or best friend from home spend the night if they come to visit for the weekend? There may be times when having an overnight guest is acceptable. Discuss options with your roommates and be clear on the types of situations you wish to avoid. (Hint: prohibiting opposite sex guests will not solve the issue of roommate sex if one of your roommates prefers same sex partners.)

Smoking Many students who didn't smoke in high school, take up the habit in college. Even if all roommates begin the year as non-smokers make sure you address the issue. Do you have asthma, allergies, or other health issues that will be affected if your roommate or his or her clothes always smell like smoke? Is it ok for your roommate to sit in the room and smoke out an open window? Just because dorms prohibit smoking, doesn't mean you won't need to address this issue.

Alcohol Most colleges have very clear policies about drinking on campus, so this topic may be more appropriate for those living off-campus. In either case, roommates should agree on issues such as keeping alcohol in the room and steps to take if a roommate is in violation of campus policy. Do not assume campus policies will keep roommates from drinking or keeping alcohol in the room.

Drugs Like alcohol policies, controlled substance policies exist at every college. Students are expected to follow state and local laws, but realistically many college campuses have drug cultures on campus. Discuss the issue of drug use and keeping controlled substances in the room with all parties. Make sure everyone is clear on boundaries and what steps will be taken if one roommate is found to be in violation of this portion of the contract.

Quiet Time Are you a morning person? A night owl? The first step in finding common hours for everyone in our room is to honestly answer any roommate surveys your college sends out. The housing office tries to match students with similar living habits. Many roommates agree on quiet hours; if you want to talk on the phone, meet with a study group, or play music during these times, you need to leave the room or wear headphones. Try to talk through possible scenarios and keep in mind you may the one making the noise.

Shared Items Are there any items you have brought for everyone to use? Are there items that roommates can freely use without having to ask? Commonly shared items include a television, microwave, and refrigerator. When sharing kitchen items make sure you express any dietary restrictions, allergies, or religious issues that may affect what you do and don't want. Discuss plans for shared items and be clear if you have appliances you do not want your roommates to use.

Cleanliness Standard Some roommates are slobs while others are neat freaks. Hopefully you are matched with a compatible roommate, but you should address a commonly cleanliness standard ahead of time. Will you divide the room into parts and each take responsibility for your own area? What will you do if your roommate leaves moldy food around for weeks? How can your roommate tell you nicely that you need to pick up your dirty socks?

Roommate contracts aren't designed to forbid another student from doing something, but they are a good way to openly discuss potential areas of disagreement before a problem arises. All students need to understand that living with a roommate means compromise. Lack of privacy and disturbed sleep are common in college, but roommates can work together to establish mutually agreed upon boundaries. Review written by Doris Hall – professional who can write an essay for me cheap and quallity.