Sharing your residence with a roommate is a great way to cut your monthly housing expenses. Whether you're looking for someone to move in with you or seeking a place to live and a roommate to share expenses with, verify that the lease agreement permits co-tenant arrangements. If the rental contract doesn't mention it, seek landlord approval before you move in or move someone else into the rental. A sublease agreement, or sublet, is another way to share your space with a roommate. Only one resident's name is on the rental agreement and the other roommate is left off of the contract.
Decide What You Want
Consider the type of roommate you'd like to have and set basic criteria that a potential applicant must meet. Basic guidelines to consider when deciding who would make a good roommate for your situation include cleaning regimens, guest needs, work and sleeping hours and their pet situation. Age and profession may also affect your choice in roommate. For example, applicants who are self-employed or freelancing may have a harder time providing a neat track record of earnings and work history. Or students applicants with no work history or past rental references may be more difficult to screen.
Advertise Roommate Search and Basic Criteria
Advertise your need for a roommate among your sphere of friends, family, co-workers and classmates. You can also post an ad in local newspapers, circulars and online. Roommate-finding agencies with trained specialists can also match you up with a compatible fit, usually for a fee. Such firms perform can also screen applicants and provide a safer way to find a roommate than advertising to the general public. In your advertisement, include the most relevant information, such as the preferred gender, neighborhood, pet and smoking rules, rent amount and move-in date.
Interviewing Potential Roommates
Interview interested candidates face-to-face, if possible. Find out if they have specific needs that could significantly affect your daily living. For example, ask about their work hours and whether they tend to stay up late or wake up unusually early, which may impact your routine. Living with a musician, for example, can mean loud, late-night rehearsals in your home. Be sure to know in detail what each person expects from the roommate arrangement such as cleanliness, sharing of household duties, guest rules and procedures for solving problems or disagreement that may arise.
Perform a Background Check
Conduct a background check on the person you choose. Contact their personal references and past landlords or roommates and ask about their experiences in terms of rent and bill-paying history. Confirm the applicant's financial standings to ensure they can afford rent. If signing a co-tenant agreement with the roommate and landlord, most landlords ask for written proof of employment status, income and require a credit report and assess application fees for both occupants. If subletting, you need written authorization to screen the tenant and you should use a third-party screening company.
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