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Top 5 Ways to Avoid Roommates from Hell

There are certain kinds of bad roommates who can drive you insane. Some can be slobs who can’t contain their mess in their own private space; some can create the most psychologically taxing levels of drama that reality shows can only dream of reaching; some will eat your food without permission. Worse, there are those who would even pretend rent and due dates don’t exist, and you can end up badgering them forever just so they will pay their dues on time.

If you have ever lived in a shared residence or have some friends who do, then you might have already heard these horror stories. To avoid having to live with these bad roommates, here are a few tips:

1. Do a background check

Doing your research about your next roommate is as important as assessing the neighborhood or location when building a house. You need to be thorough so you discover early on what to expect. The best way to do it is to examine the person’s social media profile as it offers plenty of information you just so happen to need. A quick search can reveal their hobbies, interests, and lifestyle, which may or may not be compatible with yours. Also, you may be able to see employment details on social media, which are good indicators on how consistent and reliable a person can be. Furthermore, you can check if you have any mutual friends, and if there are, then you can ask them about their opinion regarding your potential roommate.

2. Ask a lot of questions

Another way to learn if you will be living with a bad roommate or not is to simply ask questions, allowing you to find out more about them. You can invite them for coffee or a cup of tea, and from there you can ask standard questions: their favorite show, food they like, what they do to entertain themselves, and so forth.

3. Tell your side of the story

As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. If you are trying to find a decent roommate, chances are they are searching for one as well, and it is only fair that you should also let them know what it is like living with you. Mention your hobbies, what you do for a living, your good and bad habits your taste in music, stuff like that. It will help build trust at an early stage, and you can get to know each other better.

Top 5 Ways to Avoid Housemates from Hell - Tell your side of the story

4. Establish a trial period

If you are not satisfied with the information you have gathered from background checks and meetups, another way to see if things will work out or not is to have a trial period. This way, the experience itself will tell you if you have found a housemate you can live with for years.

5. Set house rules

It is highly recommended that you have face-to-face discussions when problems occur to resolve the issue. It is also advised for housemates to establish a set of house rules to make sure that the same problems won’t continue happening in the future. Talk to your housemate about this, and cover everything from visitors through noise to paying the rent. You can implement these rules as early as during the trial period, to see how well you both comply with the given regulations.

If you want to learn more about how others manage (or don’t) to get along with their bad roommates, check out our latest study on what makes the best and worst roommate.

Mihaela Buzec
Mihaela Buzec
Mihaela Buzec is a writer and online content developer for RentCafe. She covers topics about everything related to the renting lifestyle, from decorating and interior design to finding the right apartment, frugal living, money saving advice, and more. She dives deep into topics of interest, writing well-researched comprehensive guides on subjects such as renting with pets, saving on utilities, or avoiding rental scams to help renters stay informed and live smart. Mihaela holds a BA in English and German Language and Literature, an MA in Current Linguistics, and she is currently pursuing a PhD in neurolinguistics.

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