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Monday, 20 September 2010 10:00

UPNR Roommate Search Safety And Tips

Personal Safety 

Please keep in mind that not everyone can be trusted! Follow your instincts and do not room with someone you do not trust.

It can be beneficial to meet the potential roommate(s) in person before signing any contracts. Meet the roommate(s) in a public, well-lit area. Ask to see some form of identification, such as a driver's license or BUCK*ID, to make sure the person is really who they say they are.

If you are concerned about potential roommates' finances, ask to do a credit check on them. If they are not comfortable giving out their personal information, contact the landlord to ask if they have ever been late on rent.

Do not hand over money to any potential roommate until you are comfortable with the arrangement. NEVER HAND OVER CASH! Always leave a paper trail (check or money order).

Make sure the landlord is aware that you will be residing at this unit. Sign a lease with the landlord.

 

Sign a Roommate Contract

Tips For Choosing A Roommate

Your happiness in your living environment is directly related to your relationship with your roommate. Personal problems with roommates can cause unneeded distress in your life. Remember that friends are not always the best roommates. Friends may take advantage of the situation by borrowing your CD's or clothes without asking, or they may not clean up their mess if they think you will clean it for them. If the roommate relationship becomes strained, you may lose a friend as well as a roommate.

Here are some tips on ensuring that you and your roommate(s) have a quality living experience together:

  • Discuss study habits and the expected study environment. Will you have some sort of "quiet hours"?

  • Discuss utilities. What type of phone plan do you want, or will you all have separate cell phones? Will you have cable and if so, what cable package?

  • Discuss visiting hours/procedures, if there will be any. Discuss party procedures, if there will be any.

  • Discuss the lease term. Most rental are 1 to 2 semester contracts. Make sure all roommates are clear on expectations. Will the roommate leaving be responsible for paying the rent? Will they try to find a replacement roommate (and if so, is this acceptable to the roommates remaining)?

  • Make a cleaning agreement or contract, including sweeping, dusting, cleaning up messes, doing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, etc.

  • Be careful that you and your roommates have the same idea of your relationship – are you looking for a best friend, someone to do things with on weekends, or just a roommate?

  • Always communicate concerns as soon as they happen.

  • Ask to see a police report( if have any criminal cases at surrounding area). Offer a copy of your own in return. This way you may be for certain that the potential roommate does not have a criminal record.

  • On rare occasions, a roommate may run into financial difficulties and be forced to move out without paying rent. This may leave the financial burden on the remaining roommate(s). If possible, sign separate leases (although most leases are joint and several, meaning you are all equally responsible for your share and/or the entire rent amount). With separate leases, each roommate is responsible for his/her own portion of the rent. If that is not possible, as is usually the case, have your roommates' parents co-sign the lease as well (most companies require this anyway). This will place the burden of rent on the parents if the student tenants are not able to cover the rent.

  • We strongly suggest that you do not pay your rent in cash. We suggest the same when it comes to paying for your share of the utilities: do not pay in cash. Even if your roommates are close friends of yours, we highly suggest that you pay your rent with a check or money order. Depending on your property owner's regulations, you may either be able to send a check/money order for your individual share of the rent directly to their office, or send one check/money order for all the roommates' share of the rent. Whatever the case may be, think twice before handing over cash to your roommate(s). If there is a question or dispute later, it is much more difficult to prove that you gave your roommate cash versus a check/money order.

 
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